In 1897, as the United Kingdom celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign, it stood at the peak of its military, economic, and diplomatic power, as it spanned one quarter of the world and was being patrolled by the Royal Navy, stronger than the next two navies combined. Even then, however, a young American boy predicted that the US would eventually replace the UK as the world’s top dog. And it eventually did, in 1945, as Britain, bankrupt and weakened, had to dismantle its empire.
In 2007, Fareed Zakaria predicted that “history will happen to us after all.” By that, he meant that the US would eventually be replaced as the world’s top dog by someone else, as all previous leading superpowers once were.
And that is about to happen sooner than almost any American realizes.
Sooner than you probably think.
This year, despite reports of economic growth cooling down, China will likey post, again, a 9% economic growth rate, just like last year. It has recently announced tax cuts to stimulate further economic growth. Its Communist Party has recently chosen two reformers, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, to be the number one and number two on the party’s Politburo Standing Committee (its top power organ). It has convinced countries of the Pacific Rim to join a trade bloc that excludes the US, rather than joining a proposed American-led trading block – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that would exclude China. Its currency, the Renminbi, is increasingly replacing the dollar as the reserve currency of East Asia. China is also becoming an increasingly important export market for Asian countries, while the importance of the US market is decreasing.
China is also building new and new advanced branches of industry that it once didn’t have – like the airliner industry – which will compete with Boeing and Airbus.
China’s economic policy of mercantilism – minimizing imports and maximizing exports – has proven itself to be remarkably successful. China has managed to protect its economy. Its industries, industrial production, and exports are growing. America’s industrial base is disappearing.
Militarily, China has been even more successful. It now has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads and the means to deliver over 1,200 of them immediately without involving its SRBMs or GLCMs. It has a growing, and increasingly modern, Navy which now includes an aircraft carrier, 68 submarines (ballistic and attack submarines alike, nuclear and conventional), very modern destroyers with highly capable air defense systems, very modern frigates, and hundreds of attack boats. It has an increasingly modern Air Force with a growing fleet (over 400) of Su-27, Su-30MKK, J-11, and J-10 fighters, soon to be joined by 48 Su-35s and, starting in 2017-2019, by J-20 and J-31 stealthy fighters, as well as AWACS and tankers. When its J-20 fighter enters service in 2017-2019, it will render every Western fighter except the F-22 obsolete, impotent, irrelevant, and useless. Already the Flanker family has rendered every fighter on the planet except the F-22, the F-15C/D, and the Typhoon obsolete.
Most worrisomely, China has built up such a huge and diverse arsenal of anti-access/area-denial weapons which can deny the US military access to a combat theater and, should the US military attempt access, inflict high casualties on it. These weapons range from land attack and anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles to submarines to naval mines to cyberweapons to anti-satellite weapons.
The US, for decades the world’s top military and economic dog, is now being increasingly outmatched by China. And, as America’s military and economic power declines precipitously, and that of China grows exponentially, Beijing looks like a far more attractive partner than Washington, thus affecting the two countries’ diplomatic attractiveness and capabilities.
What are the causes that are leading to America’s decline and eventual downfall and to China’s rise to top dog status?
Firstly, the US is indulging in statist, almost socialist, eocnomic policies – nationalizations, bailouts, high taxes, high government spending, massive overregulation and overlitigation, and a hugely complex, 66,000-page tax code.
Secondly, massive defense cuts which – with or without sequestration – will dramatically weaken the US military and render it decisively inferior to the Chinese and Russian militaries by no later than the 2020s.
Thirdly, a political system and a culture which allow subversive, anti-American views and policies to be tolerated, openly proclaimed, and even implemented as a national policy.
Fourthly, a political system and a weak legal system which allows foreign lobbyists to hugely influence US foreign policy.
Fifth, weak, timid pro-appeasement politicians in both parties who prefer a foreign policy of appeasement to Ronald Reagan’s firm policy.
Sixth, a complete ignorance on the part of both the populace and the political class.
And seventh, a complete breakdown of the American work ethic. Until the 1960s, the vast majority of Americans believed and knew that they had to earn everything they had. “Welfare” as we think of it was a tiny program operated by your city or county government and reserved only for the truly needy. Welfare was not the American way of life. Today, a majority of Americans are dependent on the federal government, one way or another, for their livelihoods, and believe that they are owed a living by someone else. Most of them believe they are entitled to a living at someone else’s expense. The “takers” have already outnumbered the “takers”, as evidenced by Obama’s reelection. The federal government provides a huge cornucopia of benefits – from Head Start and free K-12 education to Medicaid and foodstamps – to over 40%, and perhaps over 50%, of Americans. Meanwhile, 47% of Americans pay no taxes to pay for the cornucopia of benefits they enjoy.
As a wise man once warned, the Republic will collapse when citizens start believing they can vote themselves money.
Meanwhile, China has none of those weaknesses. Its free market economy encourages entrepreneurs to build and expand businesses. Its corporate income tax rate is 25%, it has no capital gains or dividends tax, labor costs are low, and regulations are less restrictive than in the US. Environmental and labor laws are among the most lax in the world.
The Chinese military, as noted above and as documented extensively on this website, is becoming stronger every year, with new, more deadly weapons entering service with the PLA in ever greater numbers.
China’s diplomatic influence around the world, as a result, is growing.
Chinese kids are the best students in the world, as proven time after time by PISA tests, which rank Shanghai students first in the world in reading, maths, and science. Chinese elementary school students have more homework to do every week than American students have ever had. China has high educational standards and strictly enforces them.
China’s political system, while cruel and unjust, ensures that seven men on the Politburo Standing Committee can make decisions easily and, once these decisions are made, they are strictly enforced. There is no political gridlock or logjam in China, and the country doesn’t have a dysfunctional political system like the US has, whereby the Congress can’t even pass any budget for over 3 years and cannot reduce annual federal spending by more than a smidgen by means other than automatic across-the-board sequestration.
And in China, anti-Chinese views and policies, such as those blaming China for the world’s problems or calls for deep cuts in China’s military, are not tolerated. And the people who propagate such beliefs are rightly treated as traitors and scum, not tolerated or celebrated like POGO, TCS, ACA, the “Council for a Livable World”, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Barack Obama are in the US.
For these and other reasons, China’s military and economic power is growing, while America’s is shrinking precipitously. And absent reforms that are highly unlikely to be implemented in the US, China will overtake the US as the world’s top dog – economically and militarily – by no later than the 2020s.
And no one will be sadder to see that happen than me.
The latest Global Trends report by the National Intelligence Council refuses to recognize that and instead says:
“In terms of the indices of overall power – GDP, population size, military spending and technological investment – Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined. With the rapid rise of other countries, the ‘unipolar moment’ is over and no country – whether the U.S., China, or any other country – will be a hegemonic power. The United States’ relative economic decline vis-a-vis the rising states is inevitable and already occurring,but its future role in the international system is much harder to assess. The replacement of the United States by another global power and erection of a new international order seems the least likely outcome in this time period.”
Furthermore, as Michelle Fields reports:
“Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” — prepared by the office of the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — projects that the “unipolar” world that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union will not continue.
“Global Trends” projects that the United States will retain a unique role in the international system — in part because of its history and past leadership.
“The U.S. most likely will remain ‘first among equals’ among the other great powers, due to the legacy of its leadership role in the world and the dominant role it has played in international politics across the board in both hard and soft power,” it argues.
And the intelligence community does believe the United States will be supplanted as the world’s only superpower by another country.
“The replacement of the United States by another global power and erection of a new international order seems the least likely outcome in this time period,” the report projects.
The report argues that rising powers like China, India and Brazil are not unified by any common ideology and are more focused on their regional role. And the report warns against the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from the world’s stage.
“A collapse or sudden retreat of US power would most likely result in an extended period of global anarchy,” it argues.” – http://michellefields.com/2012/12/10/intelligence-community-u-s-will-no-longer-be-sole-superpower-by-2030/