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Will America's Military Power or China's Economic Power Prevail in the 21st Century?

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America and China are engaged in a monumental struggle, one that might even be called a war, to determine which nation will be the reigning superpower in the 21st century; further to determine whether military power or economic power will prevail in this great battle of ideologies. As this conflict intensifies it is becoming more and more evident that China's economic prowess is beginning to bring much greater results than is America's relentless pursuit of war.

As this process enfolds, one nation is amassing great wealth and economic power, the other has a bleeding economy and is becoming financially unstable. One nation has a thriving manufacturing industry, creating millions of new jobs; the other has a manufacturing sector that is drying up, with millions of jobs having been outsourced overseas. One is maintaining and vastly improving its national infrastructure, its cities and transportation systems, while the other is letting its infrastructure fall into disrepair; many cities falling into a state of decay and a transportation system that is overly geared to the use of petroleum even as the world begins to experience a decline in the supply of this precious form of energy.

Think about how radically things have changed. In decades past China was thought of as a kind of third world undeveloped nation, populated by backward, uneducated people; a nation that no one knew much about, but one that was considered hostile and a potential threat to other nations. What a mistaken assessment that was. Conversely, America was the acknowledged leader of the world, a great economic power, a manufacturing giant, admired and respected for its creativity and innovation.

Now all that has changed quite dramatically; it's as if America and China have reversed roles, that China has become what America used to be and that America has now regressed to the point that it can no longer function effectively without huge infusions of Chinese loans.

So, China sits in the driver's seat, patiently watching and waiting, biding its time. It is waiting to see, not if, but when, America will bring about its own demise as it destroys its financial foundations through the reckless pursuit of military domination around the world. China knows that America can't continue on this disastrous course much longer and that, if it remains patient and continues to follow its current strategies, it is destined to become the mightiest economic power in the world.

China has the second largest economy in the world behind the U.S. but its economy is growing much faster. Noted economists indicate that China's economy will become #1 in the world by 2025, or, possibly, much sooner if America's economy continues to hemorrhage. The reason for China's economic success is that it has made the development of its industrial might and exports its number one priority.

China is not burdened by huge national debt and deficits while America is. It might be called America's Bank since, without the mega billions that it continues to loan America, this nation of ours would be near financial collapse. Of the total U.S. national debt, China holds about $1.7 trillion, all elements included. It also holds an annual trade deficit of $252 billion over the U.S. (2010). That former backward nation of China is eating America's economic lunch.

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China and America: two distinctly different nations with different philosophies, different visions and objectives for the future, and different methods in achieving their specific goals. For example, China and America are taking two completely separate paths to secure their petroleum needs for the future. China knows that aggressive military actions are not the answer, not a rational approach to be successful, and that is why it has chosen to adopt a strategy that involves diplomacy, negotiations and loans to its oil supplying nations.

America has chosen the opposite path which involves the expansion of its military outreach to control oil producing regions of the world. The relationship between these two nations will be greatly affected by what happens to the world's future supply of oil and how the impending    shortages will affect each of them. Depending on which is most successful in acquiring substantial supplies of petroleum for the future, and who might be on the losing end of this struggle for dominance, it could result in more direct, menacing confrontations.

China has the ability to significantly cripple America financially, either by calling in a large amount of the massive debt it holds or by eliminating, or substantially reducing, any further loans. But, it's not going to something that rash, at least not right now, since it currently is dependent upon America's imports of its products. So, at this point in time, there is a mutual dependency between these nations even as their objectives for the future are totally in conflict.

How long will China continue watching and waiting, how long will they maintain their patience? For example, what might it do if America escalates its military actions to the point that it could begin to threaten China and its interests? Or if the pursuit of war and its massive associated costs weaken the U.S. dollar to the extent that it no longer can hold its position as the world's currency, China may have to take drastic action and, quite possibly, make the monumental decision to pull the plug on its investments in America.

At some point this competition between China and the U.S. is going to come to an end and there can be only one clear victor. But how will it end and who will prevail? For the answer all we need do is project America's current strategies for operating in the world and planning the future and, then, do the very same thing for China. Let's take this projection out for twenty years. As we look into the future and assess how these two nations are adopting entirely opposite strategies and going in two distinctly different directions, which would you say will end up being the reigning superpower in the future?

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Michael Payne


Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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Whether we realize it or not there is a great batt... by michael payne on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 9:41:41 AM
China is being seen as a boom town to the internat... by Robin Ryan on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 12:48:06 PM
Your comments about human rights and equality are ... by michael payne on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 6:46:44 PM
First, the disinformation dispensary we call a med... by Robin Ryan on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 7:33:44 PM
Well stated Michael. It is a good analysis in few... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 10:55:03 PM
For America to try to bring China down either mili... by michael payne on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10:30:04 AM