Has China Overtaken–or Passed–the U.S.A.?

Has China Overtaken–or Passed–the U.S.A.? December 16, 2021

China is on the rise, while the United States is in decline.  At least that’s the impression many people are getting, based on a number of measures.

China is now the world’s wealthiest nation.  According to the latest numbers, he Communist country has a net worth of $120 trillion, having overtaken and far surpassed that of the United States, which has a net worth of $90 trillion.

China is replacing the United States as the world leader in technology.  The Wall Street Journal reports that “In each of the foundational technologies of the 21st century—artificial intelligence, semiconductors, 5G wireless, quantum information science, biotechnology and green energy—China could soon be the global leader. In some areas, it is already No. 1.”

China is building the world’s biggest and most technologically advanced military.  According to Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geo-strategic power the world has witnessed.” China now has the world’s largest Navy, outpacing ours.  We trail China–and even Russia, for that matter– in hypersonic technology.  By 2025, China is projected to have passenger jets that can go anywhere on the planet in one hour!

But the military applications of hypersonic technology has made the Pentagon extremely nervous.  China’s recent test of a hypersonic missile, which can go over five times the speed of sound while making complex maneuvers reportedly left American observers dumbstruck.  We cannot shoot them down, nor can we launch any of our own in retaliation. They are, in effect, a first strike weapon!  Even though we were the initial developers of the technology, the U.S. put the program into mothballs in the mid-2010s during the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, America’s military brass in the Pentagon seems preoccupied with woke indoctrination, the integration of transsexual soldiers, and climate change (which one military spokesman said is more of a threat than China).  And our Congress, instead of building up our fighting capability, is more engaged with fighting sexism by drafting women (though that plan has recently been put on hold for now).  Meanwhile, our military forces are defeated by the Taliban in Afghanistan and getting routed by our allies in war games.

How did things come to this pass?  Well, for one thing, the United States has played the role of enabler.  An article from BBCNews entitled How the West invited China to eat its lunch says that whereas 9/11 of 2001 received the most attention, the most important event of that year was exactly three months later on December 11, when China was admitted into the World Trade Organization.  From that point on, the U.S. and also other western nations began outsourcing their manufacturing to China on a massive scale.  Today, China manufactures 57% of the world’s goods.  In 2000, China’s wealth was only $7 trillion; in only two decades, it has shot to the present dizzying level.

The thought in 2001 was that, in the words of Bill Clinton, “importing one of democracy’s most cherished values, economic freedom” would lead to political freedom.  It hasn’t worked that way.  Instead, China has been growing more authoritarian, more contemptuous of democracy, more ruthless in suppressing liberty, and even, lately, more committed to Communist ideology.

While China is confident, assertive, and ambitious–swallowing Hong Kong and making plans to take Taiwan–the United States today is despondent, polarized, and full of self-doubt.

What do you think China’s supremacy in the world and the fading of America and its ideals would look like?  What would it take for the U.S.A. to retake its leadership role?


Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay 

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