USA vs China who will win ? Part 1

7 May 2023


If you follow the news; be it economic, politics, military or culture, you would aware the rivalry between the United States and China is a hot topic, because they are engaged in intense competitions in virtually all aspects. The trade war between them is still ongoing even after the Biden Administration in office. Besides keeping Trump's tariff on China goods, Biden have further added the Chip Act to limit China's computer chip manufacturing supply chain, and added 4 military bases in Phillipines, and rally Japan, India, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to play hard ball to China, with alliances initiatives like Five eyes, QUAD and AUKUS to encircle China.

On the other hand, China prepared a huge budget of 10 trillion yuan investment in 1800 government funds to become self-sufficiency in many sectors particularly semiconductors, energy and food as preparation for a wide conflict with the United States.

Liberal Order

Western civilisation was established and came to dominate the world in the last 400 years or so with the development of a polical/governance system up to this point in time that protect basic human rights and indiviudual property rights; if we disregard the horrors of African Americans human rights upto the 1960s in th USA. Otherwise, USA led Western world had established a political/governance system that have Rule of Laws and Accountability of government that drive innovations and tremendous development in all aspects of humanity.

Rule of Laws and Accountability of governance

That is a system where the three powers are divided into Legislation, Execution of laws and Government Administration, where Parliament members represent the people in the legislation, Judges execute laws in courts and Government administrate the national affairs under the guidance of laws. The success of Western nations speaks for the argument because only when human rights and individual property rights are respected and protected that can attract investments into innovations with capital and time. Otherwise everyone would be short sighted knowing in furture different regimes in power in a country would come to rob the discontent citizens' freedom and property.

What about China ?

We sometimes wonder why such one party system like China with virtually no Rule of laws and Accountability of government can propel the nation to rank second in the world on economic term and third on military term. It appeared that China started to lead in some sectors of technology and science applications particularly in the economic development aspect, and started to gain significant power in the 4 measures of national comprehensive power in Economic, Military, Politics and Culture.
This article quoted "China leads in 37 of 44 technologies tracked in a year-long project by thinktank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The fields include electric batteries, hypersonics and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G."
There might be some boasting element here but it is still very impressive. Having say that, USA is still the dominate force in technology innovation, the fact that the US can strangle Chinese companies from access to computer chip technology is the fact that speaks for itself.

Francis Fukuyama- American Scholar explains in the below video why China's political system is the way it is. He said China never had any Rule of laws and Acountability of government since the first emperial Dynasty (Qin) as a unified state from the year 221 BC, however, China has always been ahead of the rest of other nations in most of its history due to its consolidation of national comprehensive power by the central authority. When USA banned China from participation in the international space program since the 1990s, China amassed 3000 engineers to set up its own space station program, China landed its first Mars rover in 2021.

But, one can imagined that it is very pathetic to live with no Rules of Laws for over thousands of years. It is not to say China is in a Chaos without laws, but the implication of Rule of laws is that one citizen cannot be locked up more than 48 hours without trial and Property right is respected. This explains why when Chinese are rich they want to immigrate and transfer their wealth to Western countries. People who want to innovate are restrained to be short sighted.

So who will win ?

No one, USA cannot win because of China's shear number and consolidation of its resources and industrial power. China cannot win neither because USA led Westen world have empirical sucess data. USA might fall back but it will correct itself with its current political system design. So it will just become a multi polar world with separate development, with West and East technology standards in their own play ground.

From a military conflict perspective, their historic conflict in the Korean war was a tie breaker, even that time when China was much weaker. Their likely conflict would be within the first island chain, and China now have mobile based missiles that could basically reach most of United States military bases and naval vessels in the region. Despite US's arm force being the most powerful in the world, but logistics wise, it is very hard for USA to win a prolonged war near China's region. Ukraine/Russian conflicts demonstrated this scenario. In an all out conflict, the US would run out of fire power sooner than China because China is an industrial power house in all aspects much closer to the battle field.

Having said that, if China had won, does that count? when it would have loss its respect from most of the world citizens knowing its political system has intrinsic flaws. Unless it becomes a giant Singapore state. That is the best Chinese can hope. These are implications for thought for Chinese leaders.

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