On Tuesday the Pentagon released its latest report which talks about China’s military potential. This publication is yet another step in the polemic between Washington and Beijing which has now been developing for many years. It is clear that the USA is trying in every possible way to emphasize the apparent danger emanating from China. But to be fair we should note that an arms race between the two states could have truly catastrophic consequences.
There are now already more than enough reasons for a confrontation between China and the USA. First of all the escalating economic rivalry comes to mind: China is more and more actively trying to drive America out of the markets which American companies have viewed as traditional sources of their profit. Furthermore, in order to sustain its rapid economic growth, China needs an ever increasing quantity of natural resources, especially energy resources. In searching for these, Chinese politicians and businessmen successfully try to conclude profitable agreements in all corners of the globe. But this is all whilst the amount of resources needed by the enormous American economy is not diminishing. In the global policy sphere, Washington just cannot let go of the illusion that humanity's fate is decided exclusively in the White House and State Department, while all other states in the world have to obediently follow “the only correct” course, laid out by the American administration.
There are more than enough states in the world which do not want to parade at the USA’s command. Washington can just about come to terms with this when the stubborn mules are the likes of Cuba, Venzeuela, Syria or even Iran. But when heavyweights like Russia or China express their own opinion, the displeasure of the American administration becomes especially discernible.
Let us not forget that the hysteria over China’s alleged military preparations is also very skillfully supported by lobbyists for the American military-industrial complex. For them the benefits are obvious: in part to send out a fitting reply to the “Chinese military threat”, the Pentagon purchases tens of billions of dollars worth of military technology each year from their own arms manufacturers. For the very same reason, American allies purchase weapons from them, either at their own initiative or having been “persuaded” by Washington. This chiefly applies to freedom-loving Taiwan, who absolutely does not want to accept China ’s victory in the civil war of about sixty years ago.
Objective assessments of China’s actual military potential point to two factors. Firstly, at this very moment China’s military machine is fundamentally not prepared for any global conflicts. All too often the problem of equipping the gigantic army with the most necessary requirements is acutely felt. Admittedly, at the same time China continues to build up and develop its nuclear arsenals, including strategic. This also applies to missiles capable of reaching America. The latest report contains concern over this issue.
Secondly, from the depths of time Chinese rulers have been wise leaders, capable of meticulously weighing up and foreseeing the consequences of any decisions they take. They understand full well that an armed conflict with the USA, even if it may be for global supremacy or necessary resources, is in the foreseeable future of absolutely no use to them.
However, at the same time such a clash is quite possible, with the most catastrophic consequences not merely for the two powers and the Asian-Pacific region, but the world as a whole. Without even wanting it themselves, the USA and China could start a war with each other. The reason for such a war could be Taiwan, which the USA will offer help to in the case of a conflict between the island’s leaders and Beijing. The build up of forces on both sides of the Taiwan strait is continuing unabated, tension is not subsiding, but in spite of admonitions from Washington, Taiwanese leaders still occasionally provoke harsh responses from their huge neighbour, which could one day end up being a military strike with horrendous consequences.
Translated by James Platt