May 22, 2011
China and America: Rising Dragon, Bleeding EagleBy Anurag Maheshwari
China's return as a superpower concomitant with rapid American decline is evoking a variety of sentiments around the world. While Latin America, Africa, and Greater Middle-East are largely welcoming this shift in power with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and an aging and dissipated Europe is watching it with bemused anxiety, in America it is causing an epic dilemma.
This dilemma is rooted in the impending demise of America's reign as the world's leading economy for last 120 years, the titanic scale and speed of China's ascendancy, and the vistas and vulnerabilities of Sino-American security and economic intercourse. The international repercussions of this evolving strategic equilibrium are yet to fully unravel until China attains the highest plateau of its power.
To put it in context, consider how rapidly the balance of power between China and America has altered over the last 20 years. At the end of 1991 when Soviet Union had formally dissolved, United States stood as the sole colossus on global stage. Its economy was then 6 times that of China. In 2010, China's continental economy was 70% that of US, and by 2016 -- in 5 years -- China (including Hong Kong and Macau) will rush past United States to become the leading economic power.
According to Robert Fogel, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, by 2040 China's economy will be $123 Trillion, three times US, as its per capita income gap with US shrinks rapidly. Even at the peak of its power during early 1970s, Soviet Union's economy was only 44% that of US. For China, a leading 4000 years old civilization, this complete reversal of relative fortunes in 50 years is nothing but a moment of rebirth towards reclaiming the historic leadership of Asia from the Atlantic powers.
Today, China is producing almost half of world's steel and cement for its massive construction projects, a sign of supreme industrial strength. She brushed aside Germany to become the leading exporter in 2009 and last year toppled America to seize the gold medal in manufacturing. In 4 years China will belt itself with 13,000 km of high-tech bullet trains, almost twice that of Europe and Japan combined, criss-crossing its vast expanse.
Everything the eagle did, the dragon will do on a scale several times larger and perhaps a bit faster, whether it is in the communications, transportation, energy, or aerospace sector. At ~$3 Trillion, China has the world's largest forex reserves which it uses to finance acquisitions of energy and mineral resources across the globe. Tragically, if we are to believe official US Treasury data, China is also the largest foreign creditor to the voracious US government, doling out almost $1.3 Trillion to feed Washington DC's cancerous growth.
The scale of demographic asymmetry between China and America is even more staggering. In last the 50 years, the US added 130 million people, whereas China added 680 million -- equal to the entire population of Europe. During last decade, US added 4 million babies per year on average, compared to 19 million per year for China. Quite simply, China is giving birth to one Canada and Australia every three years.
Despite 33 years since the official declaration of one child policy, 1.35 billion Chinese still sustain a birth rate of 1.7-1.8 children per woman -- almost 80% over the stated goal -- compared to 2 children per woman for 310 million Americans. This policy versus reality gap of 0.7-0.8 children per woman and massive over-population often escapes the international media's persistent and hysterical alarmism over China's one-child-policy and aging. 
From 2010 to 2030 the vast Chinese labor pool of ~1 billion working age adults (15-65 years) will drive China's enormous expansion and global resource consumption. Today, the median age for both US and China is evenly matched at ~36 years. The life expectancy for Chinese is ~74 years compared to ~79 years for Americans. It is hard to imagine that by 2030 the proud average Chinese will not live longer and healthier than the sexually liberated, drugs, television, and fast foods saturated American.
China is also one of the most cohesive countries in the world. Racially, almost 100% of China is Asian, with almost negligible white, black, or brown minorities. In culture and ethnicity, Han Chinese constitute roughly 90% of all China, while the unassimilated and rebellious Mongols, Uighurs, and Tibetans make-up less than 2%, although their homeland altogether is 40% of China's landmass. China is more racially cohesive in 2011 than the US was in 1960 during Ike's Presidency, when almost 90% of all America was white.
In sharp contrast, America today is more racially fragmented then at any point in four centuries -- a tangle of squabbling minorities, as President Teddy Roosevelt ominously warned. The triumph of cultural Marxism and the Great Society after 1965 cannot be overstated. The birth rates for non-Hispanic whites rapidly plummeted during the 60s and have been chronically below 1.9 children per woman for more than 40 years. According to 2010 census, non-Hispanic whites have shrunk to less than 65% of America. With rapid and unabated racial and cultural fragmentation it is hard to believe tomorrow's America will be as single minded, vibrant, peaceful, and prosperous as it was until Reagan's Presidency.
Given such perilous social circumstances, the sharp contrast in policy and behavioral trends between China and America couldn't be more profound. While China saves, invests, and builds, America borrows, squanders, and crumbles. While China fosters and rewards meritocracy and excellence, Washington DC and complicit media systematically foment racial grievances, dictate affirmative action, racial quotas and gleefully reward and celebrate mediocrity. While China proudly asserts and spreads its Confucian and Taoist heritage, Washington DC demonizes and criminalizes its rich European heritage and wallows in multi-culturalism.
China is tenaciously and patiently building its power by focusing inwardly, while Washington DC is rapidly bleeding and bankrupting America in futile wars and imperial hubris around the world.
To weigh the success of American policy, we must ask two revealing questions: Did the cultural, economic, and military power of America expand or diminish relative to its Pacific rival during last 20 years? Was America able to facilitate contraction or containment of its future rival's capacities?
The sobering reality is that suicidal policy of technology transfer and "free" trade lured by murky promises of large marketplace as well as instruments of currency and wage arbitrage gutted American industry and sucked its economic vitality while China experienced unprecedented economic expansion. Meanwhile unsustainable military presence in Korea, Japan, and Central and South-East Asia has neither enhanced American security nor curtailed China's massive military build-up. Quite the opposite, it has been a horrendous burden on American society and economy.
Japan, India, and Russia, China's three largest neighbors have been either unwilling or unable to form joint security partnerships due to mutual suspicions fueled by American ground presence. There has never been an Indo-Russian or Indo-Japanese military conflict, and Russo-Japanese conflicts have been less historically divisive and gruesome compared to Sino-Japanese, Sino-Indian and Sino-Russian wars.
A 5+1 security partnership involving Japan, India, Russia, South-Korea, and ASEAN with China will not only carry tremendous weight and strategic influence, it will offer a real possibility of institutionalized peace and stability in East and Central Asia in a China oriented framework. A realistic re-appraisal of American capacity entails an off-shore balancing approach, where overwhelming American sea- and airborne nuclear and conventional deterrence coupled with purposeful diplomacy without ground presence in Asia will achieve solid and enduring Sino-American strategic equilibrium.
With $55 Trillion in debt, real unemployment close to 22%, 44 million people on food stamps, massive offshore outsourcing of jobs, a corrupting deluge of Chinese goods, and credit to feed debt afflicted consumption mania, and rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, the catastrophic tipping point is not far. America urgently needs to reorient itself inwardly to repair, rebuild, and rescue its society, economy, and culture. The decline and fall of the Romans and the British did not dissolve the Western Civilization and the Western World, but the decline and fall of America and certainly Europe might do just that.
Andy Maheshwari (PhD) has been writing on National and International affairs since 2008. He has been published in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's The-Tech, Canada Free Press, American Thinker and Examiner.