Is World War III on the horizon?
The timeline is advancing swiftly toward an end state adversely affecting the whole world: WWIII. The tell-tale sign is China's economy, which, without American markets to sell to, is in free fall. As much as we may complain about the shutdown, Americans have it better by far than most of the rest of the world, including Japan and Europe.
With desperation growing in China, Xi will have to do something. Expect it to be military action so that China's 12-million-man army has something to do and the rest of the country has something to focus on and support. War is immensely destructive; it will create a domestic market to partly replace foreign markets no longer available.
China isn't likely to come at us right away. She will begin by absorbing relatively weak adjacent states such as North Korea and moving into ever-rebellious Tibet in strength. After digestion, some fattening, and some training, NoKo's huge Army would be added to the Chinese, making up a total force of nearly 13 million men. The Norks would be willing to push into South Korea on order.
Tibet will almost certainly be helped by India, with her own immense Army and needs, which will also welcome a fight as a means to deflect hard times at home and to direct domestic sentiment against the invader. The next target for Chinese invasion would likely be Vietnam, which has opposed Chinese expansion in the South China Sea for decades and which fought a war with China in 1979. The North Viets are no more afraid of China today than they were of us 50 years ago. They will fight.
By that time, the U.S. will have taken an active interest in China's predations. Right now we have two aircraft carriers on site in the South China Sea and fighting men on Guam and in South Korea. We would immediately beef up our presence and tough talk. Should our guys get involved in hostilities, the Russians will take advantage to sneak into the Middle East in person rather than just by proxy. Xi, needing Russian oil, will send several of his armies to the Middle East in support.
The stage will be set for Armageddon and the most destructive war ever fought.