Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The China Challege May Be China's Challenge and Not America's

Worry about China's rise but don't panic.

China's birth rate is continuing to decline:

China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest since the founding of the communist People’s Republic 70 years ago.

Last year there were 14.6 million births, a drop of 580,000 from the year before, according to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics released on Friday.

The birth rate of 10.48 per 1,000 people marked the third consecutive year to see a decline in the overall number of births.

Despite abandoning its long-standing one-child policy in 2016, China has seen little success in reversing its declining birth rate.

This is data about why China is not destined to supplant America as the top global power:

Many Americans, of course, understand that China is on the rise and are anxious about it. Yet I also returned from my trip thinking that this American anxiety tends to be misplaced in one crucial way: China is not preordained to supplant or even match the United States as the world’s leading power. China’s challenges are real, not just the protests in Hong Kong but also the dissent in Xinjiang and Tibet, the bloat in its state-run companies and the looming decline in its working-age population.

Add in the fact that China's "social credit" monitoring system shows that the ruling Chinese Communist Party fears dissent from everyone and not just small minorities in the west.

The author notes the tremendous growth in the 2010s and spends a lot of time blaming Trump for America's problems--despite admitting that Trump actually views China as a strategic threat that it is--that have aided China's relative rise without a single mention of Obama. Trump is literally named 12 times in the article while Obama is named approximately zero times.

And I just don't see, as that author claims, Trump alienating our allies who are nicely rallying to block China, knowing we are there, too. Don't believe me? Try this:

Key U.S. allies, security partners, and diplomatic interlocutors in the Indo-Pacific have been establishing or deepening their defense ties by branching out, engaging with each other on high-level security consultations, selling or transferring defense articles, engaging in joint defense industrial development, carrying out bilateral training and exercises, and signing defense-related agreements. Today, these nations — Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea — are also cooperating with such non–U.S.-treaty countries as India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which have aligned themselves more closely with the United States as China has grown both more powerful and more assertive in recent years. As a consequence, a set of important new linkages and security commitments among regional actors is forming, with substantial consequences for the United States, China, and the Indo-Pacific region.

That's a 2019 RAND report and not something from the Obama era.

But I digress (as I can!).

My basic point is that it is nice to see some skeptical takes on China's rise after reading so much about how this time for sure (with the USSR, Japan, and Europe failing to supplant us as the top power) China will surpass our economic power. Seriously people, stop droning on about China's mythical superior long-range planning abilities.

I have been pointing out China's demographic issues and questioning whether China will pass us by as the largest economy. And even if they do pass us by, we have geographic advantages that will give us more free hard power to block them.