Is Conflict Between US And China Inevitable? – OpEd

Rise of China as a rich country

History teaches us that when a country becomes rich, as China has become the richest country in the world, China has beat the U.S. to become the world’s richest nation.

According to a new report Key Findings Global net worth soared from $156 million in 2000 to $514 trillion in 2020, making the world wealthier than it was at any point in history. China accounted for nearly a third of the increase, the report from management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company stated. McKinsey analyzed the national balance sheets of 10 countries that represented 60% of the world’s income.

Of these nations, China accounted for 50% of the growth in net worth, followed by the U.S. (22%) and Japan (11%). The report found that China’s wealth rose from $7 trillion in 2000 to $120 trillion in 2020. The U.S., on the other hand, saw its wealth more than double to $90 trillion in the same period. Albeit China has become rich yet it is miles behind the US and has a lot to catch up.

Core reasons of the US-China conflict

The question of tension and possible conflict between the US and China is not due to differences in wealth but due to Chinese determination to believe in umbilical ties with Taiwan. Should a conflict arise between the two powers the end game is a matter of guessing. Visits by the former US Congress leader and her successor to Taiwan have raged Beijing to an indeterminate conclusion.

The New York Times report by Joshua Keating of January 2022 has extensively quoted Ben Rhodes then White House deputy national security adviser of President Barak Obama in his new book, After the Fall: writes Being American in the World does not read like the work of someone overly concerned about a future confirmation hearing. His second book since leaving Government is a dark, often angry, and surprisingly personal tour of a world where authoritarianism is on the rise and American influence on the wane. When he was in government, Rhodes referred to Washington’s hawkish bipartisan foreign policy establishment—the caucus of politicians, think tankers, and media figures who have never met a problem that can’t be solved by a more assertive American role. After the Fall sees an America whose influence and example had been hollowed out years before Donald Trump rose to the presidency, by the war on terror and the 2008 financial crisis.

Decline of US Power

To Rhodes, the U.S. has a become nation that increasingly plays little role at all, ceding the field to other powers clawing their way up to the superpower table where they would be able to cut a piece of the pie that all superpowers aspire for.

To China, Taiwan is a part and parcel of the Chinese mainland which Chiang Kai Shek after being driven out by Mao Tse Tung set up an independent state named Taiwan which was later recognized as a part of mainland China by the US. Taiwan, however, continues to be a democratic entity recognized by the US, proof if any proof is needed has been invited to Taiwan by the US in the US President’s invitation to democracy-practicing nations of the world. That the international community does not want tension in the world is obvious.

The current visit by the French President to China is an indication. In China: President Emmanuel Macron of France traveled to Beijing to “relaunch” a strategic partnership between Europe and China. He also plans to urge Xi Jinping, China’s leader, to play a “major role” in bringing peace to Ukraine.

Macron, who will meet with Xi is determined to carve out a more conciliatory position toward China than the American one and to convince Xi to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. If the French leader can exploit the daylight between China and Russia over Russia’s war in Ukraine — which appears unlikely given the two countries’ declaration of a “no-limits” friendship — he will have achieved something that is broadly in America’s strategic interest: a faster end to the war and a weakening of the Chinese-Russian bond.

“So far, both Russia and the United States have initiated self-destructive wars: Russia in Ukraine and the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq. As for China, its obsession with the conquest of Taiwan could lead to self-destruction.

Thucidydes Trap

All three great powers have in recent years and decades clearly demonstrated bouts of uncommonly bad judgment when it comes to their long-term survival. Were any or all of today’s great powers to dramatically weaken, confusion and disorder would increase inside their borders and around the world. A weakened or embattled United States would be less able to support its allies in Europe and Asia. Were the Kremlin’s regime to wobble because of factors stemming from the Ukraine war, Russia, which is institutionally weaker than China, could become a low-calorie version of the former Yugoslavia, unable to control its historic territories in the Caucasus, Siberia, and East Asia.

Economic or political turmoil in China could unleash regional unrest within the country and also embolden India and North Korea, whose policies are inherently constrained by Beijing.”( Downside of Imperial Collapse- Robert D Kaplan-Foreign Affairs-October 2022). Chances of the US and China falling into the Thucydides Trap over Taiwan between the US and China is remote despite the Sino-Russian entente without “limits”. The communist countries appeal to reach the needy more quickly than the democracy-loving countries may lose their appeal once the freedom to act disappears. Ethiopia is an example where the leaders were blunt to say that Chinese language institutes would be shut down if the needed goods do not reach the needy. Given the international desire for peace, despite Ukraine tension and the US and China tussle, peace under the present circumstances is expected to remain.