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What the United States Could do if There is Conflict with China

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The United States, since the end of the Cold War in 1989, began an approach meant and integration of the Chinese economy into the international financial markets and global trade in hopes that the growth of the Chinese economy would lead to economic and, most importantly, democratic reforms.

This, unfortunately, is proving to be a colossal strategic mistake because rather than becoming a beacon of democracy, China has become the biggest threat to American and Western influence, with the economic prosperity being built upon the working classes in the United States and the Global North.

The way globalisation works is that each nation, where originally generalists were good at manufacturing, financial services, and cash crops, after 1945, national become specialists.

A great example of this economic specialisation is Germany and China creating manufacturing goods, the United Kingdom with its financial services and the legacy of the British Empire regarding finance. And finally, the Chinese handle the lower and middle end of manufacturing, such as semiconductors.

China is currently the world’s largest semiconductor market in terms of consumption. In 2020, China represented 53.7% of worldwide chip sales or $239.45 billion out of $446.1 billion. However, a large percentage are imported from multinational suppliers.

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What is Globalisation, and How is this Relevant to Conflict with China

Globalisation, as we understand it, only truly began at the end of the Second World War lasting from 1939 until 1945; with the creation of economic world order under the American security blanket, the Americans would guarantee will trade and access to resources for the alliance fighting against the Soviet Union.

The United States has become embroiled in so many wars since the end of the Second World War because America is not just fighting for its strategic interests but also the interests of its allies in Europe.

American involvement in Vietnam began in 1947 due to America’s ally France. The Gulf War conflict was launched from 1990 to 1991 to protect the oil supply of its European allies, and the concern about Saddam Hussein violating the sovereignty of Kuwait was a secondary concern.

What is truly unique about the USA is that rather than building an Empire to secure access to goods and services, and resources necessary to wage war and build a prosperous nation, it instead made an environment where nearly everybody, as in every nation, would become a winner if they were allied to the USA.

If a nation in the past did not have access to steel, that nation would not be able to industrialise; the Americans made it so all countries from 1945 forward could begin the economic development process and secure the protection of smaller nations.

Nations like Estonia, Latvia, Poland and many other smaller nations could exist before 1945 due to them being too small, lacking resources or other reasons why they lacked viability as independent nations.

By the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe was dominated by France, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire/the Austrian Empire, Spain and a few other nations due to previous independent states such as Poland and Lithuania Commonwealth not being able to survive due to the nature of great power competition.

The Americans ended the international circles of rivalry called the great game of international politics by creating an environment where each nation had access to resources and trading markets without waging wars of conquest, colonialism and piracy to get resources.

A changed world can be seen with the doubling of the world population between 1950 and 1987: a doubling from 2.5 to 5 billion people in just 37 years — the population doubled within a little more than one generation. The world population as of 2023 is over 8 billion.

Also, the World trade volume today is roughly 45 times the level recorded in the early days of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 4500% growth from 1950 to 2022. World trade values today have ballooned by almost 400 times from 1950 levels.

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How America Can Defeat China

If there is going to be a conflict with China, according to the geopolitical strategist, analyst, and author Peter Zeihan USA could defeat China in a conflict within 6 to 8 months by blocking shipments of oil from Saudi Arabia to China. Saudi Arabia is China’s leading crude oil supplier.

In 2021, China imported nearly 81 million metric tons of crude oil from the Middle Eastern producing giant.

The majority of China’s oil imports originated from countries in the Middle East. Access to oil is necessary for China to keep its cities, transport networks and food available for its population.

Within 6 to 8 months, China will be starving to death because, like all nations engaged in the international world order created by the United States, they depend on the security blanket made by the Americans to run their economies.

The growth of China during the last 40 years is dependent upon the Americans for security, and particularly the Navy of the USA China still does not have a deep water Navy and cannot get past the China Sea, making that nation locked within its region and borders.

In a war, Taiwan and Japan may be devastated. Still, China would ultimately be defeated by an American blockade and the destruction of food imports, oil imports, and technological aid provided to China by other nations.

The Americans have created world peace by making the globe’s nations dependent upon the United States to run the economy due to the American security guarantee that has existed since 1945.

As Americans continued to vote for presidents since George HW Bush, in office from 1989 to 1993, was voted out of office 1993, American presidents have become more isolationist and more American first focused and ignoring the rest of the world.

Should the Americans retreat from their security commitments since 1945 and revert to a more traditional view of American foreign policy consistent since its first president George Washington (1789 to 1797), of being isolationists and not being pulled into foreign conflicts?

With this way of thinking, we could see a world looking very similar to the 18th and 19th centuries, and there may be global famines, supply shortages, and a host of other tragedies happening without American security keeping the system alive.

The United States, in this kind of situation, would suffer the at most high inflation due to the need to rebuild its manufacturing capacity at home. Still, regarding energy security and economies of scale, America doesn’t need the rest of the world to be prosperous.

In nearly every way, America is blessed with their land and an entire continent with no rivals, with Canada and Mexico becoming dependencies of the United States.

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Sources and Bibliography

China Power How is China Feeding its Population of 1.4 billion? Link  

Council of Foreign Relations China Increasingly Relies on Imported Food. That’s a Problem link

Statistics Main suppliers of crude oil to China in 2020 and 2021 link

Britannica Persian Gulf Middle East link

Wikipedia Semiconductor industry in China link

Our World in Data World Population Growth link

World Trade Organisation Evolution of trade under the WTO: handy statistics link

World of Meters Current World Population link

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