Thursday, 12 July 2007

How China and America match up

Many are crying wolf with the rise of China in the political and economic spheres. And now it's making its military better. Not to worry: China is not even close to matching the world's current superpower, America, in military or monetary means. Listed below are some starkly-contrasting differences between China and the United States.

But first, here are some telling charts and graphics from a recent assessment of American power by The Economist.

Key military differences between China and the US

  • Less people to answer to (at home) for mistakes
  • More people to answer to (internationally) for mistakes
  • Up-and-coming global power, still emerging
  • Non-democratic, authoritarian, "communist" — but economically liberalized to an extent — state
  • Fast-growing military; seeks military, political, and economic roles in region and world
  • Known for posturing, e.g. surprisingly testing anti-satellite missile
  • Looks out for its (economic) interests
  • 2.3 million active armed forces
  • Some lay doubts to its ability to become number one
  • Over 1/20th of world GDP and about 1/5th of its population.

    United States
  • Peaceful state with a generally positive reputation, historically
  • Established world superpower, de facto
  • Democratic, representative republic
  • Government's democratic structure makes for a more cautious political policy
  • Higher military spending
  • Entangled in Iraq (especially), and Afghanistan, with troops elsewhere abroad
  • Because of stretched military, doesn't have capacity to fight another war of choice at this time
  • Web of alliances
  • Total of 1.5 million troops in the most advanced, high-tech, and strongest military ever to exist
  • Dismayed with military modernization and economic growth of China
  • Over 1/4th of world GDP and less than 1/20th of its population
  • Plenty of soft enemies and thorns on its power hold in the international community


    Anonymous said...

    try some facts instead of empty propaganda. simply pathetic.

    Anonymous said...

    This isn't in perspective. It's out of perspective.

    Your approach to the comparison of power between the U.S. and China comes from a mid to late 20th century mindset.

    The future belongs not to military power, but to economic and financial power.

    To cooperative and multilateral relationships.

    The U.S. once led the race to discovery. Medicine, tech, space,
    energy, etc..

    We're no longer the booming center of the world.

    Economically, we've gone from a creator and supplier to just a buyer and consumer. Our creditors include China and Japan and right now, we can't even afford to pay off the interest on trillions of dollars of foreign debt.

    Don't be misled by the Dow and economic indicators that point to economic growth. It's not based on productivity, it's based on credit expansion, a neat little illusion.

    I hope some of these notions help you find the realistic and current perspective.

    clearthought said...

    I'm open to all opinions. I did not wish for this to be a definitive power comparison between the US and China — and yes, military power does still matter, albeit not as much as it used to.

    This was mostly a comparison of military power, not economic, although I did include a bit on that. Economic indicators are not everything, but they do count far beyond the whims of ordinary people.

    In addition I am open and tolerant of all perspectives on an issue.

    As for facts, many things are backed up and most of those that aren't are widely agreed upon, e.g. America's superpower status. I don't need a footnote to assert that, do I? The information in that post is neither misleading nor factually incorrect.