And speaking of China, a key theme of Trump’s poisonous rhetoric is to stoke fears about China. How America’s predicament is somehow the fault of China….No, its not America’s decision to pursue neo-liberal policies that sold working class communities in the country down the river, it was China’s fault. It does raise the prospect that if Trump wins he will try to confront China. Suffice to say this would be a disaster for the US and likely lead to victory for the Chinese.
China has a trade surplus of around $600 billion, with a GDP of $20 trillion and debt to GDP ratio of 17%. The US has a trade deficit of $530 billion, a GDP of $18 trillion and a debt to GDP ratio of 76% and climbing . Any economic war between China and America will only ever have one winner. And China could end any such confrontation in a single day. All they’d need to do is take the $1.4 trillion in US bonds they hold and dump them on the open market. Within 24 hrs, the US would be bankrupt.
But can’t the US just default on its debts and screw the Chinese over? Well yes, a $1.4 trillion hit would certainly hurt the Chinese, hence why they are unlikely to opt for their “nuclear” option of dumping bonds unless provoked (unfortunately, Trump’s exactly the sort of moron who might just do that). However, it would pale in comparison to the economic mess unleashed in America. 67% of US public debt is held internally (mostly by pension plans!), v’s the 8% held by the Chinese. We’d be talking about the Chinese catching a cold, while the US gets Ebola. It would be the equivalent of the defenders of a castle burning it down (while they were still inside) in order to save it from the enemy.
How about a military confrontation? Well aside from the obvious risks of starting a war with another nuclear armed states, there’s the not so small issue of costs. As in you do know wars are expensive? The war on terror cost $4.4 trillion, about $1 billion a day on top of a military budget of about $1.4 billion per day. How would Trump pay for that? Is he going to go around and collect the gold fillings from his supporters mouths? Maybe he can build a wall in the Pacific and get the Chinese to pay for it?
Even if we ignore these thorny little issues, the US would be committing to a fight it can’t win. It would be like pitting a bantamweight boxer against a Japanese sumo wrestler. Yes, the boxer will get in some telling blows and give the wrestler a bloody nose, but he’s not going to knock the Sumo wrestler out. The boxer will tire eventually and the sumo wrestler will likely then end it with one punch.
It has never been the policy of China to defeat the US (contrary to what the movie Red Dawn or the likes of Alex Jones might have you believe), but to endure the US. The American military would certainly inflict a lot of damage and destroy much military hardware. But China would be losing stuff it can afford to lose. Their massive industrial capacity means that they could easily replace any loses pretty quickly. And they’ve no shortage of people from whom to recruit to replace any losses in manpower.
The US by contrast does not have the industrial capacity any more to endure heavy losses….nor indeed could they afford to pay for replacement equipment with a bankrupt economy. Consider for example that with their new long range “carrier killing” missiles the Chinese could take out a US aircraft carrier in just a few minutes, while it takes the US several years to build a new one. A single salvo of these missiles could inflict losses that it would literally take America decades to recover from. And the same missiles could also be targeted at US ground bases too, forcing the Americans to either endure crippling losses or withdraw their forces out of range of the Chinese.
In short, the result of any such confrontation would almost certainly be a Chinese victory and an end to the US as the world’s leading superpower, and we’d have Trump to thank for it! If you worry China is getting too big for its boots, then you really need to vote for Hillary, Her attacks on China’s human rights record, or using diplomatic pressure to challenge them on their claims to the south sea, are far more troubling to the communist party than any amount of bluster from an orange haired buffoon.