Know This: China Plans to Win a War Against America (If It Ever Happens)

Know This: China Plans to Win a War Against America (If It Ever Happens)

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

Fact: China’s military isn’t just aiming for mere parity or deterrence with the U.S., but rather military victory in a potential Sino-American war

Key point: China knows that it does not yet have military dominance over the United States.

China’s military isn’t just aiming for mere parity or deterrence with the U.S., but rather military victory in a potential Sino-American war.

“The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is focused not merely on competing with the United States or other nations as a goal in and of itself, but instead on competing as a means to achieving the policy outcomes identified by the CCP [Communist Party of China] — deterring U.S. intervention and defeating the U.S. military if the United States and China do come into open conflict,” writes RAND Corp. researcher Scott Harold in a new study.

The study paints a picture of a nation with a focus on goals and what it needs to achieve them. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union bankrupted itself with an obsessive need to match U.S. capabilities such as ballistic missile defense. China won’t make that same mistake. “The PLA appears not to compete in certain areas because it does not need certain capabilities to accomplish its directed mission, or it has other means to address the military problem at hand,” Harold writes.

The RAND study focused on the impressive growth in Chinese air and missile power over the last decade, an achievement fueled partly by relentless copying — or stealing — foreign technology, whether Russian carrier-based jets or the American F-35. Staggered by the success of U.S. smart weapons in Desert Storm, China has also switched from a Maoist mass army to a high-tech force that much more resembles current Western practice.

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