The United States holds world leadership, given the size of its economy and the wide range of interactions that revolve around it. The U.S. manages to deploy its power worldwide to gain broad geopolitical advantages for the general benefit of all countries participating in the exchange, as long as they comply with mutual agreements.
However, the goal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is to acquire it for itself and occupy the first place by becoming the regulator of the destinies of other countries.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s vision of the CCP controlling the state and eventually influencing and even controlling the rest of the world is clear. These are not merely words for the consumption of the masses. They are instructions to party members,” author John Mauldin commented in Forbes.
It has implemented strategies based mainly on increased war and industrial power. Assuming that these theoretical projections will be fulfilled, the CCP estimates that by 2050 it could become the world’s leading power. However, strength alone is not enough to become the world’s leader.
The CCP’s aggressive push to meet these goals, along with the many controversial actions it has undertaken in much of the world, has not resulted in a balance that favors the achievement of these aspirations.
Indeed, this is clear from the view often expressed by the U.S. and other authorities, who do not see the CCP’s international policies as a healthy competitor that conforms to generally accepted regulations.
Commenting on the Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) project put forward by the Chinese regime, a Harvard University report said, “As made clear in the 2018 National Security Strategy (NSS), the U.S. sees China as a revisionist state that directly threatens American security and prosperity.”
Will the CCP have a chance through war?
When thinking about the world’s most powerful country, the usual thinking tends to lean initially toward considering warlike confrontations. But, perhaps, history describes violence as the primary resource through which the ancient empires that dominated the world were built. That is why we will look at the war scenario that the Chinese regime could pose.
The most remembered examples in search of world dominance are the campaigns of Alexander III of Macedonia, or Alexander the Great, who through wars was crowned King of Macedonia, Sovereign of Greece, Pharaoh of Egypt, and Great King of Media and Persia, until his death at the age of 33 in 323 BC.
Then, there was the Roman Empire, which began in 27 BC and lasted until 476 AD. This stage marked the civilization of the West, given the vast expanse of territory over which it spread. Rome shared with the world many of the vast cultural contributions developed by its citizens that still serve as the basis of today’s civilization.
For the CCP the option of strengthening its armed forces does not go unnoticed, even less since after the rise to power in 2012 of leader Xi Jinping. For its part, The U.S. Department of State (DOE), in its study “The Elements of the China Challenge” reported on the boost being given to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which owes allegiance to the CCP, is central to the party’s goal of empowering China to play the decisive role on the world stage,” DOE policy planning staff wrote in 2020.
It added: “Its goal is to complete the transformation of the PLA and People’s Armed Police into ‘world-class forces by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC.'”
In this regard, the former president of the Washington-based International Association for Strategic Studies, Australian Gregory Copley, recalled that in 2018, the CCP declared before its leaders—war on the United States. A supposed victory would be celebrated in 2049 for the 100th anniversary of the occupation of mainland China, and “… the new rules-based world order that would be under Beijing’s terms.”
While it is true that the CCP seems to be strongly pushing this initiative, the actual data is not publicly accessible, so the integrity of the information is not easy to determine, and a significant part of it could be propaganda.
Nevertheless, some comparisons that give an idea of what the PLA’s forces would have to overcome are feasible should it opt for a “Hot War” using the traditional military arsenal.
In an extreme case, the CCP would not only engage in armed struggle against a particular country but against that country and its eventual allies, which would ultimately lead to World War III, in other words.
Thus, although the Chinese military ranks third globally, NATO, to which 30 countries belong, and other territorial alliances will most likely intervene in defense of their allies. Moreover, although the PLA has 2 million troops, most are stationed in Chinese territory.
Compared to these, the United States, NATO and ASEAN member countries add up to more than 3,897,000 troops, which almost doubles the CCP’s capability. In addition, if India, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan are added, the military personnel would total more than 6,371,0000 combatants.
Given that the allied countries thus triple the CCP’s available troops, a war of global proportions becomes very remote. Although the possibility of Russia siding with the CCP has not been considered, such an alliance would still not reach the power of the allies above.
There are many more factors to consider in an armed confrontation of such proportions, but it is not an easy option for the CCP, given that it is a country with no real friends on the international scene.
In the international sphere, the Chinese communist regime has accumulated discredit and an adverse atmosphere due to human rights violations against racial minorities such as the Uyghurs and spiritual movements such as Falun Dafa, Buddhism, Christianity, and others.
Nobody likes the continuous threats and aggression that the CCP launches against Taiwan, India, and neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Australia, affected by the CCP’s seizures of territories and militarization in the South China Sea.
On the other hand, other aspects do not play in its favor, such as the inadequacies in food security within the country, an imbalance in the security and safety of water supply, complex geography that hinders timely transportation, and widespread corruption in all administrative branches of the regime, including the military.
The CCP is also not helped by internal security problems, political struggles for power, and the international sanctions to which it has been subjected, among other issues that beset it.
All the above arguments indicate that violent methods to achieve world leadership are remote. It could be so risky for the Chinese regime to imply its complete disappearance, even within its own territory.
The Made in China 2025 plan
Among the CCP’s strategies to achieve world primacy is the Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) project. Through MIC 2025, it intends to boost its economic competitiveness and improve its position in the global manufacturing value chain. It starts with “China’s manufacturing sector is large but not strong.”
While the Chinese regime admits in this case that the country’s companies have some flexibility in economic activities, it is clear that they are all accountable to the CCP’s bureaucracy. A U.S. Congressional report presents this option as a way to disguise its interventionism.
“The plan promotes diverse forms of state ownership and control and allows Chinese firms flexibility to access global markets, potentially obscuring the full extent of the role of the state,” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported in August 2020.
Although the CCP’s financial institutions (Government Guidance Funds, (GGF)) support domestic companies, they leverage that relationship to seize power in the direction of these companies.
As the CRS describes it, “GGFs often take a stake or board seat in firms they fund and can influence corporate decision making.”
The Chinese regime is known to take advantage of its position of power in the country to appropriate the know-how of foreign companies and transfer it to domestic ones.
“The government also uses domestic standards, IP, competition, and procurement policies, and other market access terms that seek to transfer foreign know-how to Chinese entities and use Chinese suppliers for key components,” according to the CRS report.
Likewise, the CCP cannot stop using the advantageous tactics that have characterized it throughout its relations with the West, so inferred from a 2016 study by the Mercator Institute for Studies on this topic, in which it warned that the CCP’s overseas technology purchases aim is:
“To systematically acquire cutting-edge technology and generate large-scale technology transfer. In the long term, China wants to obtain control over the most profitable segments of global supply chains and production networks.”
The MIC 2025 schedule is so broad that it goes beyond 2025 and extends to 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP. By 2035, the goal is parity with global industry at intermediate levels, improve innovation, make breakthroughs, lead innovation in specific sectors, and set international standards.
It should be noted that current and future industry relies heavily on cutting-edge technology, specifically integrated circuits containing electronic microchips, which in the case of the CCP are essential for achieving the MIC 2025 goals.
In this sense, China remains dependent on U.S. technology, intellectual property, and know-how and on Taiwan’s microchip production, which implies a crucial bottleneck for its hegemonic aspirations.
The demoralization of the Chinese population
Undoubtedly, a nation’s inhabitants are the reason for its existence, and their spirituality is the greatest wealth one can count on, even more so in the case of a population like China’s. This nation has been developing for millennia and has been animated by a culture based on divine principles, as seen in its ancient traditions.
But the CCP has systematically destroyed not only artistic and cultural treasures reflecting the classical Chinese tradition but also authentic spiritual manifestations such as temples, monuments, and sacred scriptures.
Simultaneously, the Chinese regime is trying to replace them with the Marxist, materialistic, and atheistic ideology that animates it.
In addition, the constant corruption scandals of CCP members, together with ethnic and religious persecutions and the suppression of all democratic expression coupled with the extreme limitation of civil rights, are reflected in the growing discouragement of Chinese citizens.
One of the most shocking expressions of demoralization for society is reflected in its younger generations, upon whom a nation’s aspirations for the future are based.
In this sense, the growing movement of Chinese youth “lying flat” is evidence of how the lack of motivation undermines the normal development of the new generations. The international media outlet Minghui.org, which specializes in information about China, describes this ‘silent protest’ as follows:
“Out of their dissatisfaction with society, as well as seeing no way out of their situation, many young adults in China have chosen to live as passively as possible, as a silent protest against the current system as well as the social status quo. They call this act of protest “lying flat.'”
This trend aggravates the crisis of rapidly declining population growth caused by the manipulations of the birth rate imposed by the one-child policy, which unbalanced the normal population increase for decades.
The extremes of repression and destruction of classical Chinese culture are proving counterproductive to the very continuity of the CCP, which implanted them in the population by force. Demoralized and hopeless people are unlikely to cooperate with the regime that oppresses them.
“A demoralized and destabilized nation easily enters the volatile crisis stage. A crisis is short-lived and involves a revolutionary change of power. It can take various forms.” notes author Jerry J. Pokorsky, alluding to historical outcomes.
He adds: “But in every case, a catastrophic event overpowers and splits the country, alarming the citizens. Such was the pattern of the French, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions—with several other examples in the Middle East in recent years.”
On the other hand, research by the Rand Corporation in 2020, which looked at four possible outcomes of the CCP’s strategy toward 2050, concludes, “A triumphant China is least likely because such an outcome presumes little margin for error and the absence of any major crisis or serious setback between now and 2050.”
In this context, not only is the possibility of the Chinese regime becoming the world’s destiny regulating system, as the first world power in 2050, very remote, but the risk of losing control in its territories is great.