Q&A Friday #12: The Threat To America From China & India?
Question: “Recent reports by the good ol’ UN state that by 2050, the world’s population will be about 9.1 billion, with more citizens living in India than in China. The question is, should we really instead be looking towards India as our eventual competitor instead of China, and if not, why not?
And in that vein, will India and China be forced to out-gun one another until only one of them is left standing to deal with the United States? That would be absolutely catastrophic.” — Mitsurugi
Answer: I’m not worried about India. They’re a relatively friendly Democracy. China on the other hand, is a militaristic, totalitarian state that views the US as an enemy nation. They are a danger to us and it is possible that we could come into conflict with them over Taiwan. While some people might believe that China would never forcibly try to take Taiwan, I can’t help but note that they’re gearing their military up for exactly that purpose. Let’s just say that I think we’d be very foolish indeed to ever put ourselves in a position where we couldn’t handle everything the Chinese military could throw at us across the strait and then some.
As far as the future goes, yes, both nations have a lot more people than we do. I’d also note that much of India and China are mired in grinding poverty. For example, if you look at the Gross Domestic Product (nominal) per capita of India, China, and the US you’ll find the following:
United States: $42,076
People’s Republic of China: $1,352
Remember that over the long-term, they can only move so fast as they try to catch up to us economically and militarily because of that. In other words, yes, they’re going to grow and become more competitive with us, but it’s hard to stay on the cutting edge of technology economically and militarily when your people live in huts and have nothing to eat. So when, and even if they’re going to catch up with us isn’t as much of a sure thing as people think.
Last but not least, there’s probably a better chance of India and Pakistan going toe to toe than India and China…at least for the moment. And if China ever did try to invade India, well, that’s part of the reason that India keeps nuclear weapons on hand. China might believe they can duke it out with the US over Taiwan without nukes being launched, but I doubt if they have any such illusions about the results of sending troops into India.