China has always been seen by the US as a sleeping dragon that was waking up. Fuelled by almost unprecedented economic growth, the Chinese government has been modernizing and expanding its influence at a rate that is taking people by surprise. From talking about enforcing maritime boundaries to investing in African and Latin American countries that the West has routinely ignored, China is making waves on an international scale and people are finally starting to take notice. 2014 marked a new level of Chinese hard and soft power expansion and, with tensions in the South Asia sea growing, the announcement that China has upgraded its nuclear capabilities has governments across the world interested and concerned.
China recently announced that it had attached nuclear warhead-tipped missiles to its nuclear-powered submarine fleet, allowing missiles to be launched all over the world once the subs get within range. This is a big upgrade to China’s Seconds Strike (as in the retaliatory strike after receiving nuclear bombardment) capabilities and is definitely a cause for concern to countries who are looking to stymie China’s economic and political rise as a world leader. While the upgrade in capabilities is enough of a cause for concern, it comes along with a recent speech by President Xi Jinping exhorting the military to be prepared to win a major war in the future. While there is no war on the horizon, the increasing ties between Russia and China coupled with US-led Western-Russian tensions reaching a new low is leading to a number of countries perking their heads up and finally taking notice.
China still cannot match the US when it comes to military capability but as China’s economy continues to increase as US-influences continues to diminish we will be facing a shift in world power and leadership that many in the US don’t realize is coming. As long as the United States continues to be hypocritical on human rights issues and starting wars it can’t win (along with constantly making new enemies by throwing its weight around in arenas it has no business), more and more people will look to China both as a leader and as a counter-balance to US hubris. Hopefully our generals and politicians are realizing their mistakes and we can avoid a future war with a China that is increasing in readiness.
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