In response to a recent RAND Corporation publication which indicated that a Sino-American conflict would cost China far more than the US, the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, said Monday that the truth is quite the opposite.
The RAND Corporation article “War with China: Thinking through the Unthinkable” argues that a miscalculation or a mismanaged crisis could lead to a serious Sino-American conflict.
According to this renowned think tank’s publication, Chinese advancements in projectiles and other types of A2AD weaponry make a decisive victory for either side unlikely; however, the losses for China militarily, economically, and politically would be far worse than any negative outcomes experienced by the US.
For example, the report suggests that while the US would lose only a fraction of the forces committed, China would lose the majority of its forces. The recent RAND report also argues that for every 5 to 10 percent drop in GDP for the US, China would experience losses of 25 to 35 percent, devastating figures for a developing state. This would result from decreased trade with the Asia-Pacific region and a loss of certain sea-based energy resources. Furthermore, a long, drawn-out conflict could expose China to internal political divisions.
The Global Times claims that the RAND report is poisoning the atmosphere, impacting the way the Chinese and American people view one another, and promoting the “reckless” notion that “provoking China is nothing serious.”
China says that the only way in which a Sino-American conflict would be possible would be if the US “cornered China on its doorstep with unacceptable provocations,” forcing China to fight back and defend itself. Further, Beijing reminds everyone that America itself is not out of reach.
“The contiguous US can only avoid being stricken under the condition that China’s land is not attacked,” China’s Global Post insists.
The Global Times argues that “if war is triggered, we will have greater determination than the US to fight it to the end, and we can endure more losses than the US.” While the response from the Global Times does not go into specific details as to how China would survive such a conflict, the wording seems to indicate that China would be willing to accept far greater losses, giving China greater leverage over the US in a war between the two powers.
This line of thinking is not new for China, which consistently advocates for the “greater good.” In 2012, Zhu Chenghu, a PLA officer, said that “China should be willing to sacrifice every city east of Xi’an” to retaliate against the US in a nuclear conflict.
The Global Times ended its harsh retort with a statement that the only thing the RAND report accurately proved is that China should continue to invest in increased militarization against the US.
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