China is not really a threat to America


By Aaron Brooks

You likely have heard it every day. You have watched it on television, or read it in newspapers. You have talked about it with friends and family.

You might have even had nightmares about it. However, all you have heard, read, talked or dreamt is a lie.

China will not replace the United States as the world’s hegemonic power. Even if China came close to matching the might of the U.S., which for the next 300 years is a long shot, it is not something America should fear.

It is surprising to me that the Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) 2007 report, “Is China a threat to the U.S. economy?,” is not more widely cited when discussing the “China Problem.” For in it, one finds such calming information like:

“Over time, the level of growth will likely slow as capital produces diminishing rates of return and productivity gains slow because the benefits of copying and catching up diminish. At that point, it is expected that China’s growth rate would slow to a rate comparable to the United States or Japan. But with a per capita income equal to only one-seventh that of the United States.”

It is not the intent of this column to report on CRS’s findings. To learn more, you can Google Scholar it yourself.

The mission of this column is to remind us not to be afraid, and to make you aware of the same old song and dance.

This tune has been played ever since the 1940s and I am getting sick of the broken record. First, it was the Soviets, then it was the Arabs, then it was the Japanese, and then the Arabs again. Now it is China. It seems at every moment in our lives as Americans, someone is threatening us.

The lyrics are also the same. First there is talk about economics, then that expands to concerns about influence over strategic resources. Finally, there is the hook that state X is growing its military, and the U.S. needs to counter to keep this invidious threat in check.

So, we dance. We grow our military, shuffle our feet and pretend that it made a difference, while ignoring the fact that X’s decline was a result of internal forces. We should call it the Don Quixote dance.

Why do we take such issue with growing foreign states? To me, it is comforting to think of other powerful nations that can help progress humanity as a whole. Other nations that can progress less fortunate states in their regions, educate academic colleagues, and produce the innovations of tomorrow. Of course, maybe I am just foolishly altruistic.

Maybe America is not as strong as I believe it is and we need to take any measure necessary to ensure that we stay on top. Maybe advances in technology will not make goods cheaper and resources more abundant, so we must protect those things vital to America’s 50-inch waist line and Coach purses. And maybe globalization does not mean interdependence.