Why does China want war

Conflict between China and the USA: after Corona there is a threat of a cold war

China and the US are vying for global supremacy, and their conflict will worsen after the pandemic. The new US President Joe Biden inherits the failure of Donald Trump in the power struggle.

Humanity has other worries right now. The Corona crisis is a gigantic crisis that temporarily put many wars and conflicts on hold. But a power struggle did not take a back seat during the pandemic: the struggle between the USA and China for the position of the leading world power.

The trade dispute and military muscle games also intensify at a time when humanity is being scourged by a deadly virus. US President Joe Biden is already sending an aircraft carrier into the South China Sea in his first week in office, while Chinese President Xi Jinping warns of a new "Cold War" at the world economic summit in Davos.

Qinzhou: Containers are at a port in a terminal: China's economy is now experiencing a strong upswing after the corona damper. (Source: dpa)

These are clear alarm signals that mean that the international community must increasingly deal with the power struggle of the great powers. The People's Republic of China has defined clear goals for itself: It attacks the existing global order and proclaims a place at the top for itself. There could be more saber rattles with the US, but the looming Cold War will be less characterized by military conflict. Rather, it is about power through economic control.

China's economic supremacy

Beijing has set itself the goal of replacing the US as the leading economy by 2049. Then the People's Republic will be 100 years old and the Communist Party would like to announce completion. The planned economy moves into the background. The communists see the key to the leading superpower in a capitalist economy.

The double strategy: A strong economy should make the country invulnerable in a globalized world. The People's Republic therefore lets foreign companies and raw material deposits buy, it grants loans to states or supports countries in Africa. With the new Silk Road and other economic entanglements, China is creating economic dependencies and ensuring that no country - out of fear of its own economic damage - expresses criticism of the Chinese dictatorship.

That also affects Germany: The People's Republic is the most important foreign trade partner. For an export nation like Germany, good relations with China are of decisive value for the economy.

China's economic strategy is also power politics, which is giving Beijing more and more influence abroad. While many countries on the African continent turn to the People's Republic for financial concerns, Chinese state-owned companies buy into European companies.

Trump's strategy has failed

The US is concerned about this development, which is why Donald Trump took office as US President with the aim of at least compensating for its own trade deficit with the People's Republic - because the United States also imports significantly more goods from China than it exports.

On Thursday afternoon, the US Department of Commerce will present a result from Trump's last year in office that is worrying for the US: According to this, the US deficit in global goods trade will in all probability have risen to a good 900 billion dollars in 2020, the highest level ever. Or in other words: Donald Trump has historically failed.

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping: The US and China are vying for the place of the leading world power. (Source: Reuters)

In fact, Trump saw these trade deficits as a national disgrace. He wanted to restore America's honor that these "trade wars" against China and the European Union (EU) were "good and easy to win," said the then US President in March 2018. They weren't: The US trade balance in 2020 points with an estimated 670 billion dollars, the highest deficit in at least twelve years.

The Trump administration took particularly tough measures against China - two-thirds of all US imports from the People's Republic were subject to punitive tariffs. Trump also ordered US companies to look for production facilities outside of China - they did not, the jobs did not come back to the US.

The end result for Trump is sobering: Despite the radical steps, the US trade deficit with China alone was most recently at $ 308 billion. In 2016, when Trump was elected, it was exactly on par. The trade war, threats and sanctions have therefore had no effect.

Military imbalance

Meanwhile, China is rapidly catching up economically. Economic growth is Beijing's central weapon.

While the US gross domestic product at the turn of the millennium was almost nine times that of China, both countries could be almost on par by 2025. (Year 2019: USA: $ 21.43 trillion - China: $ 14.4 trillion)

The situation is different in the military sector. On the one hand, the Chinese leadership is modernizing the army and is increasingly acting as the leading territorial power in the South China Sea. Own aircraft carriers and fighter planes are being built and a lot of money is flowing into a Chinese space program. Beijing is creating islands in the South China Sea to expand its own territory - to the annoyance of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

In this way, China is laying the foundations for being a military territorial power. However, there is still a long way to go to become the superpower USA. The United States has a dense global network of military bases; it can operate anywhere in the world. The difference is also clear when you take a look at military spending: The US spent $ 732 billion on the military in 2019, and China $ 261 billion.

Provocations and saber rattles increase

In military terms, there can be no talk of the People's Republic catching up. Rather, Beijing seems to be betting that the US will lose interest in getting involved in the Eastern Pacific. Beijing recently tested this readiness with a military maneuver. Eight Chinese bombers and four fighter planes broke into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and tested the air defense, Taiwan's armed forces announced. It was the largest military action of its kind to date. China sees the island of Taiwan as part of its national territory.

The timing of the threat was no accident. On the one hand, a new US president is now in office, on the other hand, representatives from Taiwan have been invited to the inauguration of Biden. A clear sign from the USA, to the annoyance of Beijing.

The USA reacted decisively to the maneuver, Biden sent the US aircraft carrier "USS Theodore Roosevelt" to the South China Sea, the USA issued safety guarantees for Taiwan and Japan. At this point in time, China cannot afford a military conflict. Beijing can only hope that the United States will lose interest in the region.

The Chinese aircraft carrier "Liaoning": China is also arming itself militarily in order to expand its global influence. (Source: imago images)

A cold war in which two blocs face each other - as in the conflict between NATO and the Soviet Union - is currently unlikely. The People's Republic also has too few security policy allies for this, but military provocations and saber rattling could increase in the next few years, just so that Beijing can test the will and readiness of the USA.

Beijing uses Corona to expand power

The USA and NATO will nevertheless work in the next few years to position themselves against China in terms of defense policy. Ultimately, the focus of the struggle for supremacy in a new global order lies above all on the world economy. There is a likelihood of a new block formation between the transatlantic alliance on the one hand and China on the other - because the rapid rise of the People's Republic in connection with human rights violations in the country is causing a lot of suspicion, especially in western democracies.

But the countermeasures that can be taken in a globalized world economy are limited. The economic dependence on China is too great, and for too long many countries have turned a blind eye to Chinese power politics in favor of their own economies.

Of all things, the corona pandemic, which emanated from Chinese soil, could now help the People's Republic in its quest for influence. China sends relief supplies and medical equipment to particularly affected countries, such as Italy and Spain. In addition, Beijing offers states like Brazil particularly cheap access to the self-developed corona vaccine - deliveries will be even cheaper if states agree to test the vaccine on people. All of this serves only one purpose: China wants to present itself as a helping superpower during the crisis and at the same time expand its influence.

This means that even during the pandemic, the People's Republic has entered a global power vacuum that the USA, which is increasingly focusing on domestic political problems, has left behind for years. That presents Joe Biden with a difficult task. The new US president had actually always advocated greater integration of China, but that does not currently find a majority in either the Republicans or the Democrats in the USA. They are critical of the upswing in China and will urge Biden to keep his election promise: that the US will resume its role as a superpower.

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  • People's Republic of China,
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  • Corona pandemic,
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  • Donald Trump,
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