The Pentagon has released its latest assessment of Chinese military power, and the tone ominous. Increased investment in weapons, growing assertiveness with neighbors and a continuous cyber campaign against U.S. networks has made many policymakers in Washington fear that a new rival to America’s global power is emerging. However, there are limits on China’s power potential that should allay those fears. First, geography constrains China’s ability to launch wars of conquest. Second, demographic trends are producing an older, less productive population. Third, economic dependence on foreign resources, markets and investors deters China from threatening its trading partners. Fourth, corruption and inefficiency are rampant in the Chinese political culture. And fifth, China’s military isn’t all that well equipped — especially when it comes to the nuclear weapons that most worry U.S. leaders. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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