China or USA: The next superpower?
Whenever the world talks about the nation being a superpower, it classifies a contender country on the basis of three parameters. One is military power, second is cultural and political influence and third is its economy. The country has all these three can be referred to as global superpower. After World War 2, two countries that emerged to be the strong contenders having the most cultural influence in many countries, economic stability and military spending were the Soviet Union and America. However, after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the only country left with the superpower status in the USA. The USA has been holding this title for decades, however, it appears that the time has come that the world decides who is going to be the next power of the world.
While considering above mentioned parameters, the country that we all look forward to is China. Many critics of the theory of the unrivaled status of the USA believe that China has all that it takes to be a superpower. While many other experts still believe that that there is a long way for China to go and the USA still maintains the title in its true sense. Let’s have a look at the comparison that points towards the answer to the rising question. Who will be the next superpower, China or the USA?
There is no doubt about the fact that the USA is a military giant with more than 800 military bases around the world. They are more than foreign bases of Britain, France and Russia combined. USA’s military spending is 3.1% of its GDP making it a budget of 610 Billion USD. While on the other hand, China has only 1 overseas military base. China’s total military spending is 1.9% of its GDP making it a budget of 228 billion USD. USA’s military forces have decades of overseas war-fighting experience, while China has no particular rivalries and has no past exclusive war experience. Though China is expanding its military spending to protect its investments in its ambitious One Belt One Road Imitative, however, it will take years up to USA potential. At this moment possesses approximately 280 nuclear warheads in total whereas, the USA has 6500 warheads still left after the restrictions on the number of warheads one state can possess and after surviving a long era of cold war and war on terror.
Global and political influence
China and the United States both use tools of soft power but in different ways. Ever since the USA has taken hold of superpower status. It has been involved in politics around the globe. With the massive project of encountering terrorism. The USA had decades of influence in the Middle East and South Asia. With the war of Terror in Afghanistan, the USA maintained its influential status for decades. Providing aid, military support and much more to the countries have made it an influential character in global politics. However, some surveys have indicated marked declines in the U.S. international public image since 2002. Some foreign observers have criticized U.S. state diplomacy as being neglectful of smaller countries or of countries and regional issues that are not related to the global war on terrorism.
Moreover, the political influence in the Middle East has now shifted towards other countries like Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arab.Whereas, China has adopted an increasingly active and pragmatic diplomatic approach around the world that emphasizes complementary economic interests. China’s influence and image have been bolstered through its increasingly open and sophisticated diplomatic corps as well as through prominent PRC-funded infrastructure, public works, and economic investment projects in many developing countries.
The USA after the cold war formed more military alliances than any other country like NATO and non-NATO allies who are a part of the USA war on terror. The USA has maintained alliances with countries throughout the globe and not just neighboring countries. For decades, the USA’s network of alliances has been a central pillar of the liberal international system, contributing significantly to stability and prosperity. However, under the Trump administration, the alliances of the USA have been questioned about the role they are playing. In many countries, alliances with the United States are increasingly under strain from the growing influence of U.S. competitors such as China, Russia, and Iran.
China, on the other hand, is not such an old player in the game and has fewer foreign alliances, China is trying to increases its alliances by its foreign investments and BRI initiative. Many countries want to take part in the economic plans made by China but china has nothing more to offer than economic advantages to them. Also, it is also believed that countries are drowned into excessive debts by China after getting involved in their projects. The trust that the USA has developed in terms of its alliances over these years is a great deal to be challenged and it will take time to build trust in China in terms of economic interests by other countries.
China has excelled in the realm of the economy in recent years under the administration of President Xi. China has shifted from a centrally-planned to a more market-based economy and has experienced rapid economic and social development. China has been the largest single contributor to world growth since the global financial crisis of 2008. The belt and Road initiative are all also a step towards expanding its economy. Through BRI China is expanding its trade and export to the Middle East as well. On the other hand, the USA is considered to be the topmost economy in the world with its economy contributing to 50% of the world’s economy.
However, under Trump’s “America First policy” the USA is facing a serious jolt to its economy. The trade war with China and withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific partnership is posing a major threat to the USA economy and playing advantage in growing China’s economy further. Apart from China’s rapid economic growth, its market reforms are still incomplete providing a low advantage to investors. It’s per capita income remains that of a developing country. Moreover, the aging population, inequality among rural and urban areas and increasing internal labor migration are a threat to its expanding economy
So, the conclusion for the interpretation of the next superpower is that it is believed that the world is now turning towards bipolarity with many contenders of the next superpower status. The time has gone when the USA was a world power with world best economy, military, alliance, and global and influence. The USA is no more center of politics and diplomatic strategies in the Middle East and South Asia. Many other countries are emerging as great powers like Russia, Brazil, India, and China. However, China is thought to be the most suitable candidate for the post of the next superpower as is already known as a secondary superpower by many.
However, China is also facing many internal issues like market reforms, military spending, poverty, population growth, and structural lacking. It is a nation that is just 70 years old. Though it has gained much in this short period of time it has to go a long way to reach the status of a superpower. While the USA due to its recent bad policies is facing a great backlash, still maintains the status of a superpower. But in this increasingly multipolar world order, the future remains uncertain.