China's biggest problem will be demographics, second only to their political system.
US will likely due to tax / deficit issues, not so different than the French aristocrats who refused to pay taxes in run-up to the revolution.
1. Its geography means it's impervious to conventional invasions.
2. Its embracing culture will attract more immigrants.
3. It is an offshoot of western civilization and therefore has natural allies in Europe.
China's advantages are:
1. It has a population that is 3-4 times the size of the US.
2. Its economy is still underdeveloped, therefore economic growth is a lot easier.
China is interesting in that its society is rapidly aging before it becomes a high income country, which is enough of a rough transition for high income countries.
You'd have to be insane to invade China, though. "Never get involved in a land war in Asia". Especially never get involved in a land war in Asia against someone with an army the size of China's.
> 2. Its embracing culture will attract more immigrants.
This advantage the current administration seems to be working as hard as possible to destroy. As far as I know, though, this is still an advantage for the US compared to China.
> 2. Its [China's] economy is still underdeveloped, therefore economic growth is a lot easier.
It's not nearly as underdeveloped as it used to be. Further growth will be significantly harder than past growth was. Can China keep it going? I don't know.
As to the economy, as long as China grows faster than 3%, it will gain relatively to the US.
Also, weaponize space and all terrestrial advantages become mostly moot (no GPS, communications, etc.).
You don't need to invade the entire land, you just need to bomb a few targets. A nice chunk of China's population and structure is distributed across China's shores. If you take a look at photos of China at night from space, you'll see that the shores are way way brighter than inland. Interesting enough, there are plenty US allies nearby which could be used as base to make bombing easier.
Edit:However, I, personally, don't think we'll see big dogs such as U.S and China fighting in any moment near future. We have developed tools so efficient to kill each other that the best ideia possible is to not use them. At these times, big wars are too costly for everyone, involved or not.
Maintaining that deterrence is the the actual disadvantage to China - not the risk of invasion, but the cost of preventing invasion.
Battles are rapidly migrating to the air (drones, missiles, etc.) and cyberspace.
1 party rule can make quick, bold changes for better or for worse.
In the US, we're stuck with slower change again for better or worse.
Pro.1 does also apply to China I would think.
I'm not sure con.1 is that much of an advantage. other than a larger national market.
More population= more scientists= more innovation
The reserve currency status is tough. Would not happen naturally without major world events.
Which may be why China is so lenient with bitcoin mining. If 51% of the hashpower of the new currency is within your border, it is not as good as being the reserve currency, but pretty close to it. And it gives a advantage if you ever want to impose a fork with rules that would being home some benefit.
Or you could see it as being like the USSR which drove itself into the ground by spending everyone's money (trying to keep up with the US) faster than everyone could create it.
Tax/deficit problems can not be considered just tax problems or just spending problems because the amount of input is not meaningful except in relation to the amount of output. It's like how diet and exercise need to be considered together if you want to make a plan for meaningful weight loss. If we stopped playing world police (or just did it less) and made the government gravy train more efficient (i.e. less of a gravy train, which sounds easy but it's actually hard because nobody wants to stop pissing money away on their pet program/subsidy) we could probably have both good social safety nets and less taxes.
So US will spend their money on trying to keep up with... China? Russia? Japan? India?
At the moment the US is outspending everyone combined. As they catch up and economically and technologically it gets exponentially harder for the US to maintain their current dominance. China also gets more bang for it's buck, it's only trying to assert dominance of a small area but the US is spread globally.
A better analogy might be pre-WW1 Britain that tried to maintain a navy at least the size of the next world powers combined.
Not really... WWIII and likely the end of human civilization will happen.
If the US Falls it is unlikely it will fall silently with out using its massive military to bring down everyone.
If US goes down (that's a big If and very unlikely event) then Pacific will be Japanese playground not Chinas and India will tie-up with the biggest maritime power to check them in India Ocean.
Its really hard to be a super power at least in the near term without being a first grade naval power.
The publication is some times called Washington Compost, a very hard earned nick name for their BS vending!
I have no expertise but it appears from my perspective that the US is in a state of imperial decline. I think this will accelerate in the coming decades. For me the canary in the coal mine event was Gulf War 1 when the US went around asking other countries to help pay for our war. Mercenary nation. There are lots of other signs of imperial decline as I see things but that event was very telling.
On the contrary I would say Gulf War 1 was the last example of the US empire operating as designed: a large coalition of westernized nations implicitly following the leadership in the US, in a network of institutions and alliances entirely built around the assumption of US supremacy.
IMO the second Gulf War was the first blow to the US-centric international system... and it was the US themselves who dealt that blow.
I also fear that it's the start of the Big Decline, but I'm far from certain of that...
The geographic isolation isn't as strong as the us', but it's much stronger than any other country in the region. Taiwan/japan/south korea off their border is the biggest issue
High income earners pay a vanishingly low percentage of their income as tax, and it is almost all discretionary income, not income they need to merely subsist.
Low income earners pay an increasingly higher proportion of their income as tax (which is not predominantly income tax, rather things like sales, property (directly or indirectly), or ad valorum taxes.
The analog to the French aristocrats are those incredibly wealthy people who, like the former aristocracy, receive enormous income from rents and other unearned sources. That's dead simple obvious to anyone who isn't trying to live out some kind of fantasy-based ideology.
Who pays most of the country's taxes -- the rich, poor or middle class? If you add up it all up, including federal income, payroll, excise (such as for gas), and state and local taxes, it's pretty even. Each group's share of total taxes is roughly equivalent to their income.
In other words, concludes Washington advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice, the U.S. tax system is only marginally progresssive, meaning that people at the top hardly pay any more than folks lower down the income ladder.