China’s global power growth far beyond the Asia-Pacific region is a significant concern for the United States. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategic aims to dominate the world through a combination of economic coercion, military modernization, and propaganda poses a direct threat to American interests. In response to this threat, the United States must adopt an America First national security policy toward China’s global power growth, particularly its threats to Taiwan. The United States must take hold the high ground in every domain to deter China or win if deterrence fails. In order to do that, we have to understand the answers to these questions: Why is an America First policy is necessary? What are the benefits of such a policy? What are the potential drawbacks of not adopting one.
Why an America First Policy is Necessary
The United States cannot afford to continue to ignore the threat posed by China’s global power growth. The CCP’s strategic goals are clear: it wants to establish itself as the dominant power in the world, with the United States subservient to its interests. China’s military modernization program, which includes expanding its navy into the largest combat fleet in the world, expansion of its inter-continental ballistic missile nuclear force (ICBM), the development of hypersonic missiles, advanced cyber capabilities, and space-based weapons, is designed to project power far beyond the Asia-Pacific region. This modernization program is a direct challenge to American military dominance, its deterrence capability, and if left unchecked, it poses a significant threat to U.S. national security.
Furthermore, the CCP’s economic coercion, which has been used to bully countries in the Asia-Pacific region, is also a concern for the United States. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been used as a tool to exert influence over other countries by offering them infrastructure projects that they cannot afford to pay for. This debt trap diplomacy has allowed China to gain a foothold in countries throughout the world, and it is being used to extend China’s power and influence beyond the Asia-Pacific region.
An America First policy will energize the United States foreign policy and defense agencies to counteract this economic coercion by investing in its own infrastructure projects and providing alternatives to those offered by China.
Finally, China’s propaganda machine has been used to spread disinformation throughout the world, including in the United States. The CCP has invested heavily in media outlets and social media platforms like TikTok to disseminate its message and undermine Western democracies. An America First policy will impart momentum for the United States to improve its own message projecting capabilities and develop new ones to counteract China’s efforts.
Benefits of an America First Policy
The adoption of an America First policy toward China’s global power growth would have several benefits. First and foremost, it would protect American national security interests. By countering China’s military modernization program, the United States could maintain its military dominance and ensure that it remains the world’s preeminent military power. This would serve as a deterrent to China and prevent it from using its military capabilities to project power beyond the Asia-Pacific region.
Second, an America First policy reenforces the United States efforts to protect its economic interests. By investing in its own infrastructure projects and developing its own supply chains, the United States will reduce its dependence on China and prevent it from using economic coercion to advance its strategic interests. This would improve the United States support to its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, who are often the targets of China’s economic coercion.
Finally, an America First policy would allow the United States to counteract China’s propaganda efforts. By developing its own targeted messaging capabilities, the United States could provide a counter-narrative to China’s messaging and prevent it from undermining Western democracy. This would help prevent the spread of authoritarianism throughout the world.
Potential Drawbacks of Not Adopting an America First Policy
The potential drawbacks of not adopting an America First policy toward China’s global power growth are significant. If the United States fails to counteract China’s military modernization program, it could find itself at a significant disadvantage in any potential conflict, including military operations supporting Taiwan’s existence. China’s large naval fleet, its emerging large inter-continental ballistic missile nuclear force, hypersonic missiles, cyber capabilities, and space-based weapons could be used to neutralize American military capabilities, leaving the United States and its allies critically vulnerable to a failure of deterrence and the increased potential outbreak of a world war.
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