This essay responded to the question: "In terms of financial clout and technological expertise, which major powers, if any, threaten to match U.S. military power?"
China’s financial clout is enormous, not because of China’s economic productivity, but because of China’s uniquely unchallenged economic system that places the entire world in a disadvantageous position, vulnerable to Chinese exploitation.
China is the world’s second largest economy and will within a few years surpass the U.S. as the world’s number one economy. China has an enormous cheap but efficient labor force that is prohibited by their own government to organize themselves for a fair share of their own creation of wealth. As a result, China has attracted tremendous Foreign Direct Investment and has become the world’s factory, at the expense of America’s manufacturing industries.
China is also a “Socialist Market Economy,” which means that China is not really part of the global free market system. In fact, China has never been recognized by any major nation or international organization as a “free market” economy. Its currency is not convertible in international capital markets, whose value is not decided by market mechanisms, but by the Communist Party Politburo.
The Chinese government virtually owns Chinese companies in a peculiar way. All of China’s companies are allowed to make profits in international consumer and capital markets, yet all profits these Chinese companies make in the foreign currencies must be handed over to the Communist central government which will in return give back to those companies Chinese currency. This system results in the Chinese communist government’s enormous foreign hard currency reserve, mainly in U.S. dollars, which stands currently at a staggering $3.65 trillion.
That is the financial clout China has over the U.S., which on the contrary is burdened with a stupefying national debt close to $19 trillion.
With that kind of financial wherewithal, China has rapidly reorganized its technological institutions, pilfered a great amount of international intellectual properties.
China has also modernized its military, which is the world’s largest defense force with 2.3 million troops on active duty.
Although there is still a long way for China to reach parity with the U.S. in military hardware in traditionally important instruments of warfare, such as aircraft carriers, submarines, and combat aircraft, China has developed several crucial weapon systems against which the U.S. has been unable to fight effectively. These areas include cyber warfare, anti-satellite [ASAT] warfare, anti-ship missiles, and ultra high-speed missiles.
In sum, no other nation is posing a more imminent threat to America’s supremacy in military power than China.