China 2050: How the US should prepare for an ascendant China -- RAND Report

July 24, 2020

The United States should prepare for a triumphant or ascending People's Republic of China - scenarios that not only align with current PRC national development trends but also represent the most challenging future scenarios for the U.S. military, according to a new RAND Corporation report that examines China's grand strategy out to 2050.

The authors make the case that the kind of country China becomes, and the way that its military evolves, is neither foreordained nor completely beyond the influence of the United States or U.S. military. However, Beijing's intense preoccupation with internal security and deep suspicions regarding U.S. intentions toward China may frustrate attempts by Washington to improve bilateral relations and encourage more liberal domestic policies.

"The experience of COVID-19 is a prime example," said Andrew Scobell, the study's lead author and a senior political scientist at RAND, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. "Beijing's secretive approach to the pandemic has exacerbated tensions with a wide array of other countries, including the United States, and contributed to economic dislocation (aka 'decoupling') between China and some of its key trading partners. While Beijing seems to have been effective in dealing with the pandemic at home, this has been accomplished through draconian and repressive measures."

To map out potential future scenarios - What will China, and its military, look like in 2050? What will U.S.-China relations look like in 2050? - researchers studied trends in the management of politics and society and analyzed the specific national-level strategies and plans that China's Communist Party rulers have put in place to further their vision of a China that is well governed, socially stable, economically prosperous, technologically advanced, and militarily powerful by 2049, the centenary of the founding of the PRC.

The report describes four possible scenarios for China at mid-century - triumphant, ascendant, stagnant and imploding - with the middle two most likely. If China proves ascendant, the U.S. military should anticipate increased risk to already threatened forward-based forces in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, as well as a loss of the ability to operate routinely in the air and sea space above and in the Western Pacific.

The report recommends that the U.S Army be prepared for a China whose role on the Asia-Pacific and global stages grows steadily. To prepare for military conflict in such circumstances, the U.S. Army should optimize its abilities to deter hostilities, get troops and equipment to hotspots quickly, operate from forward bases, and work with allied forces.

The U.S. could field more robust cyber and network attack capabilities and other means to counter China's unmanned aircraft systems, the authors assert. The capacity to respond quickly and effectively to China's burgeoning reconnaissance-strike system will play an important role in determining the extent to which China's leadership remains risk averse when considering military options to resolve regional disputes.

The report, conducted for the U.S. Army, is based on a review of Chinese and Western literature on the PRC's long-term strategic development and security plans and objectives, official statements by high-level Chinese officials and institutions, speeches by paramount leaders, white papers published by the Ministry of National Defense and other PRC government agencies, authoritative People's Liberation Army (PLA) texts, as well as Western and other non-Chinese analyses of these documents.
Other authors of the study, "China's Grand Strategy: Trends, Trajectories, and Long-Term Competition," are Edmund J. Burke, Cortez A. Cooper III, Sale Lilly, Chad J. R. Ohlandt, Eric Warner and J.D. Williams.

Research for the study was conducted within RAND Arroyo Center's Strategy, Doctrine and Resources Program. RAND Arroyo Center is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.

RAND Corporation

Related China Articles from Brightsurf:

China 2050: How the US should prepare for an ascendant China -- RAND Report
New RAND report says US should prepare for a triumphant or ascending People's Republic of China -- scenarios that not only align with current PRC national development trends but also represent the most challenging future scenarios for the US military.

The GDP fudge: China edition
By linking GDP growth to promotions, the Chinese government has inadvertently created incentives for provincial officials to report inaccurate financial data, a study says.

Opportunity blows for offshore wind in China
If China is to meet and exceed its Paris Climate Agreement goal by 2030, it's going to need to find a way to increase its wind capacity.

Cesarean delivery rates in China
This study assessed changes between 2008 and 2018 in the rate of cesarean deliveries in China.

Environmental pollution in China begins decreasing
For decades pollution in China has paralleled economic growth. But this connection has been weakened in recent years, according to a new international research study published in the Science Advances journal.

Farming for natural profits in China
Expanding monoculture threatens valuable services from land, such as flood control, water purification and climate stabilization.

Cardiovascular disease in China
This study analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to look at the rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in China along with death and disability from CVD from 1990 to 2016.

New integrative stratigraphy and timescale for China released
A special issue, edited by professor SHEN Shuzhong and professor RONG Jiayu of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, summarizes the latest advances in stratigraphy and timescale as well as discusses the correlation among different blocks in China and with international timescales.

Cambrian integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China
The review paper briefly summarizes the historical narrative of the present international chronostratigraphic framework of the Cambrian System and recent advances and problems of the undefined Cambrian stage GSSPs, in particular the authors challenge the global correlation of the GSSP for the Cambrian base, in addition to Cambrian chemostratigraphy and geochronology.

What causes extreme heat in North China?
A collaborative research team from China has published a new analysis that shows the horizontal heat flux in the mixed layer plays a crucial role in extreme heat events in the North China Plain region.

Read More: China News and China Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to