Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD
>Sure, they may outshine us in future, but that remains to be seen.
An interesting point. Those of us old enough may remember the great Japan scare of the 80s and 90s when it seemed Japan Uber Alles was coming. But, at least in computers, Japanese superiority never quite crystallized - anyone remember the Fifth Generation Computer Systems initiative?
I think China is a different kettle of fish. It's 4x the size of the US, not 1/3, for one. For another, I believe lack of individualism, excessive consensus-ivess, is a major Japanese weakness. A lot of innovation is due to maverick behavior and if that's missing in your culture you suffer. The Chinese seem to be a lot more cutthroat and individualistic, i.e. "not nice" (to each other), than the Japanese. Their system is theoretically Communist, certainly totalitarian, but they worship money and success and will take it over consensus and being nice (even to each other). In practice, it's a chaotic free market, unlike Japan's government-led industrial system.
The other aspect is the US nearing 2020 is a very different country than in the 80s. The amount of partisan, unscientific and just plain foolish behavior across the political spectrum is staggering. The amount of STEM grads is low and you are doing your best to block skilled immigrants to make it up. Whereas the US could face off against the USSR and Japan 30 years ago, its government is ill-suited to take on China. Not least in how much global goodwill Republican administrations since 2000 have squandered.
Used to be the USA were loathed or loved, but at least respected. This is becoming less and less true and will make it harder going forward to build alliances containing China.
Currently reading "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? ", highly recommended, though my above ramblings are not from it.