Mutual Assured Economic Destruction

Beyond advanced military capabilities, a vibrant US economy ultimately may be the best weapon in deterring China, according to a RAND paper. “It is often said that a strong economy is the basis of a strong defense. In the case of China, a strong US economy is not just the basis for a strong defense, it is itself perhaps the best defense against an adventurous China,” states Conflict with China: Prospects, Consequences, and Strategies for Deterrence. The two nations’ economies are linked in a manner “unparalleled in history,” state the authors. “This mutual dependency can be an immensely powerful deterrent, in effect a form of mutually assured economic destruction,” they write. They add, “At the moment, the balance of advantage rests with the United States, but even the winner in such a contest will wish it had been avoided.” It’s important that “the balance of dependency does not shift too heavily against the United States” in coming decades, they warn.