U.S VS China: Our Greatest Competitor

U.S VS China: Our Greatest Competitor

China has been on the rise for quite some time. It is time to recognize their place on a shifting world stage.

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If you've been keeping up with the news lately, you've no doubt heard about President Donald Trump's back and forth with China. Whether he's unloading tweets about unfair trade practices or talking about another tariff hike, China has begun to saturate media as an entity of international interest. It is time to recognize that China is beginning to challenge the U.S. in ways many thought to be impossible only a few years ago.

China is the world's second largest nation, superseded only by the United States. It is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world today: China enjoyed a 6.5% growth rate in 2017 while the U.S. only grew at a rate of approximately 3% in 2017. Recently, China has endured somewhat of a stifled growth rate since earlier in 2017 it had a growth rate of 2.7%. Some may purport that this is due to Trump's tariffs and others would point to other factors involved. The thing to note here is that China's economy is growing at a faster pace than the U.S. While the U.S. certainly remains the titan in today's economic world, China is beginning to realize that it, too, can flex its economic muscle through retaliatory tariffs and increased spending on military endeavors.

Two of those prominent military endeavors include China's island building in the disputed South China Sea and Chinese military efforts to have a greater presence across the Asian and African continents. South China is a hotly contested area of passage for many trade ships. In an attempt to better control the region, China has been building islands and attempting to claim that these islands are under the sovereign rule of the PRC (despite the U.N.'s dismissal of those claims). This is alarming to the U.S. and its allies as China tries to expand its naval reach and power. In response, the U.S. navy has engaged in some efforts to counter those claims with overt flybys over land that the PRC claims to be under its jurisdiction.

In regard to Africa, China has engaged in a great deal of infrastructure building as well as military buildup. One of China's more prominent projects is certainly the Belt and Road project. In an effort to further expand its economic and cultural influence, China has started a project meant to mimic the very profitable Silk Road of ancient times. This is certainly a threat to U.S. interests as well as power since it once more is an attempt to expand Chinese influence across multiple regions. Furthermore, the Belt and Road project is part of China's larger mission of expanding its presence in Africa. The first Chinese overseas base to be established has been built in Djibouti. In general, China's increased military presence in Africa has contributed to the PRC's efforts to move into what some experts see as the world's next sector of massive labor and economic growth.

Besides China's efforts to outpace the U.S. economy, some believe that China has blossomed into a new era of positive cultural growth. Backed by years of great economic growth, the Chinese people have been able to flourish at a time when the American dream seems to be faltering. Whether or not one believes that the U.S. is undergoing some hard times, other countries see the perceived divisions of the American people as a growing sign of the American juggernaut's weakness. In its place, ideas of the power behind Chinese culture have risen. Take for example the recent debacle surrounding Dolce and Gabbana's canceled fashion show. The Chinese response to the fashion duo's racist comments and advertising demonstrates an unprecedented showing of Chinese national pride and push back against stereotypes. There is a newfound cultural empowerment as China continues to rise and challenge the U.S. on a number of fronts.

Perhaps most worrying, however, is Chinese investment into military developments specifically meant to counter and diminish American influence. This is apparent in China's South China Sea build up first and foremost. The entire reason behind any Chinese naval improvement (at least for now) is in order to further bolster its position as a regional power in the South China Sea, as evidenced by its already tight foothold on the region. According to Admiral Phil Davidson, "China is no longer a rising power but an arrived great power and peer competitor" in regards to China's growing and potent naval power. Besides efforts to expand its Navy, China has also taken direct measures to improve its aerial combat proficiency against the U.S. While China is not focusing on engaging in direct combat with the U.S., it is attempting to mitigate the advanced tactical and technological nature of America's Air Force. According to a Business Insider article which quotes The Project Air Force team at Rand Corp., "It is important to recognize that many of the PLA efforts in the military aerospace sector focus on fielding of specific capabilities in sufficient quantities to deter the United States from entering a conflict; the PLA would vastly prefer deterrence over actual combat operations."

It would appear as though China's high profile endeavors across the globe are actively engaging in operations meant to supersede and weaken the United States. Any gain of influence for the Chinese is subsequently a loss of influence for the U.S. It is important that average citizens as well as U.S. leaders recognize this. It is critical that the U.S. remains unified force within, and that it takes the necessary steps outwardly to remain the world power that it is today. I would like to point out that I am in no way advocating for a new cold war, but instead a greater awareness and attention to zero-sum games on the international stage.

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To My Little Brother

Six things I want you to know.
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I am not your mother, but I am your big sister.

I cannot even apologize for it, I am always going to act like your second mom. I am going to keep yelling at you to (please) put down the toilet seat and to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. It doesn't matter to me how often you say "I am not your mother," because you're my little brother and I'm always going to be the boss.

I never mean it when I tell you to grow up.

I hope that you have taken, and continue to take, full advantage of your childhood. As often as I complain about your maturity level, my wish for you is to put off growing up for as long as possible. The closer I get to real adult life, the more I miss home and all of the worries I didn't have. You shouldn't rush through the years you have left at home, you are doing just fine the way you are.

No, I didn't tell Mom.

All of our secrets will always stay secrets. I may have ratted you out to Mom about being the one to break her new vase, but I hope you know that our brother-sister bond protects all of the private things we share. Please, never forget that I'll always be here to listen to you.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for giving you your first bloody nose, and for laughing at you afterward. I'm sorry for every time I have blown you off for plans with a guy, or to get an extra hour of sleep. I'm sorry for yelling at you to leave me alone and for slamming the door in your face. I'm sorry for all of the times you asked me to play outside that I didn't. I'm sorry for all of my broken promises.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for all of the “little brother" insults you have used. I forgive you for using all of my paints and letting them dry out. I forgive you for embarrassing me in front of every guy I ever brought home. I even forgive you for cutting off that piece of my hair in fourth grade.

I am so proud of you.

It isn't said nearly enough, but I am so proud of you, little brother. I am envious of the passions that you have and the way that you pursue them with no fear! I am excited to see where you go in life (but don't go anywhere too quickly). Keep working hard and doing what you love, no one can fault you for following your heart. I love you so much, and I will always be your biggest supporter and fan!

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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