There will be no hot war as the people will not allow it

China has already flexed its muscles and shown that it can retaliate if provoked. Hence, although the US continues to play the devil’s advocate and wades into issues pertaining to Hong Kong, South China Sea and Taiwan, China will not fall into the trap as both sides know that the stakes are too high to engage in a hot war.
Women walk past a graffiti depicting US President Donald Trump, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in El Alto, Bolivia, 16 October 2020. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
Women walk past a graffiti depicting US President Donald Trump, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in El Alto, Bolivia, 16 October 2020. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

China-US relations have deteriorated over the past three years to the point where many academics and politicians are worried that a hot war might occur. But I think that a hot war between both countries will never happen because such a prospect does not only involve the leaders of both countries, but is a matter of life and death for the Chinese and Americans. It even relates to the survival of mankind as a whole. The Chinese, Americans, and the world’s inhabitants will never allow this.  

The people will keep war at bay

Faced with the pandemic, China and the US, like the rest of the world, ran into all sorts of challenges. Cooperation between the governments and people of both China and the US is required to deal with these challenges. The majority of the world’s population are peace-loving and wish to see the Chinese and US governments working together to handle these challenges. The last thing they want is a war between them. Humanity’s fragile homeland is no longer capable of withstanding the devastation of a large-scale war anymore. Humanity needs to band together instead to protect and restore the badly damaged Mother Nature.  

He (Mao Zedong) asserted that historically speaking, the ones with true power are not the reactionaries but the people.

A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask talks on his radio transmitter as he stands in front of the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on 13 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask talks on his radio transmitter as he stands in front of the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on 13 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Some people would argue that nobody cares about what the peace-loving people think. This mentality is absolutely wrong. No politician can completely ignore what the world is thinking. In August 1946, American journalist Anna Louise Strong interviewed then chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong. When asked for Mao’s view on countries with weapons of mass destruction and the fact that the US had already detonated two atomic bombs over Japan, Mao put forward his famous thesis that “all reactionaries are paper tigers”, and that the atomic bomb, too, is a paper tiger. He asserted that historically speaking, the ones with true power are not the reactionaries but the people. Perhaps few agreed with Mao when he said this. But history has already proven his words.  

Brandishing a knife is more lethal than using it

In the period between 1945 and 1949, prior to the development of atomic bombs in the former Soviet Union, the US originally drew up ten plans to destroy the Soviet Union with atomic bombs. If the US had detonated the bombs back then, there was virtually no way the Soviet Union could have retaliated. But the US did not do so in the end. It dared not do what the world considers to be wrong and wipe out an ethnicity from the face of the earth. 

During the Korean War of 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army dealt a major blow to the US-led United Nations Command. Then US President Harry S. Truman was enraged and threatened to detonate atomic bombs over the battlefield at a press conference. While Mao seemed unfazed by Truman’s threat, the US’s most important ally, the UK, was greatly alarmed. UK Prime Minister Clement Attlee immediately flew to Washington the next day to dissuade Truman from doing so. 

In its aftermath, any country who dares to use such weapons of mass destruction again will no doubt face universal condemnation. 

People offer a silent prayers for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the bombing at Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo, 9 August 2020. (Kyodo via Reuters)
People offer silent prayers for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the bombing at Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo, 9 August 2020. (Kyodo via Reuters)

Following China’s first nuclear test in October 1964, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and later President John F. Kennedy, threatened to use nuclear weapons against China numerous times but ultimately abandoned the idea. When the US dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, it resulted in devastating casualties. Scientists and peace-loving people, both in America and around the world, protested vehemently against the use of such weapons. In its aftermath, any country who dares to use such weapons of mass destruction again will no doubt face universal condemnation.   

China’s political aims met       

Since the Mao era, the Chinese government’s defence policy has been to leave others alone unless provoked. It maintained this stance towards the US during the Korean War, and towards India and the Soviet Union during their border disputes. It also stuck to this stance during its later “counter-attack in self-defence” on Vietnam. Put plainly in the words of the Chinese: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” 

China’s strategy consists of the following points: 1) do not fire the first shot; 2) do not go to war unprepared; and 3) do not fight unjust wars. The US initiated a trade war against China, incited a colour revolution in Hong Kong, stirred up trouble in the South China Sea, challenged the consensus made between China and the US on the Taiwan issue, and repeatedly crossed China’s red lines and bottom lines. To a certain extent, the US is actually helping the Chinese government, military, and people band together to safeguard China’s national interests. Not too long ago, the Chinese government launched a series of Dongfeng anti-ship ballistic missiles into the South China Sea and hit the same target consecutively. This can be considered a warning signal to the US, and also a way of telling them: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”       

...the US ultimately lost the Vietnam War because the peace-loving people around the world supported the Vietnamese.

People visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, US, 4 September 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
People visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, US, 4 September 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The anti-war tradition of the Americans also deters the US government from waging war. In fact, it was the anti-war movements initiated by the soldiers and younger generations of Americans that created a lot of trouble for the US government. It can be said that the ones who truly defeated the US were not just the Vietnamese and the Chinese and Soviet Union that supported them — the US ultimately lost the Vietnam War because the peace-loving people around the world supported the Vietnamese.

The supreme goal of war is to accomplish political aims.

A few of my friends in the US are former US soldiers. They always say that the reason why the US lost the Korean and Vietnam Wars was that their president was incompetent and did not allow the US military to fight a war without restraint, that is, to permit the use of atomic bombs. Soldiers are soldiers — they will never understand that war is a continuation of politics. The goal of war is not to kill all of your enemies or perish together with them — it is to protect yourself first before annihilating the enemy. The supreme goal of war is to accomplish political aims. China today is already capable of letting its opponents know that the price of waging war against it will be too high for the US or the world to bear. Thus, no one will dare to incite a hot war between China and the US as long as he is of a sound mind.  

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