U.S.China: Mechanisms and Dynamics of Arms Race

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-6-42-50
K. Bogdanov (cbogdanov@imemo.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
M. Yevtodyeva (marianna133@mail.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 23.12.2020.

Acknowledgments. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. The U.S.–China confrontation, generating a military technology race, has been gradually developed over a long period of time after the end of the Cold War. The mission of countering U.S. forces in a possible armed conflict in the Southeast Asian region has led China to adopt a “counter-intervention strategy”, better known by the designation “anti-access/area denial” (A2/AD). The U.S. responded by development of sea-based missile defense systems, which has dangerously damaged the military balance. The study shows that both countries independently faced the need to accelerate one of the most destabilizing types of modern weapons – hypersonic weapons – during this race that required specific military-technical solutions. The course of this arms race has led the U.S. to development of the “AirSea Battle” concept and then other more radical operational concepts, such as “distributed lethality”, requiring a complete step-by-step restructuring of the Navy. A study of the behavior of both powers shows that, at the present stage, the “arms race” is increasingly becoming a more complex process of “technological race”, in which it is at times difficult to distinguish the components of the dynamics of the civilian and military sectors of the economy and of advanced researches and developments. The U.S. adoption of the ambitious “Third Offset Strategy” program occurred simultaneously with the deployment of Chinese research in similar directions, including the improvement of command, control and communications systems, development of lethal autonomous weapons systems and military applications of artificial intelligence. One of the main questions in this regard is to what extent the U.S. dispersed model of innovation management can compete with the Chinese centralized model of “military-civil fusion” marked by its high ability to concentrate resources and at the same time – linkages with global markets through the national champion companies.

Keywords: A2/AD, hypersonic weapons, arms race, China, multidomain battle, emerging technologies, missile defense, the U.S., Third Offset Strategy


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For citation:
Bogdanov K., Yevtodyeva M. U.S.China: Mechanisms and Dynamics of Arms Race. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 42-50. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-6-42-50

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