Mao: “U.S. imperialism is quite powerful, but in reality it isn't. It is very weak politically because it is divorced from the masses of the people and is disliked by everybody and by the American people too. In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of, it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe the United States is nothing but a paper tiger”.
China was stronger than the United States when Mao made his observation in 1956. Not more macho. Not more blustering. Not more bullying. Just stronger. China was stronger even in 1956. Forty years later, analyst Michael Thim observed, “In essence, the PLAN had sufficient capabilities in place in 1996 such that sending Carrier Strike Groups into the Taiwan Strait would be suicidal. The situation has only become more challenging for the U.S. Navy in recent years–not because the PLAN has acquired an aircraft carrier of its own–but because China has greatly enhanced and modernized its existing A2AD capabilities”.
Sixty-one years later, China’s economy is much bigger than the USA’s and growing muchfaster, its manufacturing capacity is much greater, its people many times more numerous and much more eager for war.
Sixty-one years later, no enemy can approach within 1,000 miles of China’s borders and survive. The Office of US Naval Intelligence says its defensive strategy and weaponry are awesome.
The entire US military is designed to fight unarmed civilians, not heavily defended countries filled with angry, heavily-armed Chinese. Hell, the entire US military has yet to defeat lightly armed civilians anywhere, any time. How would they fare against two million heavily armed professional fighters who can get by on a cup of rice a day (yes, they practice). Who are we kidding? Our military is a paper tiger that absorbs 52% of our taxes. Meanwhile, the Chinese are relaxed about our threats because Mao pointed out that we’re a paper tiger, so they don’t take us too seriously.
There are many reasons why 85% of Chinese revere Mao. That’s one of them. He was really, really smart and cared a lot about the threats the average Chinese has to endure. He tried to minimize them, not magnify them. Life’s tough enough already, he said.