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United States of America vs China - Conventional War

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 418 times Debate No: 79286
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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Round 1 - Opening statement
Round 2 - 4 - Argument's/rebuttling
Round 5 - Closing statement/conclusion

Before people start commenting "That would never happen" blah blah.
I know it would never happen, it's just fun to debate who would win if it did.

I'am on the side that the USA would win. It's military is above that of any other country and it has a lot of allies to back it up.

No Nuclear Warfare.


Thanks to Dark_Soul for proposing this topic for debate. While I generally agree with him, I will argue this one for China based on many factors.

While the United States posessess some of the most advanced equipment on the battlefield they are weary from extended deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, their equipment is in dire need of a refresh and they cannot match the sheer manpower China can pump out. If the US and NATO were to intervene against China, it is quite likely that Russia would enter the fray as well.

I do ask for clarification though as to whether or not Allies will be involved in the calculus of this scenario. If so I would argue that North Korea and Russia would both intervene against a US and NATO alliance because of their shared hatred of those forces.

Anyway I agree that this should be an interesting debate and I look forward to my opponent's opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


I will comply to your suggestion.

If the US has allies China can have North Korea and Russia on it's side.
The US will have France Uk and Germany on it's side.

I will be referring to as my source/evidence.

China can undoubtedly supply a large army with ease, being that china has such a high manpower availability (Almost 800 million)

However, an army of 5,000,000 can lose to an army of 1,000,000.
China would not be able to invade the US succesfully, China has 1 aircraft carrier, compared to the US's 20.
The USAF would knock out Chinese ships without having to sustain heavy loss's.
Also, i do not believe we would be able to invade China from the ocean, so my proposition would be to invade North Korea though South Korea.
The US Navy can create a blockade around china to stop trade/supplies coming in from sea.

The US owns 5,366 transport aircraft, to china's 876. We can land soldiers into china directly through the air once our air force knocks out the Anti-Aircraft bombardments.
The toughest part would likely be invading through North Korea.

Once the US owns Air Supremacy, we can bomb bases knocking out crucial centers.
Meanwhile, i do not think we would invade into russia just yet, my guess is that we would focus our power onto china.

As i said, China has a staggering industry, they can get tanks, planes, ships out faster than we can. It would be a tough war.


Thanks to Pro for his opening argument. I will address his specific points in my next round and will use this round for my opening arguments.

Let's look at a few crucial statistics. All from the same source, the CIA World Factbook

Russian Manpower fit for military service: 22.59 million
North Korea Manpower: 4.9 million
China Manpower: 318.2 million

Total Manpower fit for military service: 345.69 million[1]

That is a LOT of bodies.

Germany Manpower: 15 million
France Manpower: 12 million
UK Manpower: 12.25 million
US Manpower: 60.6 million

Total manpower fit for military service 99.85 million[1]

US and its allies are outnumbered more than 3 to 1. Furthermore they cannot match the replenishment rates for military aged males coming of age for military service every year. (US has about 2.1 million every year compared to China's 10.4 million) These numbers do not include females who would more than likely be called into such a global conflict. (for reference China has another 300.3 million females with 9.1 million newly able bodied females per year to the US's 59.4 million with another 2 million newly able bodied per year).[1] This is just the manpower figures.

Next we need to look at industrial capacity of the nations involved. This is especially important for figuring out supply of weapons, uniforms and food.

Based on GDP the % of each country for (A) agriculture and (I) industry. These numbers are from Wikipedia.[2]

China: (A) 10.1 (I) 46.8
Russia: (A) 4.5 (I) 36.9
North Korea: (A) 23.0 (I) 43.4

US: (A) 1.2 (I) 19.2
Germany: (A) 0.8 (I) 28.6
France: (A) 1.8 (I) 18.8
UK: (A) 0.7 (I) 21.4

This is important because these represent the percentage of the economy dedicated to manufacture of said goods. So China has nearly half of its economy dedicated to manufacturing, whereas the US only has 19.2%. China can manufacture more goods on par to be used by their soldiers and allies than the US can. It is true and worth noting however that the US produces a massive amount of corn but useful goods like rice, wheat and potatoes are all produced in the largest quantities by China. They also have the number one production of chicken, pork, sheep, goat and duck meat. They produce the most eggs and fish, the most cotton and wool.

The general point here of course is that China and it's allies have economies that are focused on producing things rather than consuming things, and can therefore be more quickly converted to producing the things necessary for a global war.

Before I get into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the armies involved I would like to touch on a very important thing. Money. The US is heavily in debt. It owes over $17 trillion in debt. 34% of it is externally held, or held by other governments. China is the largest holder of US debt with $1.271 trillion.[3] According to the Council on Foreign Relations a foreign sell off of US Securities could drive up interest rates and make the US stock of debt more expensive to service. China can single handedly destroy the US dollar based on the US's monetary policy of the last decades of wild spending and printing of money. A worthless dollar, means a worthless economy and a weak enemy.

Next it bears repeating that this war will be global because of the players involved. There can be no neutral nations. World War 2 saw the Nazis overrunning their neighbors in a push to the English Channel and the Atlantic. Countries with no allegiance were either destroyed or used as storage for plunder (Switzerland, I'm looking at you). That being said it is important to note that Russia, China and North Korea do not have to directly attack the US in order to cause them pain. The rich lands in Eastern Europe, the Oil in the Middle East, Rubber in Thailand and the pacific rim are all within reach of a Russian, Chinese alliance. If my opponent is correct in his assumption that South Korea would be a launch pad for an invasion of China, it should be noted that this would be hindered by a large Chinese force, on a small Korean peninsula. They did it once before, and they can do it again.[4]

It should also be noted China's dominance of the South China Sea is becoming somewhat of an inevitability at this point. Their major land reclamation has provided them with floating bases to place SAM's and Anti-Ship missiles on to turn the South China Sea, an area where $5.3 trillion in trade transits annually, into a floating fortress.[5]

It is true that the United States has a larger portion of advanced weaponry, including a superiority of aircraft and aircraft carriers. But Russia has arguably the best missiles in the world. Their S-400 anti air batteries are the most advanced in the world.[6] They also possess some of the most deadly anti ship missiles in the world. SS-N-12 "Sandbox" missile is a 10,000 lb school bus sized missile that flies at mach 2.5.[7] They are fired in salvos of 16 and coordinate with each other to vary their speed, altitude and approach vector to confuse enemy defenses.

This still doesn't even touch on China's increasingly capable Dongfeng DF-21 anti ship ballistic missile. It is a conventional ballistic missile with a 900 mile range for which the US has "no defense" if it works as theorized.[8] China currently has more than enough of these to destroy every carrier on the planet. It essentially works as a standoff weapon to keep the US Naval carrier groups at bay.

China is advancing the field of asymmetric warfare, focusing on their cyber attack expertise which is theoretically able to wreak havoc on American air defense and targeting systems.[9] Their DF-21 missiles are also capable at taking out satellites, which they would more than likely do to cripple American capabilities. This coupled with the hacking would make American task forces in the region easy targets for the Chinese.

Russia and China both stress the use of A2/AD defensive strategies in their military doctrine. Russia has recently demonstrated this with their annexation of the Crimean Peninsula effectively turning the Black Sea into a Russian Lake. A2/AD means anti-access aerial denial. The basic goal of this strategy is to use land, sea, air, cyber and space attacks to nullify America's technological advantages and ability to strike at the heart of the Chinese mainland. This isn't meant to completely stop an attack, but to weaken an attacking force so that by the time they reach their objectives they are so depleted that they must turn around or face complete destruction or mission failure. I will cover the specific capabilities of Chinese A2/AD strategy more in depth in the next round.

Furthermore China is developing their own stealth aircraft that are on par with the F-22 and F-35 Lightning II. The J-20[10] and J-31[11] are both upcoming Chinese projects that are designed to match the American fifth generation fighters.

China has also procured 12 Kilo-class submarines from Russia that are equipped with anechoic tiles that reduce sonar signature and are specially designed to operate in shallow waters. Considering the US Navy's shift away from anti-submarine specialty this is a troubling development for our armed forces. In 2006 a Chinese Song-class submarine stalked and surfaced within firing distance of the USS Kitty Hawk and its escorts.[12]

For these reasons I believe that China, Russia and North Korea would be able to defend their naval borders from attack and invasion, while expanding their territory into Europe and the Middle East, forcing the US to engage in a land battle where China and it's allies have an upper hand.

There is a reason that after WW2 the US focused so much on their atomic monopoly. Simply put Russia had too large of a standing army for any world power to be able to effectively combat them without Nuclear weapons. If the US is forced to engage Russia, China and North Korea on an extended land battle in Europe, Korea and the Middle East, it is questionable if they would be able to sustain a meaningful campaign in such a large theater of operations.

Combat is about more than who has the most advanced weapons. It is about training, determination, leadership and the will of the people to sustain a conflict for such a long period of time. If we look at history; well equipped, well trained and well led armies have time and again failed at defeating superior numbers. Napoleon's conquest of Europe was a terrifying development for 19th century monarchs in Europe, but Napoleon fell prey to logistical problems and despite winning the Battle of Borodino, he failed to crush Russia. The same thing happened to the Wehrmacht when they invaded Russia in 1941. Although their superior military equipment and experience carried them deep into Russian territory, they were ultimately unsuccessful. German tanks, aircraft, small arms and artillery in the early war were much more advanced than their Russian counterparts. Vietnam shows us that a technologically superior force can still be defeated by a motivated populace. North Korea shows that very same thing.

In my next argument I will focus on the implications of our recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as our dwindling supplies of battle ready equipment and munitions. I will also cover the specific impact of Chinese A2/AD strategy on our operations.


Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for a very good argument. I will attempt to counter it.

As you have stated, an invasion through South Korea would likely be
A. Unsupportable
B. Basically impossible.

The US could hold some of it's Military in south Korea as a precaution, or as a surprise force when China isn't suspecting it.

Meanwhile, for russia, just the US's allies have a higher manpower than Russia, this could give an advantage in production and attrition.
The US can hold it's navy back, as a defense and focus more of its military into Europe.
the UK, has some of the best trained soldiers in the world.

From your argument "Furthermore they cannot match the replenishment rates for military aged males coming of age for military service every year"

Yes that might be true, but that can't go on forever. Eventually something's gotta give, and if most of your population is focused on Production, your military is going to suffer. China would need to divert it, half and half, If not the side with less is going to suffer.

Being as China cannot invade mainland USA, where would they invade?
THe only suitable option would be through Alaska, or Canada, but i doubt Canada will allow them Military access.

Yes, China has a staggering industry, but they can't get thousands and millions of supplies in a few days.
Depending on how long it takes to get China's industry into War Production, the USAF can quickly bomb high priority areas of production, knocking out the rate at which China and produce military supplies.

Note too, that because of the high amount of aircraft in the USAf, we can send waves after waves towards your Anti-Air batteries and weaponry. Yes we would sustain medium to high losses, but if we can cripple China's air defense, what is there is stop the USAF from bombing the country's valuable supplies and Infrastructure, and Production locations.

Now, the USA has a much much higher number of serviceable airports. Meaning we have much more places to launch aircraft from. This being the USAF can knock out Chinese Airports, this can limit the area's China can launch aircraft from, giving the US an even bigger opportunity to bomb valuable areas.

It is worth noting, the US would sustain heavy losses in these attacks.

Now, back to the problem with China having such a larger military. I said it before, i'll say it again, Numbers do not win a battle.

For example, here is a battle scenario:

At the chinese city of Tonghua.
1,250,000 million US marines have captured the city, however 3,500,000 Chinese soldiers are 50 miles away, heading for the city.

As they march into the city, the US marines can hide around the city, and at one point, surround the Chinese Soldiers, completely cutting their numerical advantage.
The landscape can also provide a large advantage, if a battle takes place in a forest for example, the US marines need only to hide in bushes, awaiting the chinese military. Giving them the stealth advantage.

I have provided my counter argument, good luck in the next round.

Again i refer to as my source.


I got a little sidetracked these past few days and wasn't able to finish my exposition on A2/AD so I will use R3 to respond to my opponent's arguments. Thank you very much for the opportunity to examine these arguments.

We agree that any attack through South Korea would be a stalemate for the US at best and a complete disaster at worst. The only thing they could do would be to draw the attention away from Korea and then attack. I don't think this would be possible considering how well established the American presence on Korea is and also how strong the North Korean position is. Any attack against the North would likely buy enough time for the Chinese to shift their forces to react to any problems.

With the US Navy at bay the Chinese have a significant advantage of not having to deal with the force projection that Aircraft Carriers bring to the equation. My opponent asks, "Where would China invade?" China doesn't have to invade the US in order to hurt it. China and Russia would focus their attentions on Eastern Europe, the Middle East and also on Southeast Asia. Because of the massive amount of manpower available to China fighting a war on such a wide front would not be an issue.

By attacking in Eastern Europe they divert the attention of the US and it's allies to protect their NATO alliance. The majority of their forces would need to be committed to slowing the advance through eastern Europe. By attacking the Middle East China can control a region that contains the majority of the world's proved oil reserves. This would deprive America of oil forcing them to decide between their military and their economy. The economy runs on oil, so does the military machine. They would need to enact strict rationing which would increase prices.

Russia is no slouch. Recently it was leaked that the Pentagon is unsure it could defeat Russia in eastern Europe.[1] Note, this is them unsure of their ability to defeat Russia only not including the might of China as well. While it is true that Germany, the UK and France bring some more punch to the table, but nowhere near what China does.

China, after invading eastern Europe and the Middle East could easily prepare for an invasion through central and south America. China has purchased five Zubr class LCACs for invading by sea.[2] These are the largest hovercraft transports in the world. America would need to fortify every coastline they have, nearly 96,000 miles of it.[3]

Are you prepared for the massive losses of attacking such advanced anti-air defenses? Every nation America has ever imposed a no fly zone and air superiority over has had mediocre AA at best.

Unfortunately it isn't always as easy as hiding in buildings and bushes. The Chinese don't need to take the city by simply marching in. Bombardment with artillery and bombs soften up targets before invasion. The US army hasn't been under siege in a long, long time, since at least the battle of Khe Sanh. In this battle both sides declared victory.[4] To assert that they will "simply" have the advantage is an underestimation of the conflict and capabilities of both sides.

I will have my updated argument in the next round.

Debate Round No. 3


Dark_Soul forfeited this round.


CaptainAhab forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My closing statement:

I have one thing to say, that is from your round 3 argument.
You say that Russia and China would focus their attack on Eastern Europe, that leaves them more vulnerable for the US to attack.

Feel free to counter something i said if you want. (It's only fair!) Do not post an entire 5 paragraphs argument as a closing statement.
IF you counter something, use 1 - 3 sentences.

Vote Pro


CaptainAhab forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Dark_Soul 1 year ago
So sorry i forfeited that round, i lost track of time and thought i had another day.
Posted by Dark_Soul 1 year ago
Holy Crap, countering this argument is going to be hard.
Posted by lol101 1 year ago
I would debate this but, I agree. China would have an edge on ground and naval power, but but we have more aircraft. I think fighter jets are far more effective thank tanks and submarines.
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