Of the four, the PLAN obviously would prefer to follow the U.S. path. Success depends on maintaining the economic, technological, and political foundations necessary to build a fleet, rebuild that fleet, and then rebuild it again. It also seems to depend on avoiding a major conflict that brings about the destruction of the fleet, national humiliation, and the forcible curtailment of maritime ambitions.
Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is a visiting professor at the United States Army War College. The views expressed here are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, the Army War College, or any other department or agency of the U.S. government.
This article appeared earlier in 2019.