The U.S. hasn’t won a war since WWII against second string opponents. China is first string, but there are U.S. neocons who are pushing for war. From Yves Smith at nakedcapitalism.com:
A vivid scene came in my first year Harvard MBA course, Business, Government and the International Economy, taught in my section by George C. Lodge, son of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. George Lodge said he still remembered the day in 1968 when he realized there were limits to US power, that we could not fight a war on poverty, send a man to the moon, and fight a ground war in Asia at the same time.
The lack of that insight still seems widespread inside the Beltway, with belief in American omnipotence renewed by the fall of the USSR and then the further decline of Russia in the 1990s. A story initially published with a page-wide banner headline, The US is Not Yet Ready for the Era of “Great Power’ Conflict With China and Russia, curiously omits that it is the US that has been fomenting these clashes. And even though the URL banner on the article proper reads, The US is Not Yet Ready for the Era of “Great Power’ Conflict with China and Russia, the piece treats Russia dismissively, in passing, and treats escalating with China as a perfectly reasonable thing to do, not just now. We’ll turn to Russia in due course, particularly in light of Ukraine deciding Monday to try to break into the Bakhmut cauldron.
If you read the article carefully, you’ll see the reverse, that any meaningful improvement in US preparedness against China is based on hopium, like the US developing, manufacturing, and deploying new weapons that are on the drawing board or in early stages. Similarly, it fails to admit a huge weakness in the US dealing with China: that our Navy is badly overinvested in the floating pork known as aircraft carriers. Informed observers like Scott Ritter have said China has the capability to take them out without too much difficulty if they get within menacing range. Sinking only one aircraft carrier would result in roughly 6000 deaths, a humiliation the US would not tolerate. Ritter has long worried that our response would be to fire a tactical nuke at the Chinese hinterlands. Ritter is certain that China would immediately light up the entire US West Coast.
This is what happens when you have been bullying nations for so long, you don’t know how to stop when you are up against a superior adversary.