Technologies become the main line of confrontation between the United States and China
As for the actual military sphere, at present there is not a single significant technology where the United States would not be ahead of the PRC. In addition, most of the American technologies have been tested on the battlefield to one degree or another. And, on the contrary, almost all modern PLA weapons, including those based on modern technologies, have not yet been tested even in peacetime. Only Chinese export unmanned aerial vehicles have experience in combat use. Considering that the PRC continues to critically depend on American patents in many areas of electronic products, as well as in the production of microprocessors, one can be sure that the US military-technological leadership will remain in the short and medium term.
But huge spending on R&D, already comparable to the US, will provide China with technology parity in the long term, although so far the presence of strong scientific schools and a smooth combination of public and private investment in R&D gives the United States a significant advantage. Where these factors are of decisive importance - in microprocessors, aerospace, medicine, biotechnology - the US advantage is great and will remain for a long time. Where these factors, for some reason, are not so significant - primarily in a number of new areas (network technologies, including the same 5G) - or where the advantages of the huge capacity of the Chinese market affect, China has every chance to break into the leaders.
To achieve military-technological parity, China must equalize its military spending with America's and maintain it for a long time. In addition, in the PRC, the transfer of civilian technologies to the military sphere is still ineffective. And if the Americans themselves kindly somehow do not help their competitor to gain a geopolitical victory, as Gorbachev's Soviet Union did, the Sino-American military technological parity will not be achieved until 2040–2045.
A direct consequence of the competition between the United States and China in technology will be the disintegration of the global space of technological standards and solutions, dominated by the United States, into two areas - American (Western) and Chinese. This will significantly worsen the leadership position of the United States, depriving America of its role as a global technological unifier and weakening the global position of its high-tech industries. On the contrary, China's position will be strengthened by the emergence of its own technology sphere of standards.
It is technological rivalry that will determine all other aspects of the confrontation between the United States and China, and the development of computing power and networking solutions will be a breakthrough success. This will change the face of the entire civilization and, in particular, the face of war. In military-technological terms, one can expect completely remote warfare with the massive use of drones and smart ammunition, as well as total anti-missile defense capable of hitting many of the most difficult targets, which will devalue traditional nuclear forces and deprive Russia of the last attribute of a great power left to it from the USSR.
And Russia, after another one and a half to two decades of efforts to preserve its military-technological autonomy, will be forced to choose one or another pole of competition. And it is not at all predetermined that this side will be China. If American policy is sufficiently patient, flexible and open, then it will have a considerable chance of getting Russia on its side, especially since the Russian elite dreams of exactly this. Only now, there is less and less reason to expect flexibility and wisdom from Washington.