"....America won the Cold War in large part because the Russians knew that 
American avionics would give NATO control of the air in any prospective war; 
that the Pershing missiles in Germany and Italy gave NATO an advantage in any 
prospective nuclear exchange; and that the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative 
portended a new range of technologies that Russia couldn’t match. China looked 
on from a distance and aligned itself with the dominant technological 
superpower.

If America wants to command China’s respect, it has to widen the technology 
gap, rather than watch it shrink. If China believed that its weapons systems 
were ineffective against American countermeasures, it would show far more 
caution. But the opposite is true: the technology gap is closing, and China 
knows it. America still has a technological lead and the resources to widen 
it–should it choose to do so. There is no obvious political constituency for 
such an effort though, and no prominent leader commited to doing so. A return 
to the Eisenhower-Kennedy-Reagan commitment to American technological 
superiority would also have enormously beneficial effects for America’s lagging 
productivity. But it is hard to persuade Americans that it is better to be 
tough than to sound tough.

Asia Times

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