Here's What Would Happen If China Nuked America

If China attacked the United States with a nuclear weapon, it's almost certain that a war would ensue. But the likely outcome predicted by some experts might come as a surprise to many.

The growing power of China continues to fuel American unease at the thought that their status as the most powerful country in the world could someday be pulled from beneath their feet. Although it ranked sixth in U.S. News & World Report's best countries in the world, the publication still acknowledges the dominance of America on the global scale in terms of military and economic power. China, on the other hand, ranked 17th on the list, despite being the most populous country in the world.

Surprisingly, not all experts agree that America would come out victorious in a military clash with the communist People's Republic of China. As reported by Breaking Defense, RAND Corporation analyst David Ochmanek, an expert in simulated warfare, said in March 2019 that China could easily defeat America in the Pacific by bombarding opposing forces with missiles.

Ochmanek isn't the only one, either. Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense, echoed this pessimism about the United States' chances against China. "In every case I know of, the F-35 rules the sky when it's in the sky, but it gets killed on the ground in large numbers," he said.

China engages in devastating forms of warfare

Despite America's top military power, experts suggest China's likely victory would be thanks to a particularly devastating form of warfare that they practice regularly. According to Work, this form of battle is called "system destruction warfare" and involves an attack on American networks of command and control, which includes wireless networks and communications satellites (via Breaking Defense).

With command-and-control systems down and dark, the American military's global scale becomes reduced to an ineffective operation, and China gains the upper hand. Per We Are The Mighty, this leg-up also partly comes from China's far-reaching mountainous terrain that makes it ripe for hiding mobile missiles that could take out American aircraft.

It's also possible that China has been exploring the utility of biological warfare. According to The Economic Times, reports of the rising superpower's exploration of the field have circulated for years.

In 1999, Qiao Lang and Wang Xiangsui, military strategists from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces, claimed that the country was at the time investing in novel methods of military combat to deploy against its enemies. "It cannot be denied that man made earthquakes, tsunamis, weather disasters, or subsonic wave and new biological and chemical weapons all constitute new concept weapons ... whose immediate goal is to kill and destroy, and which all are related to military affairs, soldiers, munitions," they wrote.