We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
China's success in amplifying its power is due in part to what may be called "the gift of the Meiji." That is, the transformation of the Japanese slogan fukoku kyohei—rich country, strong arms—into the Sixteen-Character Policy: "Combine the military and the civil; combine peace and war; give priority to military products; let the civil support the military." After humiliation and occupation by the West closely parallel to what also befell China, predominantly agricultural Japan rapidly transformed itself into an industrial state that could successfully wage war with modern arms against Russia, a second-tier European power, and then, not that many decades later, offer a mortal challenge to the world's leading naval power, the United States.
It was able to vault with preternatural speed into the first ranks of the leading nations because it understood the relation of economic growth to military potential. Unlike the United States, which, almost unconsciously, governs itself reactively and predominantly for the short term, China has plotted a long course in which with great deliberation it joins growth to military expansion.
"offer a mortal challenge to the world's leading naval power, the United States."
The US wasn't the worlds leading naval power and didn't have a big fleet at the start of WWII. That was why the Japanese figured they could sink the pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour and we would give up.
Absent an ability on the part of the enemy to knock you out quickly it doesn't matter what you can do when the war begins, what matters is what you can do as the war goes on. As the war went on we proved able to not only fight on multiple fronts, but to supply multiple allies at one and the same time. We did have shortages, but not everywhere, and not in truly important areas.
The same holds true today, for China is a fraud and Russia a twitching corpse. And Italy would do well to recruit immigrants from Mexico.
Mostly Japan's jump into the naval arms race was facilitated by the Washington and London Arms Limitation Treaties that scrapped dozens of old but useful BB in order to maintain a 5:5:3 ratio and the holiday in US construction that followed the Great Depression. While spunky little Japan did jump into the arms race with gusto and immediately start to violate the Treaty limitations, it was mostly the idiocy of the politicians in England and America that gave the Japanese the idea that they could achieve any sort of victory in the Pacific. Another useful example of the real impact of such treaties; it encourages the naive to believe that they can "get away" with their nefarious plans leading to oceans of blood and gore.