JuleTron: Didn't say they couldn't compete, just said that as a nation, the USA is ahead, but every other nation can compete in select theatres, the USA can just compete in them all.
1. Not sure that the USSR "willingly" disintegrated either, but you sad yourself that a bulk of Chinese military power is paramilitary, for one, and for two, given that the "Great Recession" did little to affect Chinese military strength, I reluctantly agree with you here, however, a sustained conflict under harsh economic conditions would prove challenging to the PRC's military to maintain itself. TBH, that they have such a large military confounds me, there's no need for it; their diplomatic relations abroad are quite stable, and they're not in any large, conflicted alliances like NATO...
2. You'd by suprised by the military strength of the RoC. The population is comparable to that of Texas, but it's extremely advanced, up there with Japan, and has quite a large military. Taiwan, I will admit, can't take over mainland China on it's own, but with USA help, will replace the PRC and re-establish China far more quickly than a US-Placed democracy would.
3. Again, blame the media.
4. Bah, tell that to my english teacher. Bastard failed my research paper on globalization because I took both sides on whether it was good or bad.