At 1945 James Holmes argues that, from a Clausewitzian standpoint, right now may be the perfect time for China to attack the United States:
Brands and Beckley are professors at Johns Hopkins and Tufts, respectively. Though they don’t mention the sage of nineteenth-century Prussia in their lucidly written new book Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, they apply Clausewitzian logic to Communist China, arguing that the world is witnessing “peak China.” If China stands at the zenith of its power, and if Chinese Communist Party magnates know it, then they might reason that now is their best opportunity to use military might to settle longstanding grudges.
My own view is that practically all of that is premature but a lot including the survival of the United States, the survival of China, and, possibly, the survival of the human species depends on China’s objectives and how the Chinese authorities evaluate the relative strengths of the U. S. and China.
There’s another possible scenario: China and the U. S. may be co-dependent with both recognizing that. In that event regardless of their relative strengths, it would be highly unlikely for China to engage the United States.
I would also point out that China’s military doctrine is completely untested while ours is proven. We continue to be strong militarily and weak politically as Soviet, Chinese, and Russian leaders have all recognized. I suspect that China’s way of war more closely resembles Russia’s than it does ours.
Would a second Pearl Harbor have a different outcome than the first?