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Yes, America Is in a Cold War With China

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tags: Cold War, China, international relations



A new cold war is heating up between the U.S. and China, but America’s public intellectuals are more interested in fighting about whether to call this confrontation a “new cold war.”

The phrase has been in the lexicon for a while. Historian (and Journal columnist) Walter Russell Mead has deployed it many times since Vice President Mike Pence’s 2018 speech at the Hudson Institute, then the most comprehensive articulation of the Trump administration’s approach to China. Author Robert Kaplan argued in January 2019 that a new cold war had started between the U.S. and China. Later that year historian Niall Ferguson said “Cold War II” had begun. Henry Kissinger has also warned that “we are in the foothills of a cold war.”

China has pushed back. Two weeks ago Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused “U.S. political forces” of pushing the two countries to “the brink of so-called new cold war.” Almost daily a Chinese Communist Party apparatchik accuses American officials of “Cold War thinking” or “summoning the ghosts of McCarthyism,” to take two recent examples. Last month Max Baucus, a former U.S. senator and ambassador to China, echoed these talking points on both CNN International and Chinese state television, comparing President Trump to Joseph McCarthy and, yes, Hitler.

More measured objections to the new-cold-war language have come from observers such as Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president, and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. They and others are concerned that the phrase will either give the Chinese Communist Party a propaganda victory or create a self-fulling prophecy.

Read entire article at Wall Street Journal

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