Analysis & Opinions - Responsible Statecraft

How to Manufacture a 'New Cold War' with China

| Aug. 26, 2020

In recent months, many observers have sounded the alarm that hardening U.S. policy toward China could provoke a "new cold war." As I wrote with my colleague, Quincy Institute Deputy Director of Research and Policy Stephen Wertheim in the New York Times, hawkish members of the Trump administration are using the current pandemic as an opportunity to launch a long-desired cold war that had failed to gain traction amidst Trump's push for a phase-one trade deal.

However, some who agree with this critique of recent U.S. policy have challenged the use of this term, rejecting the basic premise that anything like the U.S.-Soviet Cold War of the 20th century is possible between the United States and China.

This critique of the critique has merit. The economic models of both the United States and China in the contemporary era depend upon robust integration with a global trading and financial system that makes them mutually interdependent — not only bilaterally, but also as nodes in complex multilateral production networks. Such a relationship does not easily lend itself to a cold-warrish dynamic of mutual isolation and segregation....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Odell, Rachel Esplin.“How to Manufacture a 'New Cold War' with China.” Responsible Statecraft, August 26, 2020.

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