Commentary: A US-China clash is not unthinkable

WASHINGTON DC: The most worrying aspect about talk of a new cold war is that it breeds complacency.The first one ended peacefully in 1991 when the Soviet Union folded its tent. The US-USSR ideological contest implied that one side could triumph if the other’s system failed, which is what happened. Cold war 2.0 offers a different spectre — escalating geopolitical rivalry between the world’s two largest powers with no clear exit ramp. WINDS OF CONFRONTATION It is possible that the “relentless diplomacy” Joe Biden promised at the UN this week could work on China. He has yet to secure a meaningful dialogue with an increasingly paranoid Beijing. By contrast, Biden is making rapid progress on coalitions that could further stoke China’s wolf warrior instincts. Last week’s AUKUS deal with Australia and the UK, followed by this Friday’s Quad summit with Australia, India and Japan are tangible ripostes to China’s growing military reach. Biden’s stance is to work with China where America’s goals overlap — such as fighting global warming and stopping the next pandemic — and confront where they diverge, such as on human rights, Taiwan, freedom of navigation and technological rivalry.

Commentary: A US-China clash is not unthinkable

WASHINGTON DC: The most worrying aspect about talk of a new cold war is that it breeds complacency.

The first one ended peacefully in 1991 when the Soviet Union folded its tent. The US-USSR ideological contest implied that one side could triumph if the other’s system failed, which is what happened.

Cold war 2.0 offers a different spectre — escalating geopolitical rivalry between the world’s two largest powers with no clear exit ramp.

WINDS OF CONFRONTATION

It is possible that the “relentless diplomacy” Joe Biden promised at the UN this week could work on China. He has yet to secure a meaningful dialogue with an increasingly paranoid Beijing.

By contrast, Biden is making rapid progress on coalitions that could further stoke China’s wolf warrior instincts. Last week’s AUKUS deal with Australia and the UK, followed by this Friday’s Quad summit with Australia, India and Japan are tangible ripostes to China’s growing military reach.

Biden’s stance is to work with China where America’s goals overlap — such as fighting global warming and stopping the next pandemic — and confront where they diverge, such as on human rights, Taiwan, freedom of navigation and technological rivalry.