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The rise of China and the New Cold War

In a National Interest poll, most experts and scholars predict a new Cold War between the US and China, a confrontation between the two powers related to the competition to control the world order.

These expectations stem mainly from political positions causing confrontations and the trade and technology wars between the two countries.

What is the possibility of this scenario on the one hand, and its expected impact on the rest of the world on the other? In discussing this issue, it can be said that it does not stop with the expectations of experts and analysts.

Indeed, the attempt to interpret the policies of many countries of the world in recent times reveals a growing belief that there will be a confrontation between China and the US.

The shape of this confrontation and its scenarios depend on the evolution of the points of disagreement and conflict between the two powers, especially economic and trade aspects, around which the causes of US strategic concern that are detrimental to China’s rise are concentrated.

A brutal military confrontation seems to be an excluded scenario, at least on the Chinese side.

China does not want any obstruction to the success of its developmental ascent and has a different strategic vision than the traditional idea of global domination and influence on the world order.

China does not want the traditional leadership of this system. Instead, it seeks to consolidate its power and economic empire so that this leadership becomes a fait accompli away from the military power balances that are in the interest of the US. China needs great effort and many years to bridge the gap between the two powers in the military area.

Beijing views its inevitable rise to the top of the global economic system as an alternative to a dominant military power, as the US has been for decades.

The question here is this: Can an economic and technological power, however great, dominate the world and rule the world order over other militarily superior international powers, can it do so culturally, media or otherwise?

My belief is that the model China is trying to impose has no historical precedent, given that military power has always been the spearhead of power and domination conflicts between great powers.

The expected scenario of the Cold War between China and the US will inevitably be different from the fierce competition between the US and the former USSR. There are several fundamental differences between the two cases. China, for example, does not use ideology as a major tool of conflict, as was the case with the former USSR.

Thus, the expected Cold War, if it occurs, will in no way revolve around ideologies and the prevailing pattern of values and culture between the two powers. It will focus on economics, trade, and political values.

Moreover, China will not seek global leadership in the American sense, but may seek to take the top of the global economic system to achieve the greatest strategic impact and economic returns possible. It will not be drawn into a confrontation with the capitalist model. All the more so since the Chinese economic giants are competing in the US market, a very important and vital market for them.

It is therefore inconceivable that large Chinese companies would seek to destroy the American model of life in which they find a source of wealth and global influence. The focus in the US is now on trying to abort China’s fast-paced rise.

We see no shortage of attempts to seek to invalidate the theories that promote this rise, and to propose alternatives, such as the end of Chinese ambition, etc. Based on the decline of the high growth rates that the Chinese have been achieving for decades.

But what people forget is that China’s growth, which only reached about 2% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, was achieved at a time when the growth rates of Western industrial economies fell to record lows. China’s inevitable rise in recent years has become an obvious reality, especially after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Most Western anti-Chinese theories are based on China’s lack of initiative and risk-avoidance in dealing with international crises and problems, as well as China’s own preoccupation with its domestic problems and its over-sensitivity to discussing these problems with the West. These views may seem legitimate.

But this does not stand in the way of China’s rise, especially if Beijing works to close the loopholes that the West tries to point out and get rid of any sensitivity in this regard.

In my opinion, it is more likely that the world will gradually be divided into two blocs, one led by the US and the other under Chinese leadership.

These are two very different cultures, which makes it difficult for the West to submit to Chinese hegemony.

China is on a path to shape its own world by trying to counter US trade wars, from stimulating domestic demand to forging free trade agreements in its regional environment (especially with East Asian giants Japan and South Korea, two major US allies).

In addition, it anticipates the huge returns expected for its massive strategic New Silk Road project, which tightly integrates the economies of many countries around the world with the Chinese economy.

On the other hand, talk of the US relinquishing global leadership in the foreseeable future seems most uncertain, given its absolute dominance of technology giants and superiority in vital areas such as artificial intelligence, information technology, the Internet, and others.

And not to mention the primacy of its cultural, value and media model – at least until the woke generation – far from seeing itself in competition with any alternative global model.

Source: Salem AlKetbi – Arutz Sheva