America’s tryst with the new Cold War
Politics is the struggle for power which remains persistent in international politics. Major players of the world are vying for establishing hegemony, especially with the US being at the forefront with a belligerent attitude. A new Cold War is in offing following the emergence of China as a competitor. Russia is also a US target owing to the former’s offensive approach against Ukraine. Though the war rages on in the European continent, the US is not keen on being involved militarily but is providing military and economic aid to Ukraine against Russia. The US also imposed economic sanctions on Russia—a major supplier of oil and gas—that proved counterproductive as the economies of Europe started faltering.
Amid all these scenarios, suggestions of truce and compromise have been prompted by many countries. Even the calibration of armaments provided by NATO intends to engineer a stalemate that would serve as a face-saving tactic. The exclusion of Ukraine and Georgia from the rubric of NATO would bring solace to the Russians. Kissinger recommended a ‘status quo ante’ as a requisite for peace which means ceding the territory to Russia. It reveals the fact that the West is not pondering over further escalation. It is imperative to bolster negotiations between Russia and Ukraine before it gets too late. In the contemporary zeitgeist, a matter of preponderance over the world is engulfing superpowers. The US sees China as a bigger threat than Russia. China’s economic expansion and its quest for an alternative world order is contrary to the USA’s interests. It would limit its role in world politics. China’s sprawling influence has become an obsession for the US and its bid for the leader of the ‘free world’ would bring her into inadvertent conflict with China.
Recently, the two-hour conversation between Biden and Xi-Jinping has alarmed the world about the offing Taiwan crisis. Xi has warned Biden by saying that ‘those who play with fire will perish by it.’ The exchange of harsh tones between two global leaders has astounded many war experts. Furthermore, experts have augured the nuclear Armageddon if the diplomatic channel is not used. The planned visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is construed as a provocation by Chinese officials and they have warned of dire consequences. If America is stuck with ‘strategic ambiguity’ and pursues the ‘One-China policy’, it would be better for the US to procrastinate the visit of Nancy Pelosi. China has sensed that the US is getting away from the ‘One-China policy.’ Antony Blinken has publicly referred to Taiwan as a country. China’s gesticulation of dreadful acts to change the status of Taiwan would exacerbate the tensions but who will bear the cost of the adventurist policies of the US and China? In the US, Biden has initiated the Build Back Better World project to efface the inequality and privation of Americans. They have started legislation of ‘Strategic Competition Act 2021’ and ‘America COMPETES Act’ to vie with China. These acts are formulated to disburse federal resources to spur economic progress and job creation. The hovering conflict with China would compel the US to buy guns at the expense of butter. The Biden administration is well aware of the fact that China will not wait forever for Taiwan’s surrender to communist rule’. China’s emergence as countervailing force might deter the hegemonic ambitions of the US.
To counter the US, China has adopted the ‘Wolf Warrior’ policy. The dynamics of China’s economy are narrow. The political economy of China is highly dependent on oligarchs who exploit the weaker labor that is deprived of rights and often face precariousness. These oligarchs then siphoned off their profits to state-directed offshore investments to increase the ambit of their economic influence. The projects of BRI are massively financed by these exploiters. China’s economic influence abroad bears the cost of inequality and repression at home. Xi administration is embarked on sustaining an unprecedented third term as head of the Chinese communist party. Xi is reviving his declining popularity by nurturing xenophobic and ethno-national sentiments amongst the masses.
China’s aim of increasing the pace towards ‘Great Rejuvenation by 2049’ is knotted with the unification of Taiwan. The Xi administration is not intended to protract this issue to the next generation. Would it be in the interest of the US to come into direct conflict with China over Taiwan? What does the USA-China rift hold for international order? How would both powers tackle the issues of climate change and pandemics? These questions arise following the USA’s tryst with the new Cold War. The US can only avert this catastrophe by impeding the attack of China on Taiwan. Previously, Beijing discussed the issue of Taiwan peacefully by de-escalating the tensions in 1994. Now, the conditions are more intricate due to economic headwinds at home. The direct intervention of the US in Taiwan might commemorate the ungraceful withdrawal as it happened in the case of the Vietnam. At that time, South Vietnam was left at the abject mercy of northern rebellions. China’s occupation of the island would be a ‘tour de force’ and would leave the US with limited options. Both giants must shed their selfish approach for hegemonic ambitions. They must reinvigorate the essence of diplomacy to prevent the region from becoming a new theater of war.