By Keith Nobles
There has been a good amount of speculation of late as to whether or not the United States and China are engaged in a Cold War.
Let me end the speculation: Yes, yes we are engaged in a Cold War and have been for quite some time.
Additionally, China is making geopolitical moves that only make sense in the context of preparing for a hot war with the United States.
What is the Chinese strategy in this Cold War? The United States has acquired almost unfathomable tail risk over the last few decades. These tail risk are social, political, financial, economic, military and geopolitical. The Chinese strategy will be to assure as many of these risk as possible will come to fruition for the United States over the next few years.
Many people are hesitant to proclaim that a Cold War exist between the United States because it does not look like the Cold War with the USSR. China learned from the mistakes the Soviets made in losing their Cold War and China is committed to not repeating the mistakes of the USSR. Pretty straightforward, the Chinese are doing this differently that the Soviets.
Some people are derisive about the concept of a Cold War with China simply premised upon the reality that it does not much look like the Cold War with the Soviets. If you want to make comparisons, the Chinese strategy and tactics are similar to the colonization methods of 18th and 19th century Great Britain. China has not repeated the tactics of the USSR in regard to the Comintern, they are not seeking fellow ideological travelers to foment communist revolution, and they are not banging shoes on podiums threatening the west with nuclear annihilation.
What China is doing is acquiring strategically valuable real estate via debt traps, working trade deals around the world that create an economic dependency on Beijing, and using cyber espionage to understand individuals, corporations and nations and their weaknesses.
Chinese control of a politician, corporation or nation is very likely to begin with the words, “You have a problem, let us help you…”
The ‘help’ will turn into dependency and control, much in the same way that Britain acquired her global colonial empire.
There appears to be a general complacency within the United States in regard to China and Cold War. There appears to be a belief that because the United States won the last Cold War that it is inevitable that we would win the next one.
That is an extraordinarily foolish way to think and view the world. While the United States is debating if a 1950’s Christmas song promotes rape culture or if a red-nosed reindeer advocates bullying, China is thinking about how to obtain global hegemony under the leadership of Beijing.
Reality will intervene.