New Cold War
This Blog is written by Priyank Sudhir Shah from Gujarat Law Society Law College. Edited by Saumya Tripathi.
The news of new cold war is fast erupting and the same is taking us back to the time just after the completion of II World War. The time post World War II had created a lot of tension throughout the world. A new world order was about to set due to such tension. The most infamous tension post II world war was the Cold War between the USA and Soviet Russia. The cold war between these two world powers had almost led world on the brink of Third World War. During those times, sides were taken by the countries; all the allied forces backed USA and may other countries backed communist Soviet Union. Atmosphere of great tension was created throughout the world. There was a constant interference of these two world powers in the functioning of developing countries, the reason for such interference was to have strategic control over those developing countries so that the two powers can benefit from them. These all ended after the decades of struggle and finally peace was brokered. But recently, the same tensions have been observed between USA and China, there has been a rising tension relating to Trade between these two powers.
The rising tensions between these two countries have again shown the symptoms of new cold war. The age of cold war can begin if no settlement is sought between the two nations. Many claim that these rising tensions are caused because of the trade restrictions imposed by USA on China, but these trade tensions are very well a part reason but not the entire one. The rising tensions between the two powers were first seen during the times when the Chinese hackers allegedly hacked the maintenance records of American Warships, Pentagon records and much such sensitive information; then came the rising tensions in the South China Sea and then came the trade war. The series of events that took place in three four years can be considered to be the reasons of developing tension between the two nations. Then the Final blow given by the Trade restrictions might be considered the eruption in the tensions. In early May US imposed Visa restrictions on the Chinese Journalist working in USA, limiting their work period to 90 days. In 2017, the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy called China as “a revisionist power” seeking “to erode American security and prosperity” and “shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests”.
The issue of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network has long been controversial in the US as well as Britain. A government spokesman said: “Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK’s networks.” According to a paper published by the World Economic Forum, the value of Chinese exports fell by 17.2% year on year in the first two months of 2020, while imports slowed by 4% .
After all these events of blaming and alleging, then came the new tension of Corona Virus or COVID- 19. The spread of this virus throughout the country and creating a world Pandemic has further raised tensions between the nations. The relationship between the US and China was already teetering close to the edge of a cliff before COVID-19, but the pandemic pushed it right off. The dynamic between Beijing and Washington has become so contentious in the coronavirus era that experts predict beginning of a New Cold War between the nations. There has been a constant blame by the USA on China for spreading the virus, which has worsened the situation. The political elites of both China and the U.S., like the Soviet Union and the U.S. back then, see each other as their main rivals. Both Trump and US and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused China of a lack of transparency over the outbreak, and repeatedly said the virus was leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, an accusation China vehemently denies. In recent weeks, the US and Australia have called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
There is a key difference in ideologies of both the countries. But these differences have been there for decades but no such situation was ever created. According to Mr. Jacob “We don’t see the kind of proxy conflicts between the U.S. and China which we did during the Cold War. The world is also not bipolar any more. There are third parties such as the EU, Russia, India and Japan. These parties increasingly have a choice whether or not to align with either power as they see fit and on a case by case basis. This leads to a very different kind of international order than during the Cold War. The Cold War was out and out ideological between the communist and capitalist blocs. For China, a country ruled by a communist party where the primary goal of all state apparatus is preserving the regime in power, it’s always been ideological. The U.S. has started realizing this angle about China now.”
The impact of this breakdown is going to be global, USA and China both are capable of and are an arch of globalization and global trade. The world again might be forced to take sides. The basic difference between the old cold war and alleged new cold war is that of spreading of ideologies. During Old cold war the two superpowers had a chance to spread their ideologies because of the global conditions back then, but a new order has set, so every country has a set of ideologies and because of globalization is not bound to one country, as they have various others to trade with. But China’s authoritarian regime is of a great concern, because the regime has control over almost all the things, so it might create a problem for the citizens. But the fall of anyone superpower might lead to a global recession.
This rising tensions are against the global benefit and might cause a collapse of many smaller economies. Many countries would lose a lot of its growth because of this conflict; major economies might get affected because of it. The only way to get out of this situation is diplomatic dialogues between the two nations. This diplomacy must avoid the temptation of reducing the American-Chinese relationship to one contentious theme; it can mean playing hard on trade but always keeping the public rhetoric cool and reasoned. Passion becomes the real enemy in this competition, because in the megaphone world of global social media, passion stirs the impulse to assert status, which has often been a principal source of wars. So it again is in the favour of the world economy that the dialogues can be resumed and can be extensive, negotiating all the problems that might lead to Cold War.