Home PoliticsPolitical Protests How Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam may have triggered the Sino-US Cold War

How Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam may have triggered the Sino-US Cold War

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Today it is commonplace for pundits, scholars and officials to refer to a “Cold War” between China and the United States. Indeed, Chinese officials and media routinely lament “Cold War thinking” in Washington, and the way in which many US politicians speak of China does seem to confirm that such thinking exists. 

Is all of this just talk, or is a Sino-US Cold War actually underway? If so, when did it begin, and why? To answer these questions, it’s helpful to look back at the 20th-century Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. 

Photo: Richie C, via Flickr.

That was defined by the political, economic, ideological and military rivalry between the Americans and the Soviets. What many are describing as a Sino-US Cold War shares many of the same attributes: political rivalry has reached near-fever pitch, economic rivalry is growing rapidly, ideological rivalry is near-total and military rivalry is approaching levels that could precipitate direct conflict, perhaps due to naval miscalculations in the South China Sea or US support for Taiwan. By the definition of the US-Soviet Cold War, a Sino-US Cold War does indeed seem to be underway. 

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