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Conclusion: The Coming Cold War II?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2023

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Summary

The chapters in this volume suggest characteristics of Chinese political culture and traditional diplomacy. With a new understanding of Chinese concepts of the world order, the authors have examined the emergence of CCP leaders like Li Dazhao, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping. All were individuals who thought eclectically about domestic and international issues. Their political and security concerns, unprecedented for national leaders in previous periods of modern Chinese history, were inspired not only by a heightened awareness of ideas transmitted to China from the West, including America, but also by robust traditions harking back to many centuries ago. Moreover, their vision and insight also grew out of active participation in international events of the period, often as actors. However, each generation of CCP leaders faced disharmonious factors and unstable elements in China as well as in the world.

Chinese leaders today face some similar international and domestic issues, which prompted early leaders to prioritize their security concerns, national defense, economic development, and domestic control in 1950. Although the international environment dramatically changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, China apparently replaces Russia as the primary challenge to the US and the post-Cold War world order. Certainly, the PRC is nothing like it was in 1950, but the CCP’s dominant leadership, continuing fear of insecurity (Fang 2021), and Xi Jinping’s call for the ‘fighting spirit’ against the United States carry on the party’s doctrine and Mao Zedong’s legacy as one of few Communist survivors, as well as a ‘beneficial participant’ in the Cold War (Xinhuanet 2021).

In the 2020s, Xi Jinping’s Cold War II may include a ‘strategic triangulation’ of China-US-Europe relations, in which Beijing can look for new bargaining room with Washington. In the coming new cold war, China will deter the US from waging a full-scale hot war with its ever-expanding nuclear arsenal, as well as newly developed cyber and space powers. Meanwhile, China has prepared a new battleground, in case of war with the US, in Africa, as America’s next quagmire, even though the Biden administration is being battered by the pandemic, climate catastrophes, and racial tension at home.

Type
Chapter
Information
Sino-American Relations
A New Cold War
, pp. 345 - 358
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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