The downhill slide in relations between China and the US is a dangerous development. The friction does not just reflect a bullying Communist regime’s opacity concerning the outbreak of Covid-19. Nor is it the result of a chaotic Trump administration trying to distract attention from its own failures in curbing the virus.
Something much deeper and much worse is at stake: a potential clash between what two great powers perceive to be their vital interests. According to one of Australia’s leading strategic thinkers Alan Dupont, the US-China standoff over trade, technology, and strategy “has precipitated a new cold war.”
Alans says, “In an epoch-defining clash for global leadership, the world’s two major powers are wrestling for strategic advantage in an increasingly bitter contest to determine which of them will be the pre-eminent state of the 21st century. No matter how cleverly spun, a trade deal is not going to get the relationship back on track because both countries have moved from a framework of cooperation to one of open rivalry and strategic competition.”
Alan Dupont AO has worked on Australian defence and Asian security issues for more than thirty years as a strategist, diplomat, policy analyst, and scholar. He is Michael Hintze Chair of International Security and the Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia.