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TOPIC: chinese balloon


Big Business, No Red Phone: Why U.S. v. China Is A Different Kind Of Cold War

To some, tensions between the U.S. and China look like a remake of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. Yet the West's nemesis this time is more sophisticated and tied to us commercially in ways Moscow never was. There are, however, also new kinds of danger.


PARIS If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... And yet. The relationship between China and the United States looks more and more like the Cold War of the past between the United States and the USSR, but it is something wholly different.

That difference of course begins with economic co-dependency. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached $690 billion in 2022 — a record — with a deficit that increased by $30 billion, to the detriment of the United States. The world, and even more its Asian neighbors, may be afraid of Chinese ambitions, but it is increasingly dependent on China economically — just as the Middle Kingdom depends, for its growth, on its foreign exchanges.

No, we are far from the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The destruction of the Chinese spy balloon may evoke the aerial incidents that preceded the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. And it is legitimate to wonder whether Taiwan will be a new Cuba. But, for the sake of historical rigor and geopolitical understanding – one must point out the significant differences between the “real” Cold War of yesterday and the “strange” Cold War of today.

First, Americans understood the USSR much better than they understand China. George Kennan's 1947 essay "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," published in Foreign Affairs, formulated the basis for the strategy of "containment." Today, in the United States (or elsewhere), there is no comparable analysis of China — no equivalent of this foundational text.

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Balloons? UFOs? The Real Story Is The Perilous State Of U.S.-China Relations

Let's call it the "war of the balloons": Four unidentified flying objects have now been shot down by fighter jets in one week over North America. But the mystery of the details should not hide the bigger picture of how far U.S.-Sino relations have sunk in the past 10 days.


PARIS — The first was the infamous Chinese spy balloon discovered over Montana; the next three, whose nature and nationality remain unknown, were spotted and destroyed — one above Alaska, the second above Canada, the third above Michigan.

Canadian aircraft also participated in the operation as part of NORAD, the joint U.S.-Canadian air defense command for North America.

Hoping to save face or avoid blame, or just not to be outdone, the Chinese government said yesterday that a suspicious balloon had been spotted in the Yellow Sea, and that the military was preparing to shoot it down.

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Americans Can Never Unsee The Chinese Balloon — That's The Real Danger

The Chinese spy balloon spotted over the U.S. and shot down on Saturday has suddenly brought once-distant fears into America's backyard, which could set off a kind of "butterfly effect" of a small incident that leads to a much more dangerous showdown.


PARIS — The Chinese spy balloon shot down over the U.S. this past weekend embodies the "Chinese threat" that many Americans already feared. At the same time, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's decision to cancel a scheduled trip to China is a bad sign for frayed U.S.-Chinese relations.

What should worry us is not the balloon, but what it symbolizes. Shot down on Saturday by an American jet over the Atlantic after it had drifted into U.S. territory, the balloon wasn't a threat in of itself. It's a toy compared to the arsenals held by both countries.

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