How the U.S.-China Cold War will be different — and why little can stop it
The just completed G7 in Hiroshima has locked both sides in the simmering Cold War in Asia into what appears an inevitable confrontation that recalls the U.S.-Soviet showdown. But there are key caveats that make both the limits and risks harder to anticipate.
In the lengthy final statement of the Hiroshima G7 summit, it is not until point 51 that China finally comes up. However, along with Ukraine, the Asian superpower was undoubtedly the top priority for both the United States and host country, Japan.
Even though they were buried within an all-purpose text, references to China have triggered a strong reaction in Beijing. "Systematic denigration," "Interference in China's internal affairs," "Regional destabilization..." The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not mince words following the G7 summit.
From Beijing's perspective, the Hiroshima summit reinforced the Cold War emerging in northeast Asia — one that is vastly different from the one that occurred between the United States and the USSR in the last century.
The statement, however, takes care to proclaim, "Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development."
But everything that the Americans have decided, first under Donald Trump and now even more decisively under Joe Biden, effectively aims to slow down China's emergence as a rival to the United States.
Washington and its allies are carrying out what was known during last century's Cold War as "containment," a keyword of that era that refers to the establishment of a containment belt around the targeted country and building coalitions of allies.
This is currently happening in the field of advanced technology, the true battleground of the 21st century. By denying China access to the most advanced semiconductors and the machines necessary for their production, Washington has dealt a severe blow to the Chinese economy.
The major difference from the first Cold War is undoubtedly the level of trade and investment between the United States and its respective rivals. With the USSR, it was minimal at best. Last year, trade between the U.S. and China reached a record high of around $690 billion, hence the nuance now required between "decoupling" and "de-risking."
"Decoupling" would imply a complete halt, which is simply impossible on such a scale. “De-risking" means selectively severing ties only in sensitive sectors, avoiding dependence on China, similar to how some countries have done with Russian gas, for instance.
China does not accept either de-risking or decoupling and positions itself as a victim. However, there are solid reasons behind American actions, including commercial practices, the threat to Taiwan, the militarization of maritime routes in the South China Sea, and human rights issues within China itself.
The G7 has left the door open for cooperation with China on global issues such as climate change, which is what European nations were advocating for. The United States itself seeks to re-engage in dialogue with Beijing to find a way to disagree without risking a conflict.
But it is hard to increase pressure while extending a hand. If dialogue does not resume between Beijing and Washington in the coming weeks, the prospect of a long-lasting Cold War in Asia will become a reality.
— Pierre Haski / France Inter
• Ukraine update: Analysis of satellite images by BBC reveal the extent of Russian defenses ahead of an expected large-scale counteroffensive by Ukraine. Meanwhile Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky countered Russian claims of a complete takeover of the long contested city of Bakhmut. Senior Russian diplomats also warn of “colossal risks” if NATO supplies F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
• Greece’s conservative party wins, but short of majority: The incumbent New Democracy party scored a 20-point victory over left-wing Syriza in national elections, but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis looks to a new poll to assure his complete majority.
• U.S. signs defense contract in the Pacific Islands: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has signed a defense agreement with Papua New Guinea, and is set to meet with other leaders in the Pacific islands. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also pledged his support for the Pacific Islands, amidst rising tensions surrounding China and Taiwan.
• China bans major U.S. memory chipmaker: Beijing has barred U.S. company Micron Technology, Inc. from selling memory chips to certain Chinese industries amid heightened trade tensions. China's cyberspace regulator said that Micron had failed a security review and thus would block operators from purchasing their products.
• Guyana school fire kills 20: At least 20 secondary school students died in a dormitory fire in the central Guyanese mining town of Mahdia on Monday. Emergency services are struggling to fight the fire in bad weather.
• Saudi astronauts, including first Arab woman, heading to space: A private rocket has launched on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a former NASA astronaut and three paying customers: two Saudi astronauts and a Tennessee businessman. Breast cancer researcher Rayyanah Barnawi becomes the first Arab woman astronaut in space, sponsored by the Saudi government.• Minnesota man charged for ruby slipper theft:
Almost 20 years after they were stolen, a man has been indicted for stealing Judy Garland’s iconic ruby slippers
from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz
. Terry Jon Martin stole the $100,000 slippers from a museum in Minnesota in 2005. They were recovered in 2018 by the FBI.
Athens-based Kathimerinireports on the results of Greece's general elections on Sunday: “Mitsotakis’s triumph, Tsipras’s crash.” The country’s conservative prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis won big, with his incumbent center-right New Democracy party getting more than 40% of the vote — just short of obtaining an outright majority. Although Mitsotakis is expected to set another election for a decisive result, the results already come as a blow for opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, of center-left Syriza party, with the former prime minister (2015-2019) only garnering 20% of the vote.
2 hours, 37 minutes and 15 seconds
Spanish athlete Maria Perez broke the world record for women's 35-km race after crossing the finish line in two hours, 37 minutes and 15 seconds in Podebrady, Czech Republic, more than eight minutes ahead of her rival, Raquel Gonzales. She beat the record set by the Peruvian Kimberly Garcia in March by an impressive 29 seconds.
A new Calabrian mob alliance sparks shocking violence — and more women victims
United to colonize the region’s north, two allied mob families from Calabria's 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate have resumed methods to establish themselves that have been abandoned for years. The result is as bloody as the Italian mob has been in memory, reports Giuseppe Legato in Italian daily La Stampa.
🤝 The ‘ndrina Abruzzese and the ‘ndrina Forastefano, two opposing cosche mob families, who had been at war with each other in the early 2000s, have now allied to take over what remains of northern Calabria up to the border with the Basilicata region. Cruel, cynical, archaic, harsh: this new hybrid Calabrian mob is back to shooting people in the streets, and it doesn’t spare women. In one year, two have died, bringing the number of victims in the past 24 months to 15.
💥 Those who kill almost always shoot with Kalashnikov assault rifles, and they don’t skimp on bullets: 18 from a Russian-made AK-47 rifle and 14 from a 9mm gun hit Antonella Lopardo, 49, in the beginning of May. Her hands, abdomen and face were riddled. The killers were after her husband Salvatore Maritato, who was the real (missed) target of the execution.
♀️ It is not common for women to be killed during mafia clan wars. The last time this happened in Calabria was nine years ago, when Ibisse Taoussa was murdered and burned along with convicted criminal Giuseppe Iannicelli and his grandson “Cocò” Campolongo, who was three years old. For this reason, investigators probing the case fear an escalation. On this stretch of the Calabrian coast, few things go unpunished, especially with murders like these.➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“We don't want to be on the outskirts of Europe anymore.”
— Moldovan President Maia Sandu addressed the crowd during a large-scale rally in the country’s capital Chisinau which gathered an estimated 75,000 people in support of the country joining the European Union by 2030. The demonstration comes amid tension between Moldova and Russia, whom Sandu has accused of meddling in the country's affairs.
📸 PHOTO DU JOUR
Members of the Ultima Generazione anti-fossil-fuel activist group poured diluted charcoal into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. The activists expressed their opposition to governmental financial support given to fossil fuels. — Photo: Giulia Marrazzo/ZUMA
✍️ Newsletter by Sophie Jacquier, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Marine Béguin, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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