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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.

President Xi Jinping waves at lined up military officers and troops

President Xi Jinping meets with military officers and troops stationed in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 15, 2022

Pierre Haski


PARIS — 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.

Battleground of technology

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."

G7 leaders and Ukraine\u2019s President Volodymyr Zelensky line up infront of their flags.

G7 Hiroshima Summit Session 8, 21st May 2023, discussing the situation in Ukraine with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.


Decoupling v 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 positions itself as a victim.

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.

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Beyond Musk: Is There A Right-Wing Shift Of Tech Spreading Worldwide?

The culture of Silicon Valley was once associated with social liberalism and tolerance. However, the tech community worldwide, from moguls such as Elon Musk or Peter Thiel, to IT professionals in Poland, and self-described OSINT users in India, is showing signs of a noted right-wing shift.

Photo of a person typing on a laptop with lines of code on the screen

Is the rightward direction of tech accelerating?

Katarzyna Skiba*

PARIS — For decades, the tech world acquired a reputation for open-mindedness and politically progressive values. Indeed, the origins of Silicon Valley are intimately linked to the 1960s counter-culture scene just a few miles up the road in San Francisco.

With its central role in today's economy, and arrival in mainstream culture, those would-be hippie days were bound to fade. Yet there has been a notable shift to more conservative — and even far-right — voices from the tech community that first began during the presidency of Donald Trump. Now the rightward direction of tech appears to be accelerating, with the emergence over the past year of Elon Musk as a hero of the populist far-right as only the most visible example.

But it's not just an American thing: a look around the world finds that the growing connections between tech and the far right goes well beyond the U.S., with examples showing up from Poland to India to Argentina.

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