Covid-19 has created a cascade of consequences near and far wherever it has traveled. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, has crossed miles to create a contagious health crisis and cause economic slowdown throughout the globe. In the wake of such an unprecedented crisis on a global scale, the US-China relationship has dipped to nadir and it’s highly unlikely to look up in the future.
AMERICA HITS BACK
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to severe all types of relationships with China. He went further to call the virus ‘CHINESE VIRUS’ and warned to seek compensation from the LAND OF DRAGON for damages caused by the pandemic.
Earlier in March, the USA restricted the visa period of the Chinese journalists staying in the country for professional reasons to 90 days. President Trump extended a ban for one more year, which was imposed on the U.S. companies against using telecom equipment sourced from companies posing a threat to national security”.
China is surely not happy with the recent developments and the country’s state-sponsored and state-controlled media has called Trump’s comments “lunacy”.
STARTING OF ANOTHER COLD WAR?
The growing tensions between the U.S. and China, two of the world superpowers, have forced many to guess if it’s a harbinger of another COLD WAR. In fact, many experts have expressed their concerns over the possibility. Many prominent voices, which are a part of the rising chorus in the country, argue that the post-pandemic conflicts with China will find a place in the country’s foreign policy – much like the COLD WAR situation involving the USSR. President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass is in favor of a more aggressive tactic against Xi Jinping’s country.
CORROSION STARTED BEFORE COVID-19
Relations between the two superpowers started taking a gradual nosedive even before the Covid-19 broke out. National Security Strategy of Trump’s Administration called China a ‘revisionist power’ in 2017, mentioning that the Asian Dragon is looking for ways to drill into American’s national security and economic prosperity.
In September 2019, China’s foreign minister on his response to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford’s remark that the US government was preparing a strategy to deal with the potential security challenges from Beijing, said, “We request the relevant officials in the USA to give up their Cold-War attitude and Zero-Sum game approach”.
So, the ground was already prepared and waiting for a matchstick to explode. Though the world is still far away from witnessing the volcanic eruption of tension and confrontation, the situation is taking a worse turn and might go out of control if other catalysts join the chorus and aggravate the crisis. America was already passing through the tough phase, with unemployment hitting a new low, and Covid-19 has acerbated the situation manifold. The health crisis has forced the countries, sagging under maritime, trade, and technology disputes, to adopt a more hostile approach towards each other.
Competition decides and dictates the relationship, with mature handling; flexibility and restraints nowhere to be seen on both sides. Uncertainty lingers on every front from trade problems to maritime issues in the East and South China Seas and technological spectrum. And now, waning bilateral relationship has dipped into morass due to regular mud-slinging in the wake of the pandemic and its rippling consequences on the economy.
THE NOVIKOV TELEGRAM
China’s Ministry of State Security informed Beijing’s top leaders in early April, raising concerns that rising hostility following the Covid-19 outbreak could lead the bilateral relationship to confrontation, a Reuters report claimed. The report also quoted an officer saying some stalwarts in Beijing’s intelligence community circle consider the report as a Chinese Version of the ‘Novikov Telegram’, reminding the military veterans and historians about the report that Nikolai Novikov, the then Soviet Ambassador in the USA, sent to Moscow in September 1946, making an incisive analysis of the U.S. Conduct.
According to political analysts, there is no sign that the tension will evaporate any soon. In fact, some of them think the crisis will linger and even deepen until there is a remission of election temperature. The temperature might drop in the post-election era but a growing apathy towards China has pervaded the political spectrum and taken deep root in the public mind as well.
In an authoritarian country like China, nationalism is always on overdrive and the country’s round-the-clock monitoring and firm control over mass and media leave no room for dissenting voices. In such a scenario, China and its people see Trump as their chief antagonist. Clearly, the situation is definitely not GOOD.
Can we presume that the situation is heading towards a US-China COLD WAR? Time is still not ripe to predict it. However, the situation is reminding many about the rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union. Another striking similarity is the antagonism is traveling from the elite political circle to infect popular perceptions.
Fortunately, there are some key differences. Proxy conflicts, which the world witnessed during the COLD WAR, are nowhere in the picture. Furthermore, the global stage is no longer bipolar and there are many parties such as Russia, India, Japan, EU etc who can independently make a decision whether or not to take sides. It creates a unique kind of chaos but we just hope the DIFFERENCE is strong enough to bury the hatchet at least FOR NOW even though not FOREVER.
Hello, I am a friendly homo sapiens with necessary compliments to see, feel sense and taste that comes my way and even sometimes, from a distance. I have interest in many things but all of them US politics is a must-have dish for my breakfast, launch, and dinner. I am passionate but not obsessed with US politics. I visit new ideas, revisit and refresh mine if and whenever necessary to see and assess the US politics without any ideological spectacles on but only with my commitment to truth and honesty.