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Is Cold War Necessary to Contain China?

In recent years, the specter of a new Cold War between the United States and China has loomed large on the horizon. The rhetoric of confrontation has been increasingly normalized, with some arguing that it's necessary to contain China's rise. However, such a path is not only counterproductive but also potentially catastrophic.


Antagonizing China is acceptable collateral damage in pursuit of American interests. While protecting vital industries and technologies is undoubtedly important, needlessly provoking China serves neither the US nor the global community. The economic toll of such a conflict would be astronomical, with trillions of dollars diverted from productive uses and countless lives lost in the ensuing conflicts.


The United States cannot simply outspend and overpower China, as it did with the Soviet Union. China's economic prowess and technological advancements render such a strategy ineffective and dangerously naive. Instead, the US should advocate for a cooperative approach, akin to the arms control agreements of the Cold War era. By identifying areas of mutual interest, such as climate change and public health, both nations stand to benefit from collaboration rather than confrontation.


In the realm of climate change, it’s important to highlight the potential gains from sharing technologies and research findings. With China leading in areas like battery technology and the United States excelling in fields like geothermal energy, cooperation could accelerate progress towards a sustainable future. Similarly, in public health, collaboration on vaccine development and disease prevention could save countless lives and mitigate future pandemics.


However, transitioning towards a cooperative relationship requires a fundamental shift in approach. Instead of relying on patent monopolies and corporate profits, both sides should advocate for publicly funded research and open collaboration. This model, exemplified by the development of the Moderna vaccine, prioritizes global well-being over individual wealth accumulation. Yet, vested interests stand in the way, with powerful corporations and military contractors seeking to maintain the status quo for their own gain.


By fostering connections between scientists, engineers, and policymakers, liberal values may gradually permeate the authoritarian regime. While not a panacea, this approach offers a more hopeful alternative to the failed promises of trade-induced democratization.


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