In a recently published column, renowned historian Niall Ferguson set out the reasons why, according to him, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has already declared a Cold War on the United States.
To justify that claim, Ferguson went back to early 2018, when the trade war between Beijing and Washington began. Thus, through an escalation of declarations and crossed policies, that year ended with a technological war marked by serious denunciations of the Chinese company Huawei and its plans to install its controversial 5G network in the West.
Moreover, the opposing ideological visions between the President Trump administration and the CCP found their high point in confrontations linked to sensitive issues such as the persecution by the CCP of believers and religious people in mainland China, the repression of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, and the escalation of old frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.
In his July 5 analysis on Bloomberg, Ferguson notes that this foreign policy of President Donald Trump contrasts with that of his predecessors. Indeed, Ferguson said that since Kissinger’s approach to Beijing in 1971, and for 45 years, policy toward the CCP was based on “compromise” between the White House and Zhongnanhai.
“How did relations between Beijing and Washington sour so quickly?” Ferguson asks rhetorically.
“The conventional answer to that question is that President Donald Trump has swung like a wrecking ball into “liberal international order,” he explains. Indeed, among other measures in favor of the sovereignty of countries and against so-called globalism, President Trump withdrew the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) because of its collusion with the CCP.
The author maintains that Trump’s “America First” slogan represents the demands of the “Deep America,” whose workers saw the fruit of their efforts go to China while they had to pay the costs through the agreements signed by their own representatives.
“Those same Americans saw that their elected leaders in Washington had acted as midwives at the birth of a new strategic superpower—a challenger for global predominance even more formidable, because economically stronger, than the Soviet Union,” Ferguson reasoned.
In fact, advocates of this policy of compromise, such as Kissinger or Orville Schell themselves, admit that this approach, implemented during eight administrations, both Democratic and Republican, has failed.
Today, positions that propose a harder look at the CCP, replacing commitment with competition, are gaining more and more space, both among specialists and politicians and in the popular field.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger and Trade Adviser Peter Navarro are some of the senior officials in the Trump administration who are advocating greater sanctions on Beijing.
The CCP Virus and the escalation of the dispute
“The Covid-19 [CCP Virus] pandemic has done more than intensify Cold War II,” said Ferguson, blaming the CCP for its responsibility in spreading the pandemic.
“The Chinese Communist Party caused this disaster—first by covering up how dangerous the new virus SARS-CoV-2 was, then by delaying the measures that might have prevented its worldwide spread,” he explained.
“Yet now China[the CCP] wants to claim the credit for saving the world from the crisis it caused. Liberally exporting cheap and not wholly reliable ventilators, testing kits, and face masks, the Chinese government [CCP] has sought to snatch victory from the jaws of a defeat it inflicted,” Ferguson noted.
Ferguson explained how the lies and manipulation of the CCP were exposed during the pandemic, for example when one of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen supported the theory that the U.S. deliberately brought the so-called CCP virus into China.
“Just as implausible are Chinese claims that the U.S. is somehow behind the recurrent waves of pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong,” he said.
However, in a real ‘boomerang effect’ toward the CCP, these extreme positions in Beijing, according to Ferguson, only strengthened the ‘anti-communist’ sentiment of the West.
“China is one of few subjects these days about which there is a genuine bipartisan consensus,” he said.
“This new Cold War is both inevitable and desirable,” he concluded, “not least because it has jolted the U.S. out of complacency.”