For those who have been following the ongoing chronicles of the United States vs. China that has really been cranking up for the past 3 years are starting to notice an increase in retaliations between the two global powers. Witnessing the continuing elevation of the two countries trading blows back and forth has been a tactical chess match that many believe could lead us to some type of 21st century technological Cold War. I personally believe that as well. I think that with the increased global connectivity and technological advancements that are prospect to be rolled out at great scale in the coming years, the country that is the leader behind these innovations will yield all but some of the greatest powers in regards to our data, privacy, and freedoms in this new world we find ourselves in.
And right now those leaders are quite clearly the United States and China.
So with that I ask: when does a Cold War officially begin? I believe the coronavirus is the catalyst that puts it at the forefront of conversation, but much of these discussions and conversations about United States and China’s relationship have been in action for some time anyways.
We’ve seen these moments in the titled “trade war” that has then been even greater amplified with the COVID-19 outbreak and how we have felt the effects of the pandemic. In the last few months China’s glaring stranglehold on global supply chains has been magnified and there have been numerous initiatives by major world economies to bring manufacturing home from being off-shored in China.
There are also multiple cases of espionage exposed against Chinese operatives in the past year and was brought to even greater attention today when the U.S. ordered a Chinese consulate to abruptly close in Houston in result of an investigation that showed these officers stealing intellectual property from the United States. There is even video of these people burning documents as they try to destroy evidence of their wrongdoings. The loose enforcement of intellectual property laws in China is something that puts US businesses at harm and very much impacts how people look to do business with the Chinese.
Just this week, Sec. Mike Pompeo accused China of using this pandemic to further strengthen their geopolitical position and use the virus to exploit its adversaries. This is all but confirmed in this video against populism that the Chinese state propaganda put out on YouTube (YouTube is freely publishing CCP propaganda but censoring US doctors for their opinions on COVID-19. It really does make you pause and think).
Britain, a strong US ally, has taken action to ban companies like Huawei for production of 5G and has put further trade restrictions along with the US as China devolves what Hong Kong once was just a few months ago.
Social media apps like Tik Tok have also been at the center of privacy concerns in regards to China’s espionage and once India banned the app it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the United States and other countries followed suit. Today, the US unanimously passed a bill in the banning all federal employees from having the spyware on their devices. It will be soon up for a vote on the senate floor. I’m sure other businesses and companies will follow.
This is all happening while China knowingly is running “re-education” (concentration) camps and performing what I would call a modern day genocide on the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Many US, and global, brands are complicit in these atrocities and should be held accountable for their inaction. Chinese ambassador’s can hardly answer to what is going on as a part of the Xinjiang Project and it really puts makes you question the integrity of all those who are so quick to condemn some actions while be silent on others. People want US companies to speak out against these actions and show that they stand for freedom and what is right around the world.
Chairman Xi Jinping is adamant that China will continue their commitment to globalization and trying to use cheap, inhumane labor practices to line the pockets of global corporations and elites. He believes populism, a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people, is evil and should be defeated. He and the CCP are making that abundantly clear.
So, I would say we are already fairly deep into this Cold War. Maybe looking back in 30+ years we will know what an official start date is. But, in the coming years there will be breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, 5G, and even another space race. It will be important that freedom is the driver behind these innovations and capitalism, the system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any system in the history of the world, are at the forefront of these changes. It’s time we realize that we are all on the same team and we need to use the good of America to fight for everyone else. I just hope that this doesn’t escalate to the point where it is an actual hot war. That would be really bad.
Maybe I will do some more thinking into how proxies of this Cold War can play out in the coming time. I don’t necessarily think it will be countries that will have to fight between democracy and communism, like the proxy wars during the Cold War with Russia, but more with big companies, corporations, and technologies having to choose between increased government intervention and their rights to operate independently. It will be interesting, and very high stakes, to see how it plays out.
But freedom will prevail, it always does. It’s up to us to pave that path.