(CNN) – Members of a new generation of “cold warriors” in the US have just received a powerful validation of their positions.
When Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about China in an interview with The New York TimesIn Paris, he offered one of the most revealing insights into Joe Biden’s government foreign policy. Blinken said France and the United States were “on the same page” regarding the need to defend the free world order as China grows in influence. The alternative, he warned, would be the absence of a world order or a China-led world order that would be “profoundly illiberal in nature.”
Blinken, who launched a tough message from the United States to China During the controversial talks in Alaska in March, he was expanding on President Joe Biden’s recent warnings that democracy is threatened, and not just by anti-liberal tendencies in the West.
The concept of a new “cold war” between the United States and China is gaining acceptance in Washington. However, some criticize that in its original version it was an ideological confrontation between the capitalists of the West and the communists of the Soviet bloc. While the United States and China are now engaged in a more classic duel between a rising power and a declining power, although Blinken certainly seems to see an ideological component.
The expansion of China
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will soon lead the Communist Party of China centennial celebrations, has taken a much more strident stance for the country on the world stage. Beijing is unfolding its power in the Pacific and beyond, and events in Hong Kong show repression underway within its territory.
But whether Beijing is interested in (or capable of) waging a global battle against democracy is another question. Is Xi’s populist nationalism designed primarily to maintain support for an autocratic ruling party, or is it the true expression of a Chinese foreign policy with global ambitions?
In any case, both the policies in Washington and the incipient US political campaigns – from the economy to infrastructure, and from defense enhancement to the social safety net – are increasingly being formulated through the lens of an inevitable confrontation with China. From this perspective, at least, it becomes more difficult to argue that the Cold War analogy misses the mark.