In my latest column for UnHerd, I look at how Biden is escalating tensions with China — not only by taking a hard-line approach to Taiwan but also, and perhaps even more importantly, by launching an all-out economic war on the Asian giant, by introducing a vast array of restrictions on the sale of semiconductor chips to Chinese firms, as well as on the equipment needed to make them. Some see this as a prelude to what many in the US establishment consider an inevitable outcome: a US-China military conflict. But there’s nothing inevitable about a US-China war. If China represented a security threat to America’s survival, this might be the case. But it does not. The problem with China, as the recently released US National Security Strategy emphasised, is that it is the only competitor of the US with “the intention and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order in favour of one that tilts the global playing field to its benefit”. In other words, China is not a threat because it undermines US security interests, but because it will want to shape — and indeed is already shaping — the global political and economic order in a manner that serves its own interests, rather than just those of the US and other Western nations, as has been the case since the Second World War. The real threat, then, is not to America but to America’s hegemonic unipolarist ambitions and those who benefit from it. The good news is that, when it comes to the prospect of engaging in a Cold War 2.0 with China, which would jeopardise both global peace and prosperity, the US appears very isolated — even vis-à-vis its closest allies.

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