Webinar: Urgent Medical Crisis in Gaza

On Tuesday 21 November 2023 No Cold War, Viva Salud and the People’s Health Movement invite you to an important international webinar on the ‘Urgent Medical Crisis in Gaza.’

15:00 Brussels | 17:00 Jordan | 09:00 EST

Join us on zoom by clicking here.
Webinar ID: 810 6280 1821


  • Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Member of the Palestinian National Council Palestine
  • Dr. Aed Yaghi, Director of Palestinian Medical Relief Society in Gaza
  • Dr. Hanne Bosselaers, Medicine for the People (MPLP), Belgium,
  • Dr. Mads Gilbert, worked at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, Norway
  • Dr. Rupa Marya, Do No Harm Coalition, USA
  • Moderated by Wim De Ceukelaire, People’s Health Movement

“We are witnessing the destruction of life and property on a horrific scale,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said in reference to the current Israeli aggression on Palestine. In Gaza, the health sector is on the front lines of the war. At least 200 doctors, nurses, and paramedics have been killed. Some 25 hospitals and 250 medical facilities are out of operation. More than 2,000 patients with cancer; 1,000 with kidney disease; 50,000 with cardiovascular disease and 60,000 with diabetes are at risk amid treatment interruption. Up to 200 women are giving birth every day in the worst imaginable conditions.

Health conditions are deteriorating fast. Numbers of respiratory and skin infections, as well as malnutrition are on the rise. Cases of diarrhea are rampant as the sewage system breaks down. Even on the West Bank, health conditions are deteriorating and health facilities are targeted by the Israeli occupation forces.

This webinar will pay tribute to the Palestinian doctors and health professionals who are still providing service to their communities in spite of these dire conditions. It will also discuss the challenges they face on the terrain and provide examples of the solidarity among their colleagues and friends abroad. Finally, it will put forward some conditions and demands necessary to bring health, safety and humanity back to patients and health workers alike, with an unconditional ‘ceasefire now’ as a starter.


Briefing: The US and NATO Militarise Northeast Asia

The New Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

On 22 October, the United States, Japan, and South Korea held their first-ever joint aerial drill. The military exercise took place after US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol gathered at Camp David in August ‘to inaugurate a new era of trilateral partnership’. Although North Korea has frequently been invoked as a regional bogeyman to justify militarisation, the formation of a trilateral alliance between the US, Japan, and South Korea is a key element of Washington’s efforts to contain China. The militarisation of Northeast Asia threatens to divide the region into antagonistic blocs, undermining decades of mutually beneficial economic cooperation, and raises the likelihood of a conflict breaking out, in particular over Taiwan, entangling neighbouring countries through a web of alliances.

The Remilitarisation of Japan

In recent years, encouraged by the United States, Japan has undergone its most extensive militarisation since the end of the Second World War. After Japan’s defeat, a new postwar constitution was drafted by US occupation officials and came into effect in 1947. Under this ‘peace constitution’, Japan pledged to ‘forever renounce war […] and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes’. However, with the Chinese Revolution in 1949 and the breakout of the Korean War in 1950, the US quickly reversed its course in Japan. According to US State Department historians, ‘the idea of a re-armed and militant Japan no longer alarmed US officials; instead, the real threat appeared to be the creep of communism, particularly in Asia’. The cause of amending and circumventing Japan’s ‘peace constitution’ was taken up by the right-wing nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which received millions of dollars in support from the US Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War and has ruled the country almost without interruption (except for 1993–1994 and 2009–2012) since 1955.

Over the past decade, the LDP has transformed Japan’s defence policy. In 2014, unable to amend the constitution, the LDP government led by Shinzo Abe ‘re-interpreted’ it to allow for ‘proactive pacifism’ and lifted a ban on Japanese troops engaging in combat overseas, enabling the country to participate in military interventions to aid allies such as the US. In 2022, the Kishida administration labeled China ‘the greatest strategic challenge ever to securing the peace and stability of Japan’ and announced plans to double military spending to 2% of gross domestic product (on par with NATO countries) by 2027, overturning Japan’s postwar cap that limited military spending to 1% of GDP. The administration also ended a policy dating back to 1956 that limited Japan’s missile capability to defend against incoming missiles and adopted a policy that allows for counter-strike abilities. This move has paved the way for Japan to purchase 400 US Tomahawk missiles beginning in 2025, with the ability to strike Chinese and Russian naval bases located on the countries’ eastern coasts.

Absolving Japanese Colonialism

Historically, Washington’s efforts to create multilateral alliances in the Asia-Pacific have failed due to the legacy of Japanese colonialism. During the Cold War, the US resorted to a network of bilateral alliances with countries in the region known as the San Francisco System. The initial step in creating this system was the San Francisco Peace Treaty (1951), which established peaceful relations between the Allied Powers and Japan. To expedite the integration of Japan as an ally, the US excluded the victims of Japanese colonialism (including China, the Kuomintang-led administration in Taiwan, and both Koreas) from the San Francisco peace conference and excused Tokyo from taking responsibility for its colonial and war crimes (including massacres, sexual slavery, human experimentation, and forced labour).

The new trilateral alliance between the US, Japan, and South Korea has been able to overcome previous impediments because South Korea’s Yoon administration has waived away Japan’s responsibility for the crimes committed during its colonial rule over Korea (1910–1945). More specifically, the Yoon administration abandoned a 2018 South Korean Supreme Court ruling holding Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi responsible for the forced labour of Koreans. Rather than finally being held accountable, Japan has once again been let off the hook.

Towards an Asian NATO?

In 2022, NATO named China a security challenge for the first time. That year’s summit was also the first attended by leaders from the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand (these four countries participated again in 2023). Meanwhile, in May, it was reported that NATO was planning to open a ‘liaison office’ in Japan, though the proposal appears to have been shelved – for now.

The US-Japan-South Korea trilateral alliance is a major step towards achieving NATO-level capabilities in Asia, namely interoperability with respect to armed forces, infrastructure, and information. The agreement reached at the Camp David meeting in August commits each country to annual meetings and military exercises. These war exercises allow the three militaries to practice sharing data and coordinating their activities in real time. In addition, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Japan and South Korea – much sought after by the US – expands military intelligence sharing between the two countries to not only be ‘limited to the DPRK’s missiles and nuclear programs but also includ[e] the threats from China and Russia’. This allows the US, Japan, and South Korea to develop a common operational picture, the foundation of interoperability in the Northeast Asian military theatre.

Waging Peace

Earlier this year, in reference to the Asia-Pacific, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns declared that his country is ‘the leader in this region’. While China has proposed a concept of ‘indivisible security’, meaning the security of one country is dependent on the security of all, the US is taking a hostile approach that seeks to form exclusive blocs. Washington’s hegemonic attitude towards Asia is stoking tensions and pushing the region towards conflict and war – particularly over Taiwan, which Beijing has called a ‘red line’ issue. Defusing the situation in Northeast Asia will require moving away from a strategy that is centred on maintaining US dominance. Those positioned to lead this movement are the people who are already struggling on the frontlines, from Gangjeong villagers who have opposed a naval base for US warships since 2007 and Okinawans fighting to no longer be the US’s unsinkable aircraft carrier to the people of Taiwan who may ultimately have the most to lose from war in the region.


Statement: Israel’s murderous war on Gaza – fully sustained by the West

For over two weeks the Israeli military has been pummelling the Palestinians in Gaza, killing over six thousand people including more than 2,000 children. Israel’s bombing has been indiscriminate. Homes, hospitals, schools and vital infrastructure have been destroyed. Whole neighbourhoods have been flattened and entire families wiped out.    

The 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza are suffering a terrible humanitarian catastrophe as a result of what Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has described as “a complete siege on Gaza…” in which “no electricity, no food, no water, no gas” is allowed to enter. 

Israel’s siege on Gaza has been widely condemned across the world, including by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people in contravention with international humanitarian law. A tiny number of trucks have been allowed into Gaza in recent days which the World Health Organisation has described as “a drop in the ocean of need right now.”

Many millions of people around the world have marched to end this slaughter by Israel – in a clear indication that world public opinion is in solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Indeed, Israel’s international isolation has been further confirmed this week as it demanded that Guterres resign his position as UN Secretary General for stating the indisputable fact that “the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” Guterres said in a speech at the UN that “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

Nonetheless, the Western countries continue to arm Israel and to veto resolutions in the United Nations (UN) to end the bombing.

On 16 October the United States, France, United Kingdom and Japan voted against a resolution at the UN Security Council calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Then on 18 October the United States was the only country to veto another resolution, introduced by Brazil, calling for a “humanitarian pause.” 

The US has been arming Israel to the teeth for decades. In 2022 the US provided Israel with $3.3 billion in aid, 99.7% of which went to the Israeli military. 

The Biden administration has proposed a $105 billion national security package which threatens to increase conflict on three fronts globally: continuing the conflict in Ukraine, boosting military assistance to Israel and increasing the US’s military involvement in Taiwan. 

In the case of Israel $14.3 billion in military assistance is being proposed to strengthen Israel’s military capacity. 

Since 7 October, the US has deployed the U.S.S Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it joins another aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Gerald Ford, in a show of support for Israel. The United States has also moved an aircraft carrier and attack ships to the Persian Gulf and has deployed advanced missile defence systems to the region. The UK has followed Washington’s lead, sending Royal Navy ships to the eastern Mediterranean. 

Without this diplomatic, political and military support from the United States, European Union member States and institutions and other Western countries Israel would not be in a position to wage its murderous war on Gaza and to sustain its occupation and colonization of Palestine. 

End this slaughter. End the Israeli occupation of Palestine. No more arms exports and transfers to Israel. No more arms purchases from Israel.

In Israel’s war on Gaza, there is only one side to choose for those who want peace and justice to prevail: opposing unilateral militarism, colonial oppression and repression, and following a multilateral approach, human rights and international law.


Briefing: The BRICS at a Historic Crossroads

The New Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

The upcoming fifteenth BRICS Summit (22–24 August) in Johannesburg, South Africa, has the potential to make history. The heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will gather for their first face-to-face meeting since the 2019 summit in Brasilia, Brazil. The meeting will take place eighteen months since the beginning of military conflict in Ukraine, which has not only raised tensions between the US-led Western powers and Russia to a level unseen since the Cold War but also sharpened differences between the Global North and South.

There are growing cracks in the unipolar international order imposed by Washington and Brussels on the rest of the world through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the international financial system, the control of information flows (in both traditional and social media networks), and the indiscriminate use of unilateral sanctions against an increasing number of countries. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently put it, ‘the post-Cold War period is over. A transition is under way to a new global order’.

In this global context, three of the most important debates to monitor at the Johannesburg summit are: (1) the possible expansion of BRICS membership, (2) the expansion of the membership of its New Development Bank (NDB), and (3) the NDB’s role in creating alternatives to the use of the US dollar. According to Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to BRICS, twenty-two countries have formally applied to join the group (including Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Algeria, Mexico, and Indonesia) and a further two dozen have expressed interest. Even with numerous challenges to overcome, the BRICS are now seen as a major driving force of the world economy and of economic developments across the Global South in particular.

The BRICS Today

In the middle of the last decade, the BRICS experienced a number of problems. With the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India (2014) and the coup against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil (2016), two of the group’s member countries became headed by right-wing governments more favourable to Washington Both India and Brazil retreated in their participation in the group. The de facto absence of Brazil, which from the outset had been one of the key driving forces behind the BRICS, represented a significant loss for the consolidation of the group. These developments undermined and hampered the progress of the NDB and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), established in 2015 – which represented the greatest institutional achievement of the BRICS to date. Although the NDB has made some progress it has fallen short of its original objectives. To date, the bank has approved some $32.8 billion in financing (in fact, less than that has been issued), while the CRA – which has $100 billion in funds to assist countries that have a shortage of US dollars in their international reserves and are facing short-term balance of payments or liquidity pressures – has never been activated.

However, developments in recent years have reinvigorated the BRICS project. The decisions of Moscow and Beijing to respond to escalations of aggression in the New Cold War by Washington and Brussels; the return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the presidency of Brazil in 2022 and the consequent appointment of Dilma Rousseff to the presidency of the NDB; and the relative estrangement, to varying degrees, of India and South Africa from the Western powers have resulted in a ‘perfect storm’ that seems to have rebuilt a sense of political unity in the BRICS (despite unresolved tensions between India and China). Added to this is the growing weight of the BRICS in the global economy and strengthened economic interaction between its members. In 2020, the global share of the BRICS’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity terms – 31.5 percent – overtook that of the Group of Seven (G7) – 30.7 percent – and this gap is expected to grow. Bilateral trade among BRICS countries has also grown robustly: Brazil and China are breaking records every year, reaching $150 billion in 2022; Russian exports to India tripled from April to December 2022, year-on-year, expanding to $32.8 billion; while trade between China and Russia jumped from $147 billion in 2021 to $190 billion in 2022, an increase of nearly 30 percent.

What’s at Stake in Johannesburg?

Faced with this dynamic international situation and growing requests for expansion, the BRICS face a number of important questions:

In addition to providing concrete responses to interested applicants, expansion has the potential to increase the political and economic weight of the BRICS and, eventually, strengthen other regional platforms that its members belong to. But expansion also requires having to decide on the specific form that membership should take and may increase the complexity of consensus building, with a risk of slowing the progress of decision making and initiatives. How should these matters be dealt with?

How can the NDB’s financing capacity be increased, as well as its coordination with other development banks of the Global South and other multilateral banks? And, above all, how can the NDB, in partnership with the BRICS’ network of think tanks, promote the formulation of a new development policy for the Global South?

Since the BRICS member countries have solid international reserves (with South Africa having a little less), it’s unlikely that they will need to use the CRA, instead, this fund could provide countries in need with an alternative to the political blackmail of the International Monetary Fund, which requires developing countries to enact devastating austerity measures in exchange for loans.

BRICS is reported to be discussing the creation of a reserve currency that would enable trade and investment without the use of the US dollar. If this were established it could be one more step in efforts to create alternatives to the dollar, but questions remain. How could the stability of such a reserve currency be ensured? How could it be articulated with newly created trade mechanisms which do not use the dollar, such as bilateral China-Russia, China-Brazil, Russia-India, and other arrangements? 

How can cooperation and technology transfer support the re-industrialisation of countries like Brazil and South Africa, especially in strategic sectors such as biotech, information technology, artificial intelligence, and renewable energies, while also fighting poverty and inequality, and achieving other basic demands of the peoples of the South?

Leaders representing 71 countries of the Global South have been invited to attend the meeting in Johannesburg. Xi, Putin, Lula, Modi, Ramaphosa, and Dilma have a lot of work to do, to answer these questions and make progress on the urgent matters in global development.


Briefing: Europe Needs an Independent Foreign Policy

The New Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

The war in Ukraine has been accompanied by a strengthening of the US’s grip and influence on Europe. An important supply of Russian gas was replaced by US shale gas. European Union (EU) programmes originally designed to fortify Europe’s industrial base now serve the acquisition of US-made weapons. Under US pressure, many European countries have contributed to escalating war in Ukraine instead of pushing for a political solution to bring about peace.

At the same time, the US wants Europe to decouple from China, which would further reduce Europe’s global role and run counter to its own interests. Instead of following the US’s confrontational and damaging New Cold War agenda, it is in the interests of Europe’s people for their countries to establish an independent foreign policy that embraces global cooperation and a diverse set of international relations.

Europe’s Growing Dependence on the US

The Ukraine war, and the ensuing spiral of sanctions and counter sanctions, led to a rapid decoupling of EU-Russia trade relations. Losing a trade partner has limited the EU’s options and increased dependence on the US, a reality that is most visible in the EU’s energy policy. As a result of the war in Ukraine, Europe reduced its dependence on Russian gas, only to increase its dependence on more expensive US liquefied natural gas (LNG). The US took advantage of this energy crisis, selling its LNG to Europe at prices well above production cost. In 2022, the US accounted for more than half of the LNG imported into Europe. This gives the US additional power to pressure EU leaders: if US shipments of LNG were diverted elsewhere, Europe would immediately face great economic and social difficulty.

Washington has started pushing European companies to relocate to the US, using lower energy prices as an argument. As German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said, the US is ‘hoovering up investments from Europe’ – i.e., it is actively promoting the region’s deindustrialisation.

The US Inflation Reduction Act (2022) and the CHIPS and Science Act (2022) directly serve this purpose, offering $370 billion and $52 billion in subsidies, respectively, to attract clean energy and semiconductor industries to the US. The impact of these measures is already being felt in Europe: Tesla is reportedly discussing relocating its battery construction project from Germany to the US, and Volkswagen paused a planned battery plant in Eastern Europe, instead moving forward with its first North American electric battery plant in Canada, where it is eligible to receive US subsides.

EU dependence on the US also applies in other areas. A 2013 report by the French Senate asked unambiguously: ‘Is the European Union a colony of the digital world?’. The 2018 US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act and the 1978 US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allow US companies extensive access to EU telecommunications including data and phone calls, giving them access to state secrets. The EU is being spied on continuously.

Rising Militarisation Is Against the Interests of Europe

EU discussions on strategic vulnerabilities focus mostly on China and Russia while the influence of the US is all but ignored. The US operates a massive network of over 200 US military bases and 60,000 troops in Europe, and, through NATO, it imposes ‘complementarity’ on European defence actions, meaning that European members of the alliance can act together with the US but not independently of it. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously summarised this as ‘the three Ds’: no ‘de-linking’ European decision-making from NATO, no ‘duplicating’ NATO’s efforts, no ‘discriminating’ against NATO’s non-EU members. Furthermore, in order to guarantee dependence, the US refrains from sharing the most important military technologies with European countries, including much of the data and software connected to the F-35 fighter jets they purchased.

For many years, the US has been calling for European governments to increase their military spending. In 2022, military spending in Western and Central Europe surged to €316 billion, returning to levels not seen since the end of the first Cold War. In addition, European states and EU institutions sent over €25 billion in military aid to Ukraine. Prior to the war, Germany, Britain, and France were already amongst the top ten highest military spenders in the world. Now, Germany has approved €100 billion for a special military upgrading fund and committed to spend 2% of its GDP on defence. Meanwhile, Britain announced its ambition to increase its military spending from 2.2% to 2.5% of its GDP and France announced that it will increase its military spending to around €60 billion by 2030 – approximately double its 2017 allocation.

This surge in military spending is taking place while Europe experiences its worst cost of living crisis in decades and the climate crisis deepens. Across Europe, millions of people have taken to the streets in protest. The hundreds of billions of euros being spent on the military should instead be redirected to tackling these urgent problems.

Decoupling from China Would Be Disastrous

The EU would suffer from a US-China conflict. A significant part of EU exports to the US contains Chinese inputs, and conversely, EU goods exports to China often contain US inputs. Tighter export controls imposed by the US on exports to China or vice versa will therefore hit EU companies, but the impact will go much further.

The US has increased pressure on a variety of EU countries, companies, and institutions to scale down or stop cooperation with Chinese projects, in particular lobbying for Europe to join its tech war against China. This pressure has borne fruit, with ten EU states having restricted or banned the Chinese technology company Huawei from their 5G networks as Germany considers a similar measure. Meanwhile, the Netherlands has blocked exports of chip-making machinery to China by the key Dutch semiconductor company ASML.

In 2020, China overtook the US’s position as the EU’s main trading partner, and in 2022, China was the EU’s largest source for imported goods and its third largest market for exported goods. The US push for European companies to restrict or end relations with China would mean limiting Europe’s trade options, and incidentally increasing its dependence on Washington. This would be detrimental not just to the EU’s autonomy, but also to regional social and economic conditions.

Europe Should Embrace Global Cooperation, Not Confrontation

Since the end of the Second World War, no single foreign power has wielded more power over European policy than the US. If Europe allows itself to be locked into a US-led bloc, not only will this reinforce its technological dependence on the US, but the region could become de-industrialised. Moreover, this will put Europe at odds not only with China, but also with other major developing countries, including India, Brazil, and South Africa, that refuse to align themselves with one country or another.

Rather than follow the US into conflicts around the world, an independent Europe must redirect its security strategy towards territorial defence, collective security for the continent, and building constructive international links by decisively breaking away from paternalistic and exploitative trade relations with developing countries. Instead, fair, respectful, and equal relationships with the Global South can offer Europe the necessary and valuable diversification of political and economic partners that it urgently needs.

An independent and interconnected Europe is in the interests of the European people. This would allow vast resources to be diverted away from military spending and towards addressing the climate and cost of living crises, such as by building a green industrial base. The European people have every reason to support the development of an independent foreign policy that rejects US dominance and militarisation in favour of embracing international cooperation and a more democratic world order.


Statement: At G7 Summit, Hiroshima Once Again Used for Cold War Agenda

The 49th Group of Seven (G7) summit took place this past weekend in Hiroshima, Japan, from 19-21 May. Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States gathered to discuss and coordinate their global strategies, with China and Russia at the top of the agenda. 

The summit took place at the very site where, on 6 August 1945, the US dropped a nuclear bomb, killing approximately 70,000 people instantly (the death toll rose to roughly 140,000 by the end of the year). That horrific act of violence – intended to send a warning to the Soviet Union – ushered in the Cold War; it is a disturbing historical parallel that, 78 years later, the US and its allies returned to Hiroshima to ramp up a New Cold War against China and Russia.

At the summit, the G7 leaders prepared a ‘unified response’ against what they term China’s ‘economic coercion’, unveiling a new ‘Coordination Platform’ to this end. This initiative is the latest step in a years-long diplomatic campaign by the Biden administration to pressure its allies to support its tech war against China, in which the US has enacted numerous trade and investment restrictions seeking to ‘kneecap’ China’s advanced technological industries. This year, both ​​US Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic Party chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss have called for the formation of an ‘economic NATO’ and coordinated sanctions against China. 

For the United States to talk of ‘economic coercion’ when it has, by far, the most extensive track record of imposing unilateral economic sanctions and coercive measures against other countries – including the six decades-long blockade against Cuba – is a most astonishing display of hypocrisy. 

Meanwhile, the G7 leaders declared that they would tighten sanctions against Russia and continue to ‘support Ukraine for as long as it takes’. With Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in attendance, US President Joe Biden pledged an additional $375 million in additional military aid to the country – on top of the $37 billion that the US has already provided since the start of the war –  and also gave permission to G7 members to send their stocks of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

It is disappointing that the G7 leaders did not use this opportunity to put forward any serious proposals to resolve the war in Ukraine and establish a lasting peace, but rather doubled down on their commitment to prolong the conflict. While the G7 attempted to court the Global South by inviting leaders from countries such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia, the perspective of developing countries on the conflict was not taken seriously at the summit. In fact, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, an outspoken advocate for dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the war, was snubbed by Zelenskyy despite making repeated efforts to meet.

Instead, the United States and its allies appear intent on provoking another major power conflict – with China. As part of its broader efforts to militarise the Asia-Pacific, in the lead-up to the G7 summit, it was widely reported that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is planning to open a ‘liaison office’ in Japan, the first of its kind in the region. 

The G7 leaders should use their experience in Hiroshima to reflect on the immense human cost of the first Cold War and abandon their efforts to revive such conflicts today. The world needs solutions to address the urgent crises of climate change, poverty, hunger, and development, not divisive political agendas that push humanity down the path of war and destruction.


Briefing: The US Tech War Against China

The New Cold War is rapidly heating up, with severe consequences for people around the world. Our series, Briefings, provides the key facts on these matters of global concern.

English | Español | Português

On 8 April, Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul was asked to explain ‘why Americans… should be willing to spill American blood and treasure to defend Taiwan’. His answer was telling: ‘TSMC [Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company] manufactures 90% of the global supply of advanced semiconductor chips’. The interviewer noted that McCaul’s reasoning ‘sounds like the case that [was] made in the 60s, 70s, and 80s of why America was spending so much money and military resources in the Middle East [when] oil was so important for the economy’ and then asked whether semiconductor chips are ‘the 21st century version’ of oil – that is, a key driver of US foreign policy towards China.

Semiconductor chips are the building blocks of the world’s most advanced technologies (such as artificial intelligence, 5G telecommunications, and supercomputing) as well as all modern electronics. Without them, the computers, phones, cars, and devices that are essential to our everyday lives would cease to function. They are typically produced by using ultraviolet light to etch microscopic circuit patterns onto thin layers of silicon, packing billions of electrical switches called transistors onto a single fingernail-sized wafer. This technology advances through a relentless process of miniaturisation: the smaller the distance between transistors, the greater the density of transistors that can be packed onto a chip and the more computing power that can be embedded in each chip and in each facet of modern life. Today, the most advanced chips are produced with a three-nanometre (nm) process (for reference, a sheet of paper is roughly 100,000-nm thick).

The Semiconductor Supply Chain

The commercial semiconductor industry was developed in Silicon Valley, California in the late 1950s, dominated by the United States in all aspects, from research and design to manufacture and sales. From the outset, this industry held geopolitical significance, with early manufacturers selling upwards of 95% of their chips to the Pentagon or the aerospace sector. Over the subsequent decades, the US selectively offshored most of its chip manufacturing to its East Asian allies, first to Japan, then to South Korea and Taiwan. This allowed the US to reduce its capital and labour costs and stimulate the industrial development of its allies while continuing to dominate the supply chain.

Today, US firms maintain a commanding presence in chip design (e.g., Intel, AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA) and fabrication equipment (e.g., Applied Materials, Lam Research, and KLA). Taiwan’s TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer or foundry, accounting for an overwhelming 56% share of the global market and over 90% of advanced chip manufacturing in 2022, followed by South Korea’s Samsung, which holds a 15% share of the global market. In addition, the Dutch firm ASML is a critical player, holding a monopoly on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines needed to produce the most advanced chips below 7-nm.

The largest part of the semiconductor supply chain that lies outside of the control of the US and its allies is in China, which has developed into the world’s electronics manufacturing hub and a major technological power over the past four decades. China’s share of global chip manufacturing capacity has risen from zero in 1990 to roughly 15% in 2020. Yet, despite its sizeable developmental advances, China’s chip production capabilities still lag behind, relying on imports for the most advanced chips (in 2020, China imported $378 billion worth of semiconductors, 18% of its total imports). Meanwhile, China’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, only has a 5% share of the global market, paling in comparison to TSMC.

The US Campaign against China

In recent years, the US has been waging an aggressive campaign to arrest China’s technological development, which it views as a serious threat to its dominance. In the words of US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Washington’s goal is to ‘maintain as large of a lead as possible’. To this end, the US has identified China’s semiconductor production capabilities as an important weakness and is trying to block the country’s access to advanced chips and chip-making technology. Under the Trump and Biden administrations, the US has placed hundreds of Chinese companies on trade and investment blacklists, including the country’s leading semiconductor manufacturer SMIC and tech giant Huawei. These restrictions have banned any company in the world that uses US products – effectively every chip designer and manufacturer – from doing business with Chinese tech firms.

The US has also pressured governments and firms around the world to impose similar restrictions. Since 2018, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have joined the US in banning Huawei from their 5G telecommunications networks while a number of European countries have implemented partial bans or restrictions. Importantly, in 2019, after more than a year of intense US lobbying, the Dutch government blocked the key firm ASML, which builds and supplies the most advanced chip-making machinery to the semiconductor industry, from exporting its equipment to China.

These policies do not only target firms; they also have a direct impact on an individual level. In October 2022, the Biden administration restricted ‘US persons’ – including citizens, residents, and green-card holders – from working for Chinese chip firms, forcing many to choose between their immigration status and their jobs. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington, DC think tank, characterised US policy as ‘actively strangling large segments of the Chinese technology industry – strangling with an intent to kill’.

Alongside its containment measures against China, the US has ramped up efforts to boost its domestic chip-making capacity. The CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law in August 2022, provides $280 billion in funding to boost the domestic US semiconductor industry and reshore production from East Asia. Washington views Taiwan’s role as the manufacturing hub of the semiconductor industry as a strategic vulnerability given its proximity to mainland China and is inducing TSMC to relocate production to Phoenix, Arizona. This pressure, in turn, is generating its own frictions in the US-Taiwan relationship.

However, US efforts are not infallible. Although China has suffered serious setbacks, it has intensified efforts to promote its domestic capacity, and there are signs of progress despite the obstacles imposed by the US. For example, in 2022, China’s SMIC reportedly achieved a significant technological breakthrough, making the leap from 14-nm to 7-nm semiconductor chips, which is on par with the global leaders Intel, TSMC, and Samsung.

A Matter of Global Importance

It is important to note that the US is not only targeting China in this conflict: Washington fears that China’s technological development will lead, through trade and investment, to the dispersal of advanced technologies more broadly throughout the world, namely, to states in the Global South that the US sees as a threat. This would be a significant blow to the US’s power over these countries. In 2020, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee decried that China was facilitating ‘digital authoritarianism’ because it has ‘been willing to go into smaller, under-served markets’ and ‘offer more cost-effective equipment than Western companies’, pointing to countries under US sanctions such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe as examples. To combat ties between Chinese tech firms and sanctioned countries, the US has taken severe legal action, fining the Chinese corporation ZTE $1.2 billion in 2017 for violating US sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The US also collaborated with Canada to arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on charges of circumventing US sanctions against Iran.

Unsurprisingly, while the US has been able to consolidate support for its agenda amongst a number of its Western allies, its efforts have failed across the Global South. It is in the interest of developing countries for such advanced technologies to be dispersed as widely as possible – not to be controlled by a select few states.


Declaración: La visita de Tsai a EE. UU. es una provocación en medio de la disminución del apoyo al separatismo taiwanés

Disponible en: English | Español

El 5 de abril, la líder taiwanesa Tsai Ing-wen se reunió con el presidente de la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos, Kevin McCarthy, en medio de su controvertida visita a dicho país. McCarthy es el funcionario de más alto rango que se reúne con un líder taiwanés en suelo estadounidense desde 1979, cuando Estados Unidos y China restablecieron relaciones diplomáticas. La reunión a puerta cerrada tuvo lugar pocos meses después de que la expresidenta de la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos, Nancy Pelosi, visitó la isla en agosto de 2022 y se llevó a cabo a pesar de las repetidas objeciones y advertencias presentadas por el gobierno chino. Esta es la última de una serie de serias provocaciones emprendidas por Washington hacia Beijing, destinadas a promover la noción de que Taiwán es un país separado e independiente de China, que han escalado las tensiones bilaterales a niveles sin precedentes.

La visita de Tsai a los Estados Unidos, parte de una gira diplomática que incluyó paradas en dos países centroamericanos, Guatemala y Belice, se realizó en respuesta a la disminución del apoyo internacional a la causa del separatismo taiwanés. El 25 de marzo, solo una semana antes del viaje de Tsai, Honduras anunció que había roto relaciones diplomáticas con Taiwán y restablecido relaciones con Beijing, afirmando que “Taiwán es una parte inalienable del territorio chino”. La decisión de Honduras es parte de una tendencia más amplia: Taiwán ha perdido 19 aliados diplomáticos desde 2000, incluidos nueve desde que Tsai asumió el cargo en 2016. Hoy, 181 de los 193 estados miembros de la ONU han adoptado formalmente el principio de ‘Una China’, reconociendo que Taiwán y el continente son parte del mismo país, con soberanía que reside en Beijing; solo 12 estados miembros de la ONU mantienen vínculos oficiales con la isla, casi todos ellos pequeñas naciones bajo la fuerte influencia de Washington.

La política separatista de Tsai y su Partido Progresista Democrático (PPD) no solo enfrenta desafíos a nivel mundial sino también en la isla misma. Como lo expresó recientemente el Financial Times, existe una “división política cada vez más profunda en Taiwán” sobre cómo manejar las relaciones a través del Estrecho. En noviembre de 2022, el PPD sufrió una importante derrota en las elecciones locales ante el opositor Kuomintang (KMT), que favorece mejores relaciones con el continente. Al mismo tiempo que la visita de Tsai a los Estados Unidos, el exlíder taiwanés y predecesor de Tsai, Ma Ying-Jeou, realizó una visita histórica de 12 días al continente. El viaje de Ma marcó la primera vez que un líder actual o del pasado de Taiwán viajó al continente desde 1949. “Espero sinceramente que los dos lados del Estrecho [de Taiwán] trabajen juntos para buscar la paz, evitar la guerra y revitalizar la nación china”, afirmó Ma durante su viaje. “Esta es una responsabilidad ineludible del pueblo chino en ambos lados del Estrecho, y debemos trabajar duro para realizarla”.

Aunque la “independencia” taiwanesa a menudo se presenta como una causa infalible por parte de Estados Unidos y los países occidentales, está claro que este no es el caso en la isla o en el escenario internacional. Incluso entre los aliados de Washington hay divisiones. El 9 de abril, después de concluir una visita de Estado de tres días a China, el presidente francés, Emmanuel Macron, declaró en una entrevista que Europa debe evitar ser “seguidora de Estados Unidos” o “seguir nuestra parte en la agenda de Estados Unidos” con respecto a la cuestión de Taiwán. “[¿Es] de nuestro interés acelerar [una crisis] en Taiwán? No”, agregó.

Beijing le ha dejado claro a Washington la seriedad que le da al tema. En una reunión en persona en noviembre de 2022, el presidente chino Xi Jinping le dijo al presidente estadounidense Joe Biden: “La cuestión de Taiwán está en el centro mismo de los intereses fundamentales de China, la base de la base política de las relaciones chino-estadounidenses y la primera línea roja que no debe cruzarse”. No obstante, Estados Unidos tiene la intención de usar Taiwán, ubicado a solo 160 kilómetros de la costa sureste de China continental, como un punto de apoyo para ejercer presión sobre China. Aunque Washington ha adoptado formalmente una política de Una China, mantiene extensas relaciones ‘no oficiales’ y lazos militares con Taiwán, a través de la venta de armas, entrenamiento militar, asesores y personal en la isla, y navegando repetidamente buques de guerra a través del estrecho de Taiwán que separa la isla desde el continente. En diciembre de 2022, EE. UU. prometió diez mil millones de dólares adicionales en ayuda militar a Taiwán.

A su regreso a Taiwán después de su visita al continente, Ma Ying-Jeou declaró que las acciones de la administración del PPD de Tsai Ing-Wen y, por extensión, sus patrocinadores en Washington, “han seguido poniendo en peligro el futuro de Taiwán”, y que la isla debe ‘elegir entre la paz y la guerra para nuestro futuro’. De hecho, la interferencia de los Estados Unidos solo sirve para aumentar las tensiones globales y promover los estrechos intereses de Washington, no ofrece nada a Taiwán, el continente o la comunidad internacional. Como han declarado las fuerzas progresistas de Taiwán, “para mantener la paz en el Estrecho de Taiwán y evitar el flagelo de la guerra, es necesario detener la injerencia estadounidense”.


Statement: Tsai’s US Visit is Provocation Amid Declining Support for Taiwanese Separatism

Available in: Español | English

On 5 April, Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen met with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, amid her controversial visit to the United States. McCarthy is the highest-ranking official to meet with a Taiwanese leader on US soil since 1979, when the United States and China re-established diplomatic relations. The closed-door meeting took place just months after former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August 2022 and was held despite repeated objections and warnings lodged by the Chinese government. This is the latest in a series of serious provocations undertaken by Washington towards Beijing, intended to promote the notion that Taiwan is a separate and independent country from China, which have escalated bilateral tensions to unprecedented levels. 

Tsai’s visit to the United States – part of a diplomatic tour which included stops in two Central American nations, Guatemala and Belize – took place in response to declining international support for the cause of Taiwanese separatism. On 25 March, just one week prior to Tsai’s trip, Honduras announced that it had severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and re-established relations with Beijing, stating that ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory’. The decision of Honduras is part of a broader trend: Taiwan has lost 19 diplomatic allies since 2000, including nine since Tsai came into office in 2016. Today, 181 of the 193 UN member states have formally adopted the ‘One China’ principle – recognising that Taiwan and the mainland are part of the same country, with sovereignty residing in Beijing; only 12 UN member states maintain official ties with the island, nearly all of them small nations under Washington’s strong influence.

The separatist politics of Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are not only facing challenges globally but on the island itself. As the Financial Times recently put it, there is a ‘deepening political divide in Taiwan’ over how to manage cross-strait relations. In November 2022, the DPP suffered a major defeat in local elections to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which favours better relations with the mainland. At the same time as Tsai’s visit to the United States, former Taiwanese leader and Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-Jeou undertook a historic 12-day visit to the mainland. Ma’s trip marked the first time that a former or current leader of Taiwan travelled to the mainland since 1949. ‘I sincerely hope that the two sides of the [Taiwan] Straits will work together to pursue peace, avoid war and revitalise the Chinese nation’, Ma stated during his trip. ‘This is an unavoidable responsibility of the Chinese people on both sides of the Straits, and we must work hard to realise it’.

Although Taiwanese ‘independence’ is often represented as an infallible cause by the United States and Western countries, it is clear that this is not the case on the island or the international stage. Even among Washington’s allies, there are divisions. On 9 April, after concluding a three-day state visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron stated in an interview that Europe must avoid being ‘America’s followers’ or ‘tak[ing] our cue from the U.S. agenda’ regarding the question of Taiwan. ‘[I]s it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No’, he added.

Beijing has made it clear to Washington the seriousness that it places on the issue. At an in-person meeting in November 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden: ‘the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed’. Nonetheless, the United States is intent on using Taiwan – located just 160 kilometres off the south-eastern coast of the Chinese mainland – as a foothold to exert pressure on China. Even though Washington has formally adopted a One China policy, it maintains extensive ‘unofficial’ relations and military ties with Taiwan, through weapons sales, military training, stationing advisors and personnel on the island, and repeatedly sailing warships through the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the mainland. In December 2022, the US pledged an additional $10 billion in military aid to Taiwan. 

Upon his return to Taiwan after his visit to the mainland, Ma Ying-Jeou stated that the actions of the DPP administration of Tsai Ing-Wen – and, by extension, its backers in Washington – ‘have continued to put Taiwan’s future in jeopardy’ and that the island must ‘choose between peace and war for our future’. Indeed, the interference of the United States only serves to increase global tensions and advance the narrow interests of Washington, it offers nothing to Taiwan, the mainland, or the international community. As progressive forces in Taiwan have declared, ‘to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and avoid the scourge of war, it is necessary to stop US interference’.


Statement: Don’t Close Confucius Institutes in Britain – Defend Academic Freedom and Cultural Exchanges

No Cold War (Britain) has issued the following statement urging the British government to abandon its plans to shut down Confucius Institutes.

The British government is threatening to close down Confucius Institutes on university campuses across the UK in what would be a flagrant attack on academic freedom, cultural exchanges and free speech. The British people stand to lose important educational opportunities to learn about Chinese culture and acquire language skills if the government proceeds with its plans to shut down these Institutes at the behest of a New Cold War agenda promoted by the United States government.

Confucius Institutes are public educational and cultural programs funded and arranged by the Chinese International Education Foundation which is under the authority of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education. There are hundreds of Institutes worldwide which the Chinese government spends approximately $10billion a year on.

Confucius Institutes play a similar role to other international organisations which promote language skills and cultural exchanges on behalf of countries. These include Britain’s British Council, Portugal’s Instituto Camões, France’s Alliance Française, Italy’s Società Dante Alighieri, Spain’s Instituto Cervantes and Germany’s Goethe-Institut.

The British government justifies its threat to close down Confucius Institutes on the grounds that these programs promote a positive image of China, forming part of China’s “external propaganda”, and therefore constitute a threat to British society and university life. This is clearly absurd.

The British Council in under-taking programs to promote cultural relations and educational opportunities across the world performs an ambassadorial role in favourably promoting Britain internationally. It is hardly controversial or surprising that China’s Confucius Institutes promote China’s culture and language in a positive light internationally too.

The suppression of Confucius Institutes is part of the US’s New Cold War agenda. In the past two years Confucius Institutes have been shut down in the US, reducing the number from 100 to only 20.

Closing down Confucius Institutes in Britain would not only be a direct attack on academic freedom, it would also be a dangerous move. At a time when the British government is intent on pursuing a bellicose foreign policy towards China, including the sending of British warships to the South China Sea and the establishment of the AUKUS military pact directed against China, it is vital to maintain dialogue and an understanding of China’s view of the world – a role that Confucius Institutes clearly play. To shut down such opportunities for exchanges can lead to serious misunderstandings and could lead to catastrophic miscalculations. Understanding, engaging with and learning from China, as with other countries, is vital in the current international political climate. We urge the British government to abandon its self-defeating plan to close down Confucius Institutes which can only damage education and cultural opportunities and lead to greater misunderstanding and hostility in international relations.