World should unite and denounce new cold war

NB. This article about the inaugural No Cold War conference was published in the Global Times on 29 July 2020.

Editor’s Note:

As China-US tensions escalate with the US hawkish politicians intending to start a new cold war against China, diplomats and scholars from 48 countries gathered Saturday for an online event themed “A new cold war against China is against the interests of humanity.” What does a new cold war mean to the world and entire humanity? We selected speech abstracts from seven participants who voice “No.” to a new cold war.

Jenny Clegg, senior lecturer in International Studies at University of Central Lancashire, UK

Thinking about this current turn in world affairs, I recall an article published by an anti-war journalist in 2003 with the headline “Iraq, Iran then China next?”

The moment of China next has now arrived. Reinforced by an incessant flow of negative media coverage, the “China threat” is portrayed now in existential terms, as a threat to the very values of world civilization embodied by the West. This is how we enter the terrain of a new cold war.

People are waking up to the fact that the US-China relationship is now the most important relationship shaping the world. The increasing US aggression against China poses the most serious threat to world peace and as such it is a massive obstacle in the way of humanity successfully dealing with the crucial common issues we are facing.

We’re facing the prospect of a prolonged attack from the US against China which is likely to dominate global affairs for years to come. The international cooperation that is urgently needed can only find a firm basis through international debate and understanding between peoples.

The stark reality is now that none of our critical common problems can be faced without peace – there is no time to be lost.

Margaret Kimberley, Senior Editor of Black Agenda Report, the US

I’m old enough to remember when Nixon went to China when I was a kid. It was said at the time that only a cold warrior could have pulled it off. Now, nearly 50 years later, the cold war has been resurrected with a vengeance and China has been declared an enemy of this government and Americans are being whipped into a frenzy of hatred and suspicion against China.

Now whenever we see a reference to China in the corporate media we always see the words communist party attached. This silly redundancy is war propaganda along with every other smear and slur. 

But Americans get nothing but war propaganda. Trump and Joe Biden outdo one another bragging about who will be tougher to China. This week we saw the US government violate international law again and close the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas. 

I think it is extremely important that those of us who call ourselves members of the left know where we ought to stand. We must always be in opposition to US/NATO, allied vassal state aggression against China and the rest of the world too. We cannot be confused. Remember that when the US speaks of human rights you are hearing from the country that has more of its population incarcerated, some 2 million people, than any other country in the world. Its military spending is larger than that of the next 10 countries combined. It allows police to kill 1,000 people every year. COVID-19 has killed more than a hundred thousands of people, impoverished more, and its profit making health care system is proof of a lack of human rights. We have to call out war propaganda whenever we see it and hear it and not allow ourselves to be drawn into bogus arguments. We cannot use the first person when thinking about government statements regarding China or any other country. Our interests are not those of the rulers and we must never forget that. 

Wang Wen, professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China

The next three months before the US election will be a high-risk period for China-US relations. The Trump administration can do anything to win the election. Its China policy now is quite crazy and has no bottom line.

Now China maintains patience, but Trump keeps provoking that China and the US could break off diplomatic relations or even have a war. If so, it will be a disaster to China-US relations, humanity and the world. This is an open political conspiracy. The Trump administration is the source of this disaster.

The US is pressing the accelerator to trash bilateral relations. But China is putting the brakes on with the hope of preventing China-US relations from continuing to plummet. Obviously, the Trump administration’s strategy to shape China as an enemy won’t succeed.

The coronavirus is still raging on. The peak of the pandemic hasn’t yet to come. If not united, humanity including Americans, will likely enter a dark age. Therefore, Americans should know that China is not the enemy, the virus is. And all the international friends should know, we don’t need a new cold war.

Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Unable to outspend the Chinese government, the US government is making a rhetorical argument that it has more respect for “transparency, human rights, and democratic values” than China, which “practices repression at home and abroad.”

It is hard to imagine the US being “transparent” with its trade deals, and able to argue that unlike China it would not put countries into debt. Libraries are filled with documents that show how the US government enabled a massive Third World debt crisis in the 1980s.

The US government has made it very clear that for all its talk of a “free and open Pacific,” it means one with less Chinese ships and more US warships. The US in other words seeks to impose a war on Asia.

We say no war – no hybrid war as much as any conventional war – on China. We want peace in Eurasia, peace in the waters around Asia.

Carlos Ron, Venezuelan vice minister for North America

If there is one region around the world that knows well the catastrophic effects of a cold war, it certainly is Latin America and the Caribbean. For large parts of the 20th century, we were one of the main battlefields in that war. Thousands of people died, were tortured, imprisoned, and disappeared as a result of Washington’s Cold War tactics.  

The thing is that for us, this isn’t about the US and its geopolitical competition. This is an issue of self-determination. Venezuela, as well as any other Latin American and Caribbean nation, has the sovereign right to have the relations it considers beneficial to its people. And no Cold War, old or new, should have a different say.

This is our context, this is our perspective, this is why we believe that the US is trying to reestablish a cold war environment that hurts our region and our nation severely, and we oppose this imposition. We call on all nations to oppose this attempt, on the grounds of world peace, world stability, and international law. Humanity faces real challenges.

Yury Tavrovksy, a Russian Sinologist

I used to be a Cold War warrior myself. Not a Wolf Warrior, but rather a Bear Warrior. 

The new cold war was started by the US against China only a couple of years ago but has developed with threatening, unprecedented speed. It is further destabilizing the global security already suffering from Russo-American confrontation. America apparently wants to have two cold wars at the same time. It is harmful to the world stability but also contrary to US’ own strategic interests. Confrontation on two fronts ended badly for Germany and Japan in the 1940s and for the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

We in Russia have learned the lesson and do not want to join one more cold war. What we want is to see a multipolar and stable world successfully dealing with extremely serious common issues which confront it; such as arms control, climate change, control of pandemics, and economic development.

Therefore I strongly support the main idea of this webinar: A new cold war against China is against the interests of humanity.

John Ross, senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China

The new cold war is a threat to humanity. A new cold war will be against interests of humanity. It will take humanity backwards. 

A new cold war is not only about the US and China. It is an attempt by the present US administration to impose its policies on the world and to force other countries to follow it.

What the US cold war is attempting to do is to re-orientate all countries in the world away from the most rapidly growing parts of the world economy and toward its own relatively stagnant economy. This will have very serious consequences for increasing world poverty and stopping economic development. 

The threat of new cold war is about all of our futures, it’s a threat to the whole of humanity. What is the alternative to it? It is to jointly work together to fight the pandemic, to oppose war, to fight climate change, to oppose every form of racism, to work together for peaceful economic development. 

Therefore, I believe that for the interest of humanity there should be a simple slogan, “No Cold War!”

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