What if war breaks out with China

Talk of the "Cold War" against China : The West has to prove that it offers the better life

Deportation of diplomats, sanctions against Hong Kong, boycott of the technology groups Huawei and Tencent - in the conflict with China, the Trump administration is clearly on escalation. What began as a simple trade dispute is increasingly turning into a major confrontation, and analysts of all stripes conjure up a frightening vision: the two superpowers are plunging the world into a “new cold war”.

But as obvious as the diagnosis seems, it is just as misleading. Because the term suggests that the new dispute over global supremacy can be waged - and won - like the one with the Soviet Union. But nothing will come of it.

Unlike the Lenin heirs, modern China is economically strong. Beijing's economic strategists have created what Western economists considered impossible: a hybrid system that combines market discipline with government investment control, and so successfully that China offers investors from all over the world a highly attractive market.

But that makes the sharpest weapon of the new Cold Warriors blunt. “Decoupling”, the decoupling of the western economies from China, is intended to bring the adversaries to their knees, propagate Trump and his supporters. The stop for chip exports and direct investments or the blocking of US stock exchanges for China companies point the way.

Indeed, economic integration is progressing

But the volume of the declarations of war is inversely related to the actual development. In fact, integration with the Chinese economy is progressing steadily.

The US financial industry has massively expanded its business in China, reports the Peterson Institute. From Goldman Sachs to JP Morgan to American Express, the Wall Street giants, supported by the Xi regime, have taken control of their China subsidiaries. At the same time, the foreign capital inflow to the Chinese stock exchanges has almost doubled to around 600 billion dollars within two years.

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In addition, western corporations show little inclination to withdraw from China. In the most recent survey by the European Chamber of Commerce in China, the proportion of companies considering relocating fell from 15 to just 11 percent.

This is evidence of "a growing decoupling between the goals of the Trump administration and Western business conduct," notes the Center for Strategic and International Studies. China has overcome the Covid 19 crisis, and the Chinese market is now saving many Western manufacturers from crashing.

The conflict with China must therefore be conducted differently. Yes, it is a question of system competition. The Xi regime in Beijing breaks human and international law. And it is gaining influence worldwide because it delivers relief supplies instead of hoarding them, and poses as a benevolent power that has the better model. Refuting that is therefore the real task. The West, if it still exists, must demonstrate that freedom and democracy do indeed offer a better life.

The failure of the US government on the Covid front is not exactly helpful for this. It is therefore all the more urgent not to speak of another arms spiral by invoking a new Cold War, but to finally take effective action against the social divide that is bringing failures like Trump to the government. If that succeeds, we don't have to fear China's rise.

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