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The outbreak of the second Cold War

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (Original source Boston Globe)

“Regular readers of this column will not have been surprised by the outbreak of the Second Cold War. Ever since President Trump imposed the first tariffs on Chinese imports last year, I have argued that the trade war between the United States and China would last longer than most people expected and that it would escalate into other forms of warfare.

The tech war — exemplified by last week’s measures by the United States against the Chinese telecom company Huawei — is now in full swing. If you still think peace will break out when Trump meets Xi Jinping at the G20 meeting in Osaka next month, you’re in for a disappointment.

Historical analogies are powerful. As the former US defense secretary Ash Carter said at a recent conference at Harvard, in the corridors of power “real people talk history, not economics, political science or IR [international relations].” The first question they ask is: What is this like? And yes, this sudden escalation of Sino-American antagonism is a lot like the early phase of the Cold War.”

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