By Mohammad Mazhari

Cold War between China and U.S. is a must: Indian professor

October 22, 2021 - 16:21

TEHRAN – Noting that the cold war between Beijing and Washington is a must, an Indian academic says they have already kicked it off.

“The Cold War between China and the U.S. is a must, and it has already started,” Ashok Swain tells the Tehran Times.

 “The Cold War between these two will be different from the Cold War between the U.S. and USSR of the past. Unlike the last one, the Cold War this time will be less on military domination but more on the economic front.”

American pundits believe China seeks hybrid hegemony on an unprecedented scale, asking about what that might imply for Eurasia and the world beyond.

China’s post–Cold War leaders have compulsively studied the Soviet example, sought to avoid repeating it.

 “Compared to the USSR, China will be a much more powerful and resilient challenger to the U.S. The world has already started to polarize itself, but at Present, the U.S. still has the advantage of keeping more powerful allies,” Swain argues.

Following is the text of the interview:  

Huntington, in Clash of Civilizations, says, “The West’s universalist pretensions increasingly bring it into conflict with other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China.” Do you think the U.S. differences with Iran and China as well as sanctions embody such an idea?

I don’t think Huntington’s Clash of Civilization argument can explain the U.S. differences with Iran or China. Huntington argued that the conflict’s primary nature in the 21st Century would be not over ideology or economy but cultural differences. His idea of the clash of civilization was mainly a clash between the West and Islam. However, if that has been the case, how can someone explain the comradery between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia or the U.S. and Vietnam? The U.S. or the West is least interested in the 21st Century in culturally or ideologically dominating the world. The economy is still the most important reason, and the U.S. and the West see military and strategic alliances are means to pursue their economic interests.  

“The Arab regimes, for their survival, will shift their loyalty if China offers them a better bargain.”What are the challenges and opportunities of the Islam- Confucianism alliance?
Islam and Confucianism are two different philosophical and moral worldviews, and at the same, they also have similarities. Both are presently flourishing in spreading their influences; however, while Islam is based on religious and monotheistic foundations, Confucianism is less religious but more cultural. In this context, though Confucianism keeps an open mind about the alliance with Islam, it is fearful of religious rigidness. So, the alliance to be sustainable should be based on national interest, not based on civilizational baggage.

Do you expect a new cold war between China and the U.S. and polarization of the globe between them?
Yes, the Cold War between China and the U.S. is a must, and it has already started. The Cold War between these two will be different from the Cold War between the U.S. and USSR of the past. Unlike the last one, the Cold War, this time will be less on military domination but more on the economic front. Compared to the USSR, China will be a much more powerful and resilient challenger to the U.S. The world has already started to polarize itself, but at Present, the U.S. still has the advantage of keeping more powerful allies.  

With a deep link between the two economies — the mutual dependencies on technology and trade never existed in the more familiar Cold War, how can America and China enter a new phase of escalation?

The Cold War between the U.S. and China will be more complicated due to existing economic and trade interlinkages between them and their allies. Given the ideological fluidity, it is the economy that will ensure ‘peaceful coexistence.’ The escalations will never reach a Cuban Crisis level; they will be controlled and calculated to gain economic advantages over others.

Do you predict China can recruit America’s old allies like Arab states into the East bloc?
Countries choose alliance partners based on their national interests. In the Arab world, the national interest is regime interest. The Arab regimes, for their survival, will shift their loyalty if China offers them a better bargain. China has already entered massively economically in many Arab states and gradually expanding its influence. The Middle East/West Asia region is the key to achieving global superpower status, and China is aware of that. It is just a matter of time for China to engage in open competition with the U.S. to grab Arab allies.  

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