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Preventing a US-China war

By Nouriel Roubini

23 Aug 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. In the escalating tensions between the United States and China, the spectre of a new cold war looms, with the potential flashpoint being Taiwan. Both nations are becoming increasingly paranoid about each other’s intentions, with confrontation replacing cooperation.

NEW YORK – The United States and China remain on a collision course. The new cold war between them may eventually turn hot over the issue of Taiwan. The “Thucydides Trap” – in which a rising power seems destined to clash with an incumbent hegemon – looms ominously. But a serious escalation of Sino-American tensions, let alone a war, can still be avoided, sparing the world the cataclysmic consequences that would inevitably follow.

There will always be at least some tensions when a rising power challenges the prevailing global power. But China is facing off against the US at a moment when America’s relative power may be weakening, and when it is committed to preventing its own strategic decline. Both sides are thus becoming increasingly paranoid about the other’s intentions, and confrontation has mostly supplanted healthy competition and cooperation. Both sides are partly to blame.

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