Over the past decade, President Xi Jinping has steadily consolidated his authority over the Party, state and military in China. However, his legitimacy as paramount leader depends upon his ability to realize the "China Dream:" to make China both wealthy and powerful.
To achieve these goals, Xi requires a global economic order that will continue to accommodate China's growth, as well as a US-backed international order willing to accommodate assertions of Chinese power.
Washington has pursued a policy of engagement in the hopes that it could manage China’s rise and preserve the existing world order. The election of Donald Trump has thrown this strategy into confusion. His administration has launched a major trade war with China, and Trump has even accused Beijing of meddling in US mid-term elections
This increasing friction over trade and security has led both US and Chinese analysts to raise the possibility of a new Cold War. Is this just headline-grabbing hyperbole, or are we witnessing the start of a dangerous new era? Examine the sources of the current tensions and the prospects for conflict in the near future.
COLIN GREEN received his PhD from UBC and specializes in Chinese history. He has been teaching Chinese, Japanese and military history at UBC for more than a decade. His research focuses on comparative martial cultures and Chinese military thought.