U.S.-China relations are deteriorating rapidly, prompting fears of a new Cold War. President Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy mentions China 23 times – invariably in hostile terms. China is a “revisionist” power that seeks to “shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests” while “attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” it asserts, necessitating a recognition in Washington that the Great Power competition with China already has begun.
This was before the COVID-19 outbreak. Today, tensions with Beijing are further strained as Trump blames China for the pandemic and demands that Beijing pay coronavirus reparations.
While China has mishandled the pandemic and engaged in activities that challenge the United States, rushing toward a Cold War with the Chinese carries enormous costs and risks–many of them outside the traditional security sphere. How can the U.S. and China collaborate against COVID and future pandemics if they are entangled in a zero-sum cold war? How can collective action addressing the existential threat of climate change be achieved if China and the U.S. – the world’s top two polluters – chose conflict over collaboration?
To address these issues, the Quincy Institute hosted a public Zoom panel discussion on May 14, 2020 with some of the foremost experts on U.S.-China relations, including on U.S.-China pandemic management cooperation and environmental collaboration.