People in the Western world cheered and celebrated when communism collapsed in Eastern Europe between 1989 and 1990, and then in the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War was over and the threat of a real war dissipated. It seemed that the peace and prosperity everyone had longed for had finally arrived.
But with the U.S.-China trade war ramping up in 2018 and intensifying in 2019, many people believe that we are beginning to witness a new Cold War. Actually, the United States doesn’t want to initiate a new round of Cold War.
The truth is, Washington finally came to realize that the Cold War had never ended, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had been waging a war all these years.
To put it simply, the West thought it won a real victory over its opponents 28 years ago, but that was not a complete victory. The CCP has since continued the Cold War covertly, in a manner very different from that of the former Soviet Union. It wasn’t until 2018 when the United States wised up and accepted the challenge, which we will refer to as the new Cold War.
Misjudged by the West
The Cold War was nearly half a century of confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies, following World War II. Generally, it is considered that the Cold War began in 1947 and ended in 1991.
During the Cold War, U.S. presidents all adopted an important strategy—dividing the socialist camp. Typically, they would separate the Chinese communist regime from the rest of the communist camp.
After the Chinese communist regime took power in 1949, its foreign policy favored only the Soviet Union. Moreover, incited by Stalin, the CCP participated in the Korean War to fight against the Americans.
However, China and the Soviet Union would not get along for very long. Former Chinese leader Mao Zedong attempted to compete with the Soviet Union for domination of the socialist camp. As a result, the two nations became hostile toward each other in the late 1950s. In 1964, the conflict escalated when China and the Soviet Union broke up while trying to settle border disputes, followed by numerous military confrontations along the border in 1969. China deployed 810,000 soldiers, and the Soviet Union deployed 1,180,000 soldiers in preparation for war. Top Chinese leaders evacuated from Beijing because they feared that the Soviet Union would start a nuclear war against China at any moment.
The United States was happy to discover that the concept of “Monolithic Communism” had been a misunderstanding and decided to give a hand to China. The Nixon administration threatened to fight a nuclear war against the Soviet Union and thus helped the CCP avert a big crisis.
In 1972, when former President Nixon visited China, the CCP regarded it as a precious opportunity to form ties with the West in order to counter the Soviet Union. In other words, the CCP took the initiative to separate itself from the socialist camp. In the following years, the CCP seemed to play a neutral role amidst the Cold War, thus giving the impression of being very different from the other socialist countries.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, the West believed that the Cold War was over. Although some people pointed out that China was still a country that embraced the socialist ideology, continued to commit serious human rights violations, and had not made any attempts to amend its mistakes during the Tiananmen Square Massacre, most westerners failed to see the huge looming threat from the CCP, nor did they realize in later years that the CCP was carrying out a new form of Cold War all along.
CCP’s Covert ‘Cold War’
The United States and its Western allies no longer stayed alert to a communist threat after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, they helped communist China join the World Trade Organization (WTO), offered large amounts of funds and provided advanced technology, believing that one day the CCP would reform its political system and improve human rights. The CCP took full advantage of all these goodwill efforts.
Many Chinese communist officials quickly became millionaires through corruption. They learned to dress in expensive attire, sent their children to private schools abroad, and transferred their assets overseas.
With huge numbers of foreign-funded enterprises coming to China, millions of cheap Chinese laborers not only worked for foreign entrepreneurs, but also continuously accumulated foreign reserves for the CCP. The CCP discovered that attracting foreign investment was a better method of exploiting the Chinese people, because now they were able to exploit Chinese workers more efficiently and on a larger scale.
Initially, Chinese top leaders were frightened by the collapse of the Soviet Union. As one of only a few communist countries left, they thought China would be targeted by the entire Western world. But when the Western nations let their guard down and presented China the gift of “modernization,” Chinese leaders were overjoyed.
Former Communist Party chief Deng Xiaoping then proposed a strategy to “keep a low profile and grow our strength secretly,” which has always been worshipped as a most important guideline by Deng’s successors. It simply meant that as China continued fighting the Cold War, the CCP would keep its real motivation hidden, so as to give itself enough time to accumulate more foreign reserves, steal more technologies, and infiltrate the West. The plan was and is to challenge the U.S. hegemony.
The United States also enabled the CCP to master the internet technology. Domestically, the CCP established the “Golden Shield” internet firewall to block the flow of information to the Chinese public. Internationally, the CCP not only hired a large number of internet experts as part of its foreign propaganda team, but also trained countless hackers to steal information from or damage top classified sites in Western countries.
This is a new form of Cold War, and very different from the previous one as it is one-sided and fought in secret because there was no head-on political confrontation, and it fully took advantage of economic globalization. The United States and its Western allies have been hoodwinked for a long time.
CCP Takes Its ‘Cold War’ Out in the Open
The CCP has been fighting a covert Cold War to secretly grind down the free Western democratic countries, yet it pretends that its relationship with the West is one of friendly cooperation. It wasn’t until recent years when the CCP gradually took its Cold War out in the open.
Diplomatically, the CCP has become increasingly antagonistic toward the West, competing for votes within the United Nations and even becoming a member of the Human Rights Council. It also fights for leadership roles in other international organizations. China’s Foreign Ministry spokespersons are now speaking in a much more arrogant and harsh tone.
In addition, the CCP controls and manipulates rogue countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Cuba—countries that commit evildoings openly, with China supporting and instructing them secretly.
The CCP has also been wooing third world countries and less influential nations with its “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR, also known as Belt and Road) initiative which is almost equal to establishing a new multi-national camp led by the Chinese regime, and a strategic preparation for the CCP to deploy its military force globally.
To build up its military, the CCP seizes every opportunity to steal high-end military technology from developed countries, invests huge amounts in military modernization, conducts high-profile military exercises every now and then, and constructs artificial islands in the South China Sea as its military base, provoking anger from neighboring countries. Worst of all, the CCP’s medium- and long-range missiles primarily aim at U.S. territory.
At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that the CCP boasts of its national strength by fabricating economic data. For instance, Beijing claims that, as the second-largest economy in the world, China has maintained a high GDP growth rate. However, China’s economic data are heavily inflated, and a huge percentage of its population still lives in poverty.
Similarly, when the CCP proclaims that it has developed a leading technology, it usually means it is still in the pillaging and replicating stage, with Chinese researchers having a lot to learn and to experiment to fully understand it.
With the rapid development of China’s export economy, the CCP’s ambition has grown exponentially. It attempts to gain control of the global economy, monitor global network data, and play a leadership role in the international community. It makes use of its increased financial strength to impose harsh control domestically—persecuting political dissidents, Falun Gong, Tibetans, Xinjiang Muslims and Christians on a large scale—while eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms and infiltrating Taiwan to undermine their democratic system.
In other words, the CCP has gradually changed from its old “low profile” strategy to fighting a war with the West openly.
However, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory has brought a big change in the United States. During the election campaign, Trump emphasized that the huge trade deficit with China and intellectual property theft must be resolved, which helped him obtain strong support from many American voters.
After Trump’s inauguration, he started addressing the trade imbalance with China and imposing tariffs. This helped Americans and other Western countries to wake up to the fact that the CCP has been fighting a Cold War all along. People in the West have given up hope that the CCP will ever improve itself. More importantly, the Western countries are starting to restructure their own strategies of dealing with the CCP’s Cold War.
US Responds to CCP’s ‘Cold War’ Challenge
President Trump has already reached his first-stage trade war goal by imposing tariffs on Chinese goods. Namely, the CCP has lost the key element for its economic growth. With a shortage of foreign exchange and a deteriorating economy, the real situation of China’s national strength has been revealed. The CCP had to curb its malicious global expansion and was forced to give in.
Presently, a U.S.-China technology war is also underway. Washington has been targeting and imposing sanctions on Huawei, ZTE and several other Chinese high-tech companies that have violated international rules and norms. Furthermore, the FBI is investigating participants of China’s “Thousand Talents Program,” a program specifically designed to facilitate intellectual property theft and illicit technology transfers.
At the same time, financial experts in the United States are already discussing the next battle: a “financial war.”
After Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet in support of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, the Chinese Basketball Association suspended its relationship with the Rockets, and the Chinese Consulate issued a public statement of strong dissatisfaction. This incident shows the United States that the CCP not only stubbornly holds onto its ideology, but also tries to influence the American people through its ideological war.
When police violence escalated in Hong Kong, the U.S. Senate expedited its vote on the Hong Kong human rights bill and passed the bill unanimously on Nov. 19. Subsequently, Trump wasted no time signing it into law. All these are clear manifestations of the American people’s attitude in countering the new Cold War.
Trump’s plan to rebuild the U.S. military and his Indo-Pacific strategies directly point to containing the CCP. In many of his public speeches, Trump has talked about military reorganization, which shows his determination to push back China’s military expansion by strengthening the U.S. military.
Recently, the CIA and the “Five Eyes Alliance” have been taking actions to target Chinese special agents. Chinese spy Wang Liqiang’s defection to Australia, and his exposing a large amount of the CCP’s secrets, will surely lead to more defections. Many stories will then unfold, with each one revealing an interesting episode about the CCP’s spying activities and infiltration in the West.
While struggling amidst the trade war, the CCP may have realized that it made a mistake by giving up the “low-profile” strategy. Now it worries that China’s economy will be decoupled from the United States, and fears that the West will pick up the Cold War against China again. However, the CCP cannot return to hiding again, because most people have now seen through the Cold War that China has been fighting covertly. The CCP’s true nature has been fully revealed through Beijing’s handling of the Hong Kong protests and its big lie of respecting the “one country, two systems” policy.
The new Cold War has begun in an all-around way. It is no longer a monologue played by the CCP. The United States and its allies are taking it more seriously. This Cold War will not last for decades as the previous one because the free democratic camp surpasses China substantially in all aspects.
The CCP may soon collapse, like the former Soviet Union, its former “big brother.” This is also the doomed fate of the CCP, an evil regime that stubbornly chooses to keep on fighting.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.