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"There is a need to try to find a way for cooperation," says American China scholar Jon Taylor


Global Business Journalism reporter

Contrary to popular mythology, a new communist-capitalist cold war isn’t actually happening, a leading international China policy analyst said on Nov. 10.

Jon R. Taylor, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told Global Business Journalism students at Tsinghua University that China is not an enemy in the traditional sense, but rather a competitor.

The China-U.S. competition is “a cold war based on economics,” he said. It does not involve nuclear weapons threats, as did the U.S.-Soviet Russia cold war of the 20th century.

“This idea of enemy versus competitor is one of the most important geopolitical questions of our time,” Taylor said.

China is competing with America economically, technologically, socially and culturally. If the U.S. wants to win this “war,” it should work on developing its capabilities instead of blocking China, he said.

Although China does have a Communist Party and does implement Marxism as part of its doctrine, it is not an ideological enemy that seeks to impose its political dogma on other nations, he said.

“It is not your typical authoritarian, totalitarian ideology,” he said.

Taylor believes that China is different from the Soviet Union because it is fully integrated into the global economy. Decoupling is impossible, despite the desire of outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, given China’s role in the global trade system, he said.

“It is not called a market economy with socialist characteristics for no reason,” he said.

Because of this, he said, China has become a threat to the U.S. The PRC is reasserting itself as a global power under President Xi Jinping’s leadership. It has developed its own approach to foreign policy that combines both Western and Chinese characteristics which puts China first, he said.

“That idea of putting China first clashes with the idea of putting America first,” he said. “The world is not unipolar. It never will be.”

Despite Sino-U.S. tensions being different from the previous tensions between America and the Soviet Union, Taylor is worried that continuing hostility between both countries could lead to a global catastrophe.

“There is a need to stop conflict,” he said. “There is a need to try to find a way for cooperation.”

He believes that this could be possible under the incoming Biden administration. Taylor also believes that the China-U.S. relationship not only impacts these two countries but the whole world. Having a decent relationship could lead to a more peaceful world, he said.

“The China-U.S. relationship is the world’s most important relationship right now,” he said.

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