A second cold war is tracking the first
In Washington, Beijing and Moscow, officials all say that they want to avoid a new cold war. A recent piece in the New York Times suggests they have little reason for concern. It argued that “superpower rivalries today bear little resemblance to the past”. The article pointed to Russia’s relative weakness and China’s technological prowess to underline how things have changed since the late 1940s.
Those differences exist, of course. But to me, the parallels between today’s events and the early years of the cold war look increasingly convincing, even eerie.
Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power Is Transforming the World (A New Republic Book)
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, China is poised to become a major global power. And though much has been written of China’s rise, a crucial aspect of this transformation has gone largely unnoticed: the way that China is using soft power to appeal to its neighbors and to distant countries alike.
This book is the first to examine the significance of China’s recent reliance on soft power—diplomacy, trade incentives, cultural and educational exchange opportunities, and other techniques—to project a benign national image, position itself as a model of social and economic success, and develop stronger international alliances. Drawing on years of experience tracking China’s policies in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, Joshua Kurlantzick reveals how China has wooed the world with a “charm offensive” that has largely escaped the attention of American policy makers.
Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World
With the publication of her landmark bestseller Paris 1919, Margaret MacMillan was praised as “a superb writer who can bring history to life” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Now she brings her extraordinary gifts to one of the most important subjects today–the relationship between the United States and China–and one of the most significant moments in modern history.
In February 1972, Richard Nixon, the first American president ever to visit China, and Mao Tse-tung, the enigmatic Communist dictator, met for an hour in Beijing. Their meeting changed the course of history and ultimately laid the groundwork for the complex relationship between China and the United States that we see today.