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U.S.-China Relations Have a Foreboding Precedent

The changing world order looks uncomfortably like the pre-World War I rivalry between Britain and Germany.

U.S.-China Relations Have a Foreboding Precedent

The changing world order looks uncomfortably like the pre-World War I rivalry between Britain and Germany.

Feel the tension.

Feel the tension.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Xi Jinping Could Make the Same Mistakes as Kaiser Wilhelm II — Andreas Kluth

Feel the tension.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Animosity between China and the U.S. was already bad when the year started, and it just keeps getting worse. Whether the two powers are hurling accusations over Covid-19, shutting each other’s consulates, rattling sabers in the South China Sea, escalating their trade war, or simply vilifying each other in speeches, they appear headed for ever more bitter clashes.

Some say this is a new Cold War. But that label doesn’t quite fit, because nothing about the standoff seems frozen, and the rest of the world is not (or not yet) split into opposing camps. This is a different kind of rivalry — one that will touch every aspect of global politics, economics, technology and finance as it heats up, and could one day end in a hot war.

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