The most common analogy for the US-China rivalry is the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, but Malaysian academic Ngeow Chow Bing thinks that the Sino-Soviet rivalry in the 1960s could also offer a lesson or two for the US and China, especially in staying ideologically flexible and maintaining communication between competing nations.
Researcher Wei Da observes that amid increasing US-China tensions and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, US strategists are rethinking the way they see China and Russia. This revised worldview keenly shapes their calculations of various flashpoints, not least the Ukraine war and the Taiwan issue.
Researcher Wei Da notes that the end of the Cold War left many questions unanswered, including the role of ideological tussles and the clash of civilisations. Among other things, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine shows that a truly strong state is one with a limited government and a developed civil society. The international community has been jolted into action, and it is time to recognise that there is still some way to go to achieve modernisation.
Fifty years after Nixon's visit to China, some Western analysts have opined that China is tilting back towards Russia, and the new Cold War has begun. However, Chinese analyst Zheng Weibin believes that the current Ukraine crisis actually marks the true end of the Cold War. Not only would Russia be less effective with exerting its influence over its former republics, but the West has demonstrated stronger unity. He cautions that while the West likes to liken China to Russia, the two are totally different kinds of nations with very different mindsets. To move forward and achieve mutual growth, both China and the West need to put aside the Cold War mentality and embrace the current world for what it is.
Professor Wang Gungwu was a keynote speaker at the webinar titled “The New Maritime Silk Road: China and ASEAN” organised by the Academy of Professors Malaysia. He reminds us that a sense of region was never a given for Southeast Asia; trade tied different peoples from land and sea together but it was really the former imperial masters and the US who made the region “real”. Western powers have remained interested in Southeast Asia through the years, as they had created the Southeast Asia concept and even ASEAN. On the other hand, China was never very much interested in the seas or countries to its south; this was until it realised during the Cold War that Southeast Asia and ASEAN had agency and could help China balance its needs in the maritime sphere amid the US's persistent dominance. The Belt and Road Initiative reflects China’s worldview and the way it is maintaining its global networks to survive and thrive in a new era. This is an edited transcript of Professor Wang’s speech.
Analyst Zheng Weibin says that while the China-US competition is a tussle for power that some would compare to the Cold War of the 20th century, digital technology is making all the difference in the 21st century. Today's competition is taking place amid changing definitions of national strength and economic power, and China needs to catch up in terms of growing its digital economy and meeting the challenges that come with it.
Based on the experience of the Cold War, the US can see merit in letting the enemy undo itself in its strategy against China. For the Soviet Union, it was the ills of Stalinist socialism and the failure of the command economy. For China, will its inherent contradictions lead to its own unravelling?
The CCP has much to be proud of on the 100th anniversary of its founding on 1 July. Coincidentally, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)’s demise. Chinese leaders have learnt much from the Soviet Union’s experience, not least the importance of a people-centric approach. In fact, the party is undergoing a grand synthesis of its reforms to chart the country’s way forward. However, amid problems such as regional disparities and insatiable expectations, fresh solutions need to be found. The CCP also needs to present a brand new image of itself in the international arena.