Martin Jacques and Zhang Weiwei discuss why the great majority of Western commentary on China is misleading, ill-informed, simplistic and hopelessly biased. No real effort is made to understand China except in the most superficial terms. Western forecasts about China have proved hugely wide of the mark, be it concerning the economy or the stability and longevity of the Chinese government. Even when it is crystal-clear that China has performed brilliantly – most notably on the pandemic – the Western media has made little or no attempt to report the fact, preferring to smear and demonise. In the long run the West would be better served by honesty, sobriety and the truth. Because China’s rise is here to stay.

How to understand the growing tensions between China and the US? How to characterise this new era which started in 2016 with the election of Trump? Is it really a New Cold War, as it is frequently described? How long will it last? How will it end? No, it is not a repeat of the Cold War 1.0; it is different. It will last a long time. It is already nearly five years old. The Cold War lasted 42 years. The cooperative era in US-China relations lasted 44 years. So it would be surprising if this new acrimonious era did not last at least two decades, perhaps much longer. How will it end: very differently to the way the Cold War ended.

In 2001, the United States believed that it could do anything, that it walked on water. It completely misread the world and its own power. It believed the world was unipolar when it was multi-polar. It thought that it had no rivals when already China was rising rapidly. In response to 9/11, it embarked on two catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which resulted in a huge loss of life and humiliating American defeats. Together with the home-grown Western financial crisis in 2008, they hastened America’s decline. Read more >

In this 30 minute interview, Martin Jacques discusses what America’s humiliating defeat in Afghanistan means for it and for the world. The last twenty years have been disastrous for the US, greatly reducing its standing in the world. There has been a chronic failure of political, economic and political leadership. And now there is no way back. Its influence is much diminished. What does all this mean for the so-called new Cold War?

The US has suffered total humiliation in Afghanistan. The US and its puppet regime had no popular support. The Taliban did. Over the last 20 years Western interventionism has been an abject failure. The US’s role as a global power will never recover from the defeats suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Libya and Syria. The US hugely overestimated its strength and has paid a massive price. In 2001 it believed that its unipolarity would last indefinitely and that the new century would be an American century. China, for sure, will not make the same kind of mistake in Afghanistan. It is a very different kind of power.Illustration: Liu Rui/GT Read more >

The G7 meeting in June was an eloquent illustration of the extent to which the G7 has been seriously side-lined by China’s rise. Once the G7 effectively ruled the world, now its power and authority have visibly drained away. Biden had hoped to mobilise European support for his anti-China crusade but predictably he didn’t get very far. Read more >

There is virtually zero knowledge or understanding of the Chinese Communist Party in the West. It is seen as a clone of the Soviet Communist Party. In reality it is entirely different. It has been extraordinarily successful, not just transforming China but is also in the process of changing the world. Everyone needs to know about CPC and understand the reasons that lie behind its extraordinary success.

The pandemic has played a central role in the worsening relationship between the US and China. It was Trump’s pivotal weapon in shifting US public opinion against China. As a result, in the West Covid-19 was always dominated by geo-politics rather than science. One of the best illustrations of the West’s attempts to politicise the issue has been the demand for an independent international team to be sent to China to investigate the causes and origins of the virus. It felt like a return to the nineteenth century when China enjoyed little sovereignty. Now, of course, things are very different as the West keeps discovering. Perhaps a more apposite proposal would be  an international investigation into the dismal failure of the West’s handling of the pandemic…

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

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