This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

The US-China rivalry is not a new cold war, and it's dangerous to ...

(Image: Susan Walsh/AP)

The US-China rivalry is not a new cold war, and it’s dangerous to call it that

Mario Del Pero

Guardian

A “new cold war” has become almost a default description of the current rivalry between the United States and China. Some structural similarities do indeed exist with the post-second world war global stage, when the Soviet Union was pitted against the US.

Just as, say, in 1950, we live now in a sort of bipolar system. In terms of economic power, military might, global influence and ability to pollute the planet, two powers – China and the US – clearly stand in a league of their own. And just as during the cold war, this bipolarism is spurious and asymmetrical: simply put, one side – the US – is way more powerful and influential than the other. The similarities end, however, with this systemic parallel. As is often the case when thinking analogically, invoking a cyclical vision of history obfuscates more than it clarifies. More importantly, such thinking produces policy prescriptions – such as promoting an aggressive “containment” of China – which, in addition to being based on a superficial and misleading reading of history, are at best useless and at worst outright dangerous. (Read more)

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This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

Roger Stone

(Image: Mary F. Calvert/Reuters)

Stone Walks Free in One of the Greatest Scandals in American History

David Frum

Atlantic

Roger Stone’s best trick was always his upper-class-twit wardrobe. He seemed such a farcical character, such a Klaxon-alarm-from-a-mile-away goofball—who could take him seriously?

Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen: They had tradecraft. They didn’t troll people on Instagram or blab to reporters. They behaved in the way you would expect of people betraying their country: conscious of the magnitude of their acts, determined to avoid the limelight.

Stone could not have been more different. He clowned, he cavorted, he demanded limelight—which made it in some ways impossible to imagine that he could have done anything seriously amiss. Bank robbers don’t go on Twitter to announce, “Hey, I’m going to rob a bank, sorry, not sorry.” Or so you’d expect. (Read more)

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