| May 21, 2020
Pluralism and freedom vs. Communist autocracy
During his Senate confirmation hearing last week to be the next director of national intelligence, Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe emphasized China is this country’s “greatest threat actor,” a status only confirmed by rising acrimony over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But though tensions are rising in the South China Sea, where U.S. Navy missions challenge China’s unsubstantiated claims of hegemony over the region, an actual war between the two powers appears unlikely.
But are the United States and China on a path to a new Cold War?
The heart of U.S.-China conflict is in the realm of ideas. Democratic principles of liberty, pluralism and freedom are antithetical to China’s autocratic Communist state and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s expanding cult of personality. Through its ubiquitous state surveillance and “Great Firewall” on online dissent, China seeks to deny its citizens freedom of expression and access to the outside world.