The term “Cold War” was first used in 1945 by George Orwell to represent the rivalry between the US and Soviet Union for achieving global supremacy. The conflict was termed as “Cold” because the both countries did not use weapons directly against each other, but engaged in indirect means like military coalitions, espionage, arms buildups, economic aid and proxy wars to dominate the world. The leaders of the US and Soviet Union did much to prevent the Cold War from escalating. For instances, Truman refused to use nuclear weapons in North Korea and China , aware that doing so would force the USSR to retaliate. Similarly, Moscow made sacrifices to keep the war “cold” by backing down form the Cuban missile crisis.
The US, along with its European partners, formed a military coalition called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 to prevent the spread of communism. In the response, the Soviet established a collective defense treaty known as Warsaw Pact, together with its satellite states, in 1955. Besides, the US used Pakistani airbase to fly U-2 aircrafts to spy on the activities of Moscow. The Soviet air defense forces shot it down on 1st May 1960. Moreover, the both countries engaged in arms race during the period from 1945 onwards bringing the world on the brink of complete extinction. Furthermore, Washington enacted Marshall program to provide economic aid close to $12 billion to rebuild Europe and create its influence to push back the soviet from the territory. In addition to this, Washington and Moscow engaged in proxy wars in Korea from 1950 to 1953.
There is controversy among the analysts, writers and researchers regarding the start of cold war between Washington and Moscow. Some renewed writers of International Relations believe that the cold war began in 1917, soon after the communist revolution in Russia. The Western leaders viewed communism as a spreading threat and moved to isolate Moscow as much as possible because the revolution created clash of ideologies and the US started to see the new dogma of communism as a direct threat to its political and economic system of democracy and capitalism. As a result, the fear made Washington as a new enemy and rival of Moscow. The suspicion turned into a reality after the Second World War, when the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe up to some part of Germany. However, many experts are of the opinion that the cold war emerged in 1945, after the end of Second World War, when the two ideologies finally came face to face in Europe.
The leaders of the US and Soviet Union blamed each other for the initiation of the cold war. According to the Soviet’s leaders, the US did not recognize the new communist government after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Besides, the US did not share the nuclear technology with Moscow during the war, despite working together to defeat Nazis in Germany. Moreover, it deliberately avoided engaging German on a second front during Second World War in order to take pressure off of the Soviets. Finally, president Truman of America offered postwar relief in the form of Marshall program to the European countries, but ignored the Soviets completely. As per American leaders, after the communist revolution, the Soviet Union avowedly turned against the political and economic system of the West and wished to replace it with its own ideology of communism.
The first cold war finally ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union finally disintegrated. The US became an unchallenged super power of the World and spread its political and economic ideologies like democracy and capitalism around the globe. It created monopoly in the globe until the rise of China and Russian very recently. The US, now, sees China as a core competitor that has a potential to challenge its supremacy over the global economic and political system. In order to suppress the rising power of China, the US has adopted new strategies like trade wars, reviving of old security pacts, encircling Beijing in South China Sea and so on. Many analysts consider the current rivalry between the US and rising power of China as an emergence of new cold war.
The new cold war is totally different from the old one. It will be proved more fatal and the US seems to be loser this time because China is acting smart. Firstly, the Soviet Union desired to replace the global system of democracy with communism. But, China wants democracy to prevail because it does not want to be global administrator to burden it with international conflicts. It has confined its political system to itself and does not force other countries to adopt the same ruling system. For instance, Beijing has never asked Islamabad to get rid of democracy, despite enjoying deep friendly relations. The Soviet Union did this mistake by challenging the democratic system.
Secondly, Unlike the Soviet Union, China has accepted the global economic system and is a part of World Trade Organization (WTO) and other economic institutions. It wants the global system to continue its operation. Its existing economic growth is due to the present capitalist system based on free markets. It has also allowed private companies to grow their business inside the country, while the Soviets nationalized the industries under the dogma of communism.
Thirdly, The new cold war is a trilateral war, not a bilateral struggle. It involves three major powers, the US, Russia and China. Beijing and Moscow are acting together as a single country. Besides, there 9 nuclear countries now and almost all are aligned to either China or the US. Thus, the struggle could trigger nuclear war and indulge almost all the major countries having advance weapons to fight owing to their alliances with either country.
Fourthly, Compared to the Soviet Union, China has a strong economy and defense system. The US is overestimating its power. It should realize that Russia and China are advance in technology too. The Soviet Union disintegrated because its economic position was weaker as compared to the US at that time. However, today, China is also one of the emerging economic powers.
Finally, Unlike the Soviet Union, China does not close the door of the western technology to flourish in its country. The main cause of Soviet’s fall was its lagging behind in technology as compared to the US. During 1990s, the telecommunication technology flourished in the world and the Soviets blocked it on the pretext that it would spread the Western ideologies. As a result, the US turned technological advanced and easily defeated Moscow. China welcomes the Western technology and does not block it unless it develops its alternative.
Thus, the new cold war is totally different from the previous power struggle between the US and Soviets. China has learnt from the past mistakes of the Soviet’s leaders and acting in a smart way. it seems that the new rivalry between the US and China is turning in the favour of Beijing. The both countries, instead of wasting their energies against each other should work together for the better future of the globe.