The widening gap between the world powers on the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean has, at present, become noticeable more than ever.
This claim was backed up by the sensational and rousing speech by French President Emmanuel Macron in the German federal parliament (the Bundestag), his reemphasis on forming a united European army and the necessity of standing against US unilateral policies and, more importantly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel voicing strong support for him and his remarks.
This came as addressing a trade conference in Paris last week, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the world currently faced a new Cold War over trade triggered by tensions between China and the US, describing as perilous Washington’s trade policies toward Beijing.
“The real risk now is that we enter into a Cold War between China and the United States,” said Le Maire, “in which all countries, including Europe, come out losing. This open trade war will be economic suicide for the whole world. It is quite simply stupid.”
On the other hand, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping harshly lambasted egocentric US economic policies, calling on the world to unite against it.
In addition, Moscow is on its toes to react duly in the face of Washington’s belligerent policies following the US’ threat of a unilateral withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia — dating from the Cold War, that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades — and the plan by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to deploy more US nuclear weapons in Europe.
Apparently, the growing differences between Europe and the US on the one hand, and an increase in Washington’s hostilities toward Beijing and Moscow, on the other, are inevitably laying the groundwork for a second Cold War.
In fact, the international community is currently witnessing attempts by Donald Trump to shape his latest political behavior in the international arena: An ongoing effort to launch a second Cold War.
This new round of Cold War has already been started by the US with the Trump administration adopting the populistic and nationalistic “America First” policy, declaring a trade war on all its trade partners, resorting to sanctions towards countries that are against its strategies, deploying more nuclear weapons in Europe and pulling the US out of the INF.
There are, however, a number of differences between the first and second Cold Wars:
While the first Cold War was based on a bipolar and ideological and military confrontation, the second one is being launched in a globalized and multipolar atmosphere characterized by economic domination-seeking efforts.
During the first Cold War, the US had the upper hand and global support. However, in the second one, it has turned into an isolated member of the international community, failing to receive any international support.
The most important feature of the present Cold War is that a united Europe has lined up against the US, putting up a global front characterized by multilateralism in the face of US unilateralism.
China, a military power and the world’s second largest economy, along with Russia, is capable of dealing severe military and economic blows to the US in a second Cold War.
The second Cold War launched by the US is, in essence, aimed at compelling other states to pay ransom to Washington, depriving the Trump administration of any international credit.
In the present Cold War, unlike the previous one, the US is no longer a global superpower and sees its political influence over the international community waning.
A report issued by the US National Defense Strategy Commission, whose board members are appointed by the House and Senate Armed Services committees, claimed Washington would be at risk of losing a major war with either key rivals, Russia and China.
The extent of the growing US unilateralism has led Europe to shift focus from Washington to the East.
Apparently, unlike the first one, the probable outcome of the second Cold War for the US would be nothing but a fiasco for the country.
* Hossein Ziaee is a freelance Iranian journalist.