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Imperialist Niall Ferguson Sees ‘Cold War II’ Now, But Could Quickly Become U.S.-China Hot War

May 26, 2020 (EIRNS)—Speaking May 24 on Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning program, British imperialist Niall Ferguson laid out his scenario for a worsening U.S.-China geopolitical conflict which, he predicts, could evolve into a “conventional” military conflict. He naturally leaves out the word “thermonuclear.”

Similar to a May 21 interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Ferguson, whose interview published by RNZ, is headlined “Cold War II Is Happening Now,” insists that “Cold War II” is well underway, with the crisis over China’s “effectively doing away with Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status” as the focal point. A true geopoliticians, he warns that “the U.S. government is going to respond,” because the “war” is actually occurring on many fronts—technology, Huawei, China’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, its “coverup,” etc. All of these have “only fueled the fires of anti-China sentiment in the U.S. and parts of Europe.”

And poor Ferguson is “so very worried” that the situation might evolve into a military confrontation, since, he argues, the coronavirus has dealt a “major blow” to China’s economy, creating unemployment and other serious problems which together create “a tinderbox situation for international affairs.” And, he adds,

“if history teaches us anything, it’s that when authoritarian regimes are in crisis, when they are under pressure, that is when they’re likely to do reckless things in the realm of geopolitics.” Armed conflict is of course terrible, he laments, but then, “I can well imagine a future in which Cold War II escalates and we end up in some kind of conventional conflict.”

Ferguson has nothing good to say about the way that any of the superpowers handled the pandemic, describing the U.S. government as too big and dysfunctional. As he told the Nikkei Asian Review, China’s response was equally bad, as was the European Union’s, although he is confident that the EU will not disintegrate. In the end, he concludes, the coronavirus pandemic became global because of the “fundamental systemic failure of the Chinese system,” much like the U.S.S.R.’s handling of the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Now, he says hopefully, Xi Jinping “faces political instability in the fallout from the pandemic.” The U.S., on the other hand, “risks imperial decline.” It has major fiscal imbalance, and “lacks many of the qualities that one would look for in a dominant power.” Its politics are a “terrible mess. So there is a problem, but I just don’t think China is the solution ... the Chinese system has its own pathologies which the pandemic has revealed.”

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