Experts from around the world said that the United States government's aggressive statements and actions toward China pose a threat to world peace. They said the potential for a Cold War waged against China, which could continue for years, is against humanity's interests.
The comments came during an online panel discussion in London on Saturday, No to the New Cold War, which featured leading analysts from China, the US, Britain, India, Canada, Venezuela and Brazil.
Martin Jacques, a former senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University and author of the book When China Rules the World, told the expert panel that the origins of the "Cold War onslaught from the United States" dates back to the 2008 financial crisis.
Jacques said the financial crisis was "completely unexpected as far as the West was concerned, and it led to a big shift in the center of gravity of power from the United States to China".
"It undermined the previous position that the Americans had held, which had underpinned their conception of the relationship between the two countries after the Nixon-Mao accord," the British scholar said. "And those two propositions were, first that China could never be a serious economic challenger to the United States, and second, China's rise was unsustainable because it didn't have a Western-style political system."
However, during 2008 and 2009, Jacques said these positions were undermined and the US came to see China as a threat to the US global hegemony.
Threat of being displaced
He pointed out that the West is now feeling the threat of being displaced.
"What this clearly shows is the inability of the United States, as the presiding hegemon of the world, to come to terms with the fact it cannot continue in that position," Jacques said. "We're going to be witnesses to a very painful process not just over the next few years but over a quite long period of America trying to prevent this trend."
He said it might take some time for the West and the US in particular to come to terms with the new reality that the world is no longer "Western dominated and Western centric".
As tensions continue to grow between the US and China over several key issues, the conflict between the two superpowers has brought on a new Cold War.
"A Cold War has started," Jacques said. "It's not becoming a Cold War, it has started."
New Cold War
He believes that the Cold War will continue unless the US shifts its position and "comes to terms with the reality that it has to share primacy in the world with China".
However, Jacques said he believes this new Cold War won't be the same as the last.
"First, China is far stronger than the Soviet Union ever was," he said. "The Soviet Union was never a serious economic challenger to the United States, and China is in a different position. China is already, in some areas, ahead of the United States and its potential and capacity is much greater than that of the United States."
He also noted that China's response won't be the same as the Soviet Union's.
"The Soviet Union went toe-to-toe on military expenditures in an arms race with the United States, which it could not afford anyway. China is not going to make that mistake," he said.
Speakers at the event also included Jenny Clegg, author of China's Global Strategy: Toward a Multipolar World; Radhika Desai, a professor at the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada; and John Ross, senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China.
"The increasing aggression against China poses a serious threat to world peace," said Clegg. "Clearly we're facing the prospect of a prolonged attack from the US against China which is likely to dominate global affairs for years to come."
She added the panel meeting was "a start of what needs to be a concerted international campaign against the new Cold War".
Ross said the threat of a Cold War is not just about the US and China, but a threat to all of humanity. He said the alternative is to "work together to fight the pandemic, to oppose war, fight climate change, to oppose every form of racism, to work together for peaceful economic development".
"Therefore, I believe for the interest of humanity, there should be a simple slogan－no Cold War," Ross added.
Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "CND opposes the Cold War on China, and we strongly believe that we must work now to prevent a hot war, a fighting war on China. This is the greatest threat to peace and justice in the world today."
Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report, said: "The Americans get nothing but war propaganda. Trump and Joe Biden outdo one another, bragging about who will be tougher on China.… We saw the US government violate international law again and close the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas."