Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

The Age of Uneasy Peace

Chinese Power in a Divided World

In early October 2018, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a searing speech at a Washington think tank, enumerating a long list of reproaches against China. From territorial disputes in the South China Sea to alleged Chinese meddling in U.S. elections, Pence accused Beijing of breaking international norms and acting against American interests. The tone was unusually blunt—blunt enough for some to interpret it as a harbinger of a new Cold War between China and the United States.

Such historical analogies are as popular as they are misleading, but the comparison contains a kernel of truth: the post–Cold

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