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Strategic Competition Act: The US targeting China through Cold War politics?

Author: Zhu Ying

Affiliation: Shanghai Normal University

Organization/Publisher: Think China

Date/Place: May 18, 2021/Hong Kong

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 2195 

Link:https://www.thinkchina.sg/strategic-competition-act-us-targeting-china-through-cold-war-politics

Keywords: China-US Competition, Cold War, Soviet Union, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy

Brief: 

A bill that targets China called “the Strategic Competition Act” was introduced in the US Senate by the Committee on Foreign Relations on April 22nd, and its highlights show that US foreign policy towards China today is similar to its policy towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In April 1950, the Policy Planning Staff under the US State Department drafted the “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” and submitted the paper to the National Security Council, which was known as document NSC-68. NSC-68, often quoted as a blueprint for US global strategy during the Cold War, presented the US containment of the Soviet Union.  The Strategic Competition Act is similarly being presented as the strategy to counter China in global competition, and it also draws the US’s strategic change in the 21st century. The author points out three similar patterns between the Strategic Competition Act and NSC-68. First, the strategy towards China in the Strategic Competition Act is approved by both political parties in the US, just like the NSC-68 during the Cold War. Second, both US parties accept the concept of bipolarity for China-US relations, just like they drew US-Soviet bipolarity. Third, US’s greatest threat is defined in both NSC-68 and the Strategic Competition Act. However, the author acknowledges that the Strategic Competition Act is not a simple repetition of history, and that there may be some differences found between NSC-68 and the Strategic Competition Act. For instance, military competition was the core competition during the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union. While today, economic and technological competition are the focus in the US-China competition. 

By: Salman Nugraha, CIGA Research Intern

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