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What is a cold war? It is an arms race. It involves intense competition to win other states to one’s side and to deny one’s rival an expanded sphere of influence. An important economic component exists, at least in high tech sectors with dual-use potential. Espionage is “rampant” as exchanges are rife with distrust. Even if all of these elements are present, another factor is indispensable: there must be an ideological clash, showcasing the other side in a decidedly negative light and trumpeting the superiority of one’s own system and national identity. The term “cold war” has not been widely applied in the United States to the US relationship with China, but that recently has been changing abruptly, for both objective and subjective reasons. Even so, some Democrats are warning that the idea of a cold war is “Trump’s trap” to pressure Biden either to defend an unpopular China or bash it even harder, playing on Trump’s terrain.3

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