If there was a new cold war between China and the US, who would be on what side?

This is a pure speculation thread, though honestly I think we are on the brink of a new cold war right now, personally. That is probably not a popular or agreed upon conclusion though, so for the purpose of this thread let’s say that it happens. A new cold war between the US and China is a reality. Who do you think would side with China, who with the US…and who attempt to stay neutral, assuming either side would allow that? This thread came out of a discussion this weekend with some friends of mine from the UK who were saying that a lot of mainland Europe, especially Germany seem to be moving further from the US and more heavily into the Chinese sphere. Personally, I find this hard to believe, though I do know that there is a lot of frustration over Trump, but this was the claim. This got me thinking…who WOULD side with the US in a new cold war, and who with China? And who would attempt to straddle the fence? I have my own ideas on this, and in a break from my usual threads I’ll put those down.

I think countries that would side with the US are our traditional allies, as well as countries who are both threatened by the CCPs expansion and aren’t too heavily entwined with China economically, or at least who see the threat as greater than the benefit. The UK I think would side with the US, as would Australia, Japan, Canada, and Taiwan. Those are countries I’m pretty confident would side with the US, or at least see their interested more aligned with the US than with China. Countries I’m less sure of, or who aren’t traditional allies but who I think might side with the US to an extent are India, South Korea, much of Western Europe, and much of Eastern Europe as well. Russia will never align directly with the US, but I think they won’t fully be in China’s camp either, but instead play their own game. Vietnam will I think align more with the US, as they definitely see the threat, though again I don’t think this will be a full alignment. Mexico I think will more align with the US than China, though I’m unsure of the level. I think the Philippines will align with China, though I don’t think fully, as will several countries in Central and South America as well as in Africa. Iran of course is already aligned with China and I think with the recent deals that will be even more tight. I’m unsure of the rest of the Middle East, but Saudi will probably align more with the US than with China. North Korea, of course, will continue to align with China, probably even more tightly as they are almost completely dependent on China now.

What say you, 'dopers? What countries do you see fully aligning with one or the other, which ones do you see straddling the fence or trying to stay neutral?

North Korea and maybe Pakistan side solidly with China. Maybe Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria because they definitely ain’t gonna side with us. Maybe some nut job like Bolsonaro in Brazil says he’ll be on China’s side it won’t last. The Africa countries where China has been making investments might stick with them as long as the money keeps flowing in.

So in this Cold War it’s the number of countries that stay neutral that will matter. If enough of them continue to do business with China this would go on a long time. If not it’s all over soon because China has no other hand. Which is why I don’t think it will happen.

Well, I thought that there already was a sort of cold war going on with the PRC already, or have I missed a Trump tweet somewhere?

Trump seems to be gunning for a trade war, which is seriously %&$#ing silly IMHO, as the PRC has more chance of winning. The fact that Our Donald is also trying to arm-twist his traditional allies, and anybody he feels can be safely roped in, to toe the current and somewhat erratic US line is not going to win him friends if the chips are down. Europe is not in desperate need of the USA and its military any more, and increasingly feels it doe not want to get dragged into conflicts that essentially only serve US interests.

Another major issue is that the PRC is the big up and coming economic power, and also a big market for Western entrepreneurs. What we will see in the next few years will be massive Chinese investment abroad, and Europe would love to have some of the action. Or more of it: if the wind is in the right direction I can hear Chinese investment literally at work, in a new automotive parts plant about three fields away. From an econoic point of view, Europe does not want to get into a pissing match with the PRC. And the UK? Do some people there see the PRC as the Great Hope that will save Britain, the Queen and afternoon tea? Possibly, as the UK currently seems to be currently led by a bunch of inept, sticky-fingered weirdos who think they can turn the clock back to about 1950.

So, Europe won’t snap to attention of a trade war is called. Nor will it be called to heel if Trump decides he wants a shooting war. Just possibly the current government might support the USA in such a case, but the populace certainly would not. The rest of Europe would tell Trump to stop, it would try to help negotiate and defuse matters, but if push came to shove it would tell Trump to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. All in polite diplomatic language, of course. Much the same applies to Canada and Australia.

The Third World? Either active support for China or a demonstrative lack of support for the USA.

In short, we can only hope that Trump exits stage left on schedule in January and the new POTUS takes a more rational and friendly line.

I’m not sure so many countries formerly counted as our allies would be on our side. We haven’t been on THEIR side so much lately.

I don’t think the US and China would follow dynamics anything like US and USSR did. Neither the US nor Chine possesses a large network of solid allies who’s fate is tied to them the way the US and USSR had NATO and Warsaw Pact. Both have a few states with close ties that would probably be closely aligned, like the UK, Taiwan, and and Canada for the US, or North Korea for China. But other countries have no particular reason to tie themselves to either country’s fate.

Certainly Russia will continue to cause as much trouble as it can, especially to the US, and will consider itself its own camp. While Japan has little reason to be friendly to China, I also don’t think they will continue to act as a satellite of the US. Most of Europe is extremely skeptical of the US at this point, and certainly would see no reason to get more entangled with an unstable country in a conflict that’s geographically distant from them. I would expect most of the world to be non-entangled - they might enter agreements with the US or China, but will be willing to negotiate various deals in peaceful circumstances, and try to stay out in violent circumstances.

Only countries that are 100% hostile to the United States (countries that we’re 100% hostile to) would take get completely in bed with China. Smart countries are going to find ways to hedge their bets.

In another era, Western and/or liberal democratic countries would side overwhelmingly with the U.S. while leaving some space to have a working relationship with China. Unfortunately, though, the US is increasingly behaving like the kind of authoritarian state that we have claimed to be fighting against. I don’t mean that we’re becoming Nazi Germany or North Korea, but we’re a fading democracy and becoming more of a hybrid authoritarian/democracy or flawed democracy.

Worse, we’re becoming nationalist and isolationist - and incompetent at solving problems with global implications. The way we’ve handled COVID-19 is a huge eye-opener that we won’t soon live down. If you’re a traditional ally like Australia or New Zealand, or even Japan and S Korea, as much as you’d like to count on the United States as an alternative to China’s growing influence in the region, you’re no longer in a position to do so. The US has left these countries no choice but to hedge and spread some of the political and economic risk around.

I’d be of the view that most of your allies from the Cold War would remain on-side, perhaps more resigned than enthusiastic.
We are still hopeful that the volume and velocity of shit being hurled at us can be restored to more traditional levels, plus the occasional Twinkie.

The bloc that might sway from allies to neutral would be the African continent.
The Middle East recognise an imperialist power and hegemony regardless of the flag they march under.

I doubt it. There’s just no benefit to Western Europe for taking the side of the US against China unless it happens to align with what Europe wants against China. Japan has been taking more of an independent stance, and I think this would just accelerate that. And unlike the previous cold war, no one has confidence that US foreign policy will be sane and measured, or stay reasonably consistent - it’s clear that the US (with Russian help!) is capable of electing a leader who will behave erratically and destroy traditional alliances and understandings, and quite possibly provoke a major war. I just don’t see the benefit to throwing your lot in with the US.

Another major military difference: In the Cold War, the US was the most capable combatant in the event of a nuclear war. While ‘winning’ a large-scale nuclear exchange is essentially impossible, the US was constantly in the lead on developing new technologies and had an arsenal large enough and defended enough to destroy anyone else, and at various points was the only power who might have been able to succeed at a knock-out first strike. As we’re seeing now, the US is hugely incompetent and unprepared against biological warfare or information warfare. Russia has done huge damage with ‘fake news’, elections, and information leaks, and a natural disease has the country wrecked indefinitely while the rest of the Western world and China shrugged it off in a matter of weeks or months. This doesn’t bode well for the US’s ability to handle a major conflict.

I mean, how many dumbasses do you expect to plant a random packet of seeds they get from China or a central asian country? I expect that we will find that the answer will be a positive number.

Pakistan and North Korea will definitely take China’s side, as mentioned above.

Japan and Taiwan most definitely would be on the American side. South Korea…harder to tell. They are a rival to Taiwan in semiconductors and also dislike Japan due to bad history. Seoul may opt to sit this one out on the sidelines and emerge as the strong economy when it’s all over.

Australia…probably on the U.S. side, but since they are so far away it’s hard to see what help they could do, other than offer up some intel and maybe interdict Chinese shipping near Australian waters (particularly the Strait of Malacca.) New Zealand will probably be neutral.

ASEAN nations are hard to tell, they have a lot of reason to fear or dislike China, especially given its claims in the South China Sea, but also really want Chinese investment money.

Russia…probably siding with China slightly, but not offering much real aid. Probably stand back and poke the U.S. with indirect means like hacking, cyberattacks, etc. but not actually engage in any real combat.

India would be a key ally. It will probably be on the U.S. side just because Pakistan will ally with China, and also the recent Chinese attack on the border really hardened a lot of Indians against Beijing.

A lot of this will depend on who’s the U.S. president. Trump is so odious to many that even if many U.S. allies begrudgingly acknowledge deep down the need to confront China or spend more on defense or whatnot, they will feel like not doing so just to spite Trump. That being said, since Trump has only a few months left in office, it will probably be a non-factor. If Biden were willing to cobble together an anti-China alliance, he could do so much more effectively than Trump, but I’m not sure he would be willing to.

As the US becomes less powerful and less influential in Asia, I look for other Asian countries to use the US just long enough to start building up their own capabilities.

Ideally we are less than 100 days from the lame duck session.
Given the incompetence of this administration it would be difficult to see them starting a hot, cold or trade war by then.
It’s patently no certainty but we have backed horses with longer odds than that before.

Yeah, agreed, but isn’t that Eurozone-US alignment the most probable situation?

The US has demonstrated that someone like Trump can take over and collapse agreements on a whim. Despite all that he’s done he maintains significant support - he has not dropped below 40% approval, and those voters are not going to vanish at the end of 2020. Until 2016, the US elected statesmen who had a desire to leave a good legacy and maintained a lot of diplomatic norms, but we’ve now demonstrated that we are happy to elect someone who is willing to break all kinds of norms, stir the pot in international relations on a whim, and trash long-standing agreements.

Tying yourself to a country that is willing to elect people who you can’t rely on to have your back seems a really poor way to survive until the next century. The problem is not ‘what will this administration do before next february’, it’s ‘what does this administration show us about who America is willing to put into office and what are they willing to do to allies’

But why would they choose to side with the US in a cold war against China? I don’t expect them to stop working and trading with the US, and I certainly expect them to side with the US on many issues, but I don’t see them aligning themselves as strictly pro-US, anti-China. I especially don’t see them entering into an anti-China alliance, NATO will probably stay but will continue to only apply to an attack in North America or Europe, not the Pacific or Asia.

That’s just a fact of life for any non-super power. It’s called being pragmatic.
And on that basis we have survived into the next century fine, thank you.

You seem to be under the delusion that America was a paragon of global virtue right up until 2016. That the rest of us grew fat off the American milch cow. But every POTUS since “It’s morning in America”, and prior have happily sold their allies down the Swanee, imposed fascist dictators over the elected, started wars over fantasies and meddled in global trade for the sake of mid-west votes in the lead-up to any full or half term election.

Hubris and Nemesis.

It would be a pity, and I do retain hopes of a renaissance but Bush I’s 1992 “The American way of life is not negotiable” might represent an aptly ironic epitaph.

I have no earthly idea how you’re getting that from what I wrote. I said nothing about being a paragon of global virtue, or about anyone ‘getting fat’ off of the American “milch cow” - and I’m not even sure what the German spelling is supposed to signify there.

Well…yeah. That’s pretty much why any country aligns with any other or any group. Self interest. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s all about self interest. And I can think of plenty of reasons why Western Europe would rather align with the US than with China. I’m sure you could think of several yourself.

Sure, that’s true to an extent, but you don’t seem to consider the converse. Does anyone have any confidence in China and the CCP for, well, anything? I’d have to go with no, at least for any potential US ally. That’s the thing about posters on this board…they are so focused on the US, or Trump or Democrat verse Republican that they lose sight of anything else, don’t consider anything else that’s going on in the world. The US may look like a bad bet to people completely focused on Trump or focused on the bad things happening in the US or just how bad the US is…but in contrast to the CCP, Xi and China and all the myriad things going on there right now the US doesn’t look so bad. Then you have to consider our markets and the underlying strength of the country, regardless of the current idiot in charge.

Again, you look at the weakness on one side (the purported weakness based on your own, IMHO biased and flawed reasoning) without considering…how does China stack up on any of those things? Or militarily in general? Do you know? Do you understand what their capabilities are, but real and perceived verse the real and perceived capabilities that people associate with the US?

Oh, I have no doubts that a lot of folks think China is some sort of military and economic giant who’s time has come without understanding that they have feet of clay resting on sand…rapidly eroding sand. I also have no doubts that many countries will align with China just to get some of that sweet China money…or what they think of is sweet China money…and once they are in the trap they are China’s. But I think many countries are going to understand both the risks and the flaws of aligning with China, and I think a lot countries are starting to worry about how stable China is…and how expansionist. It’s a bad combination, and I think you are underestimating how threatened and alarmed many countries are by China…and overestimating how looked down the US actually is, or how weak you think we are. I guess time will tell. Myself, I expect the CCP to be finished in this decade, if not in the next year or so, if things continue the way they have been going recently. Right now, I think China is on a knife edge…and a lot of it’s wounds are self inflicted. The US? We have a shitty president who will almost certainly be gone by January. We have a lot of racial baggage that we are still working out…and have been for over a hundred years. We are in the midst of some of our own self inflected wounds due to Covid. We certainly have issues. But, fundamentally, we are strong even if not exactly united.

Ultimately nations that have had major investment from China all have a specific weakness.

Their major trading markets are all the Westernised nations - China’s unfair trade arrangements make them a poor market for most countries except in the high end luxury market which is already the province of Westernised high end manufacturers.

Although Pakistan might wish to align with China, it just does not have a market there for its products - nothing it produces can undercut the Chinese competition.

There may well be some attempts to play both ways by the former non-aligned nations but trade markets will always win out.

The Achilles heel of China is one they have had for centuries - they are happy to export for cash (in the past it was silver) but not so ready to import and until they become a viable destination for products their economy can be held to ransom.

The only reason that so much industry moved to China was the neo-liberal idea of world trade which has pretty much screwed the working peoples of the rest of the world - cut that string and those companies have to relocate back again - and that would make things more expensive but would also lead to employment and jobs elsewhere - it would look very good to Republican supporters , despite the fact that neo-liberal republicanism is what led to the export of industry into China in the first place.

I agree India would take the US side, but you have it slightly backwards - Pakistan allies with China mostly because India and China hate each other’s guts.

I’d imagine most African countries would throw in with China, as China has had significant investment in sub-Saharan Africa. IIRC, a number of countries in West Asia have a lot of ties with China (even though China is engaged in significant persecution of it’s Muslim minority).

But where would sub-Saharan Africa sell their products? To China? and why would China need products that it no longer has a market for?

They wouldn’t be selling manufactured products, but instead raw materials and resources. That’s what China wants. Though ‘sell’ in this case is a bit of a mushy point, as China has used it’s debt trap diplomacy to essentially ‘buy’ up a lot of the infrastructure and access to the resources and weighed those nations down in debt, often at the behest or benefit of the ruling elites in those nations and not to the benefit of most of the people there. But I’d say that they will or would throw in with China as ISiddiqui indicated. Most of the countries that would or will are in similar boats, though the level of crushing debt or other hold China has on them varies.