Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, President Biden claimed the US does not seek a “Cold War” with China despite recent steps by Washington to rally allies against Beijing.
“We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” Biden said, without mentioning Beijing by name. His remarks came a day after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned against a new Cold War between the US and China and called on the two powers to fix their “dysfunctional relationship.”
While he claimed the US doesn’t want a Cold War, Biden had previously framed the US-China relationship as an ideological competition between “democracy” and “autocracy.” He has also said the US is in competition with China to “win the 21st century.”
Besides the rhetoric, Biden has taken steps to form blocs against China. Last week, the US, UK, and Australia announced a new military pact, known as AUKUS, aimed to counter China by increasing technology sharing. Under the deal, Canberra will get nuclear-powered submarines and the US will deploy more troops, aircraft, and missiles to Australia.
Later this week, Biden is hosting the leaders of Japan, Australia, and India in Washington. The four nations make up the Quad, a group that is seen as a possible foundation for a NATO-style alliance in Asia, and the meeting will be the Quad’s first in-person summit.
Pointing to the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden also said during his speech that the US is ending an era of “relentless war” and opening a new era of “relentless diplomacy.” Biden claimed that for the first time in 20 years, the US is “not at war.” But the US is still waging drone wars, has troops deployed in Iraq and Syria, and is expanding special operations across Africa.
Part of Biden’s “relentless diplomacy” includes the threat and use of economic sanctions. Several countries are under crushing US sanctions that amount to economic blockades. The goal of these brutal sanctions regimes are to crash the economy of the target countries, and those on the reviving end consider such a policy an act of war. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi told the UN Tuesday that sanctions “are the US’s new way of war with the nations of the world.”