What to watch out for if China and the US are to avoid a Thucydides Trap.
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping finally spoke.
If you were hoping for a thawing in US China relations, you will be disappointed. Days before the call Biden described America’s China policy as ‘’extreme competition’’.
Enodo Economics just published our deep dive into Biden’s China policy and his team. And our overall conclusion is that this is a hawkish team, but one which is experienced and competent.
Now both countries acknowledge that they must cooperate on certain issues, in particular the most important one – being climate change.
So I’ll argue that if you are looking for a bellwether on whether China and the US can coexist peacefully and avoid ultimately, each one trying to overpower the other, the thing to watch is the negotiations on climate change. And of course, Biden’s key climate man, John Kerry.
Biden’s China team has learned the hard way how China behaves and how it negotiates.
They understand that with China you need to negotiate each issue individually. You can’t expect to trade in one issue for the other. For example, concessions on climate change for concessions on technology. So if the two countries cannot reach an agreement on climate change, by itself when it’s clearly in the interests of both and the world as a whole, than I’d be seriously worried that they are careering going towards the infamous Thucydides Trap.