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U.S. Cold War Strategy against China

Below is a summary of a lecture given by Dr. John Lenczowski, IWP Founder, President Emeritus, and Chancellor, on the topic of “U.S. Cold War Strategy against China.” The lecture was given as a part of IWP’s China Lecture Series sponsored by the China/Asia Program. It took place at IWP’s Reston campus on January 25, 2023. 

This summary was written by Jack Mauter, Candidate for a Master’s degree in Strategic Intelligence Studies at IWP.

For decades, there has been an undeclared Cold War between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Though the CCP denies this and claims to seek peaceful relations with the U.S., its actions are classic Cold War tactics designed to undermine a U.S.-led international order. The U.S. has failed to properly respond to these actions and is currently treating China as a competitor, not an adversary. To have an effective Cold War strategy, the U.S. must learn from what worked in the previous Cold War and recognize the ideological differences between the U.S. and the CCP.

The ideological foundation of any nation is one of the most important factors in understanding it and predicting what it is going to do next. The CCP’s DNA is unambiguously totalitarian, and, while this gives the CCP a monopoly rule over China, it also causes a crisis of legitimacy. This is the main vulnerability of the CCP and causes it to fear its own people, as well as any democratic or Western ideology.

Communist regimes not only fear the truth, they fear the instantaneity of information.

The Cold War against the Soviet Union taught the U.S. that we must implement policies that are offensive and have a clearly defined goal. The U.S. must learn from the first Cold War and target the CCP where it is most vulnerable — its legitimacy. The U.S. should not just be defensive and must offer an alternative to Communism and totalitarianism. To accomplish this, the U.S. needs to remind the Chinese people of the crimes of the current regime and offer them a positive political alternative. By offering the truth and hope, the U.S. can encourage the Chinese people to resist the CCP and bring about a peaceful China.

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