A cold war, really?

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The formula has been looping for some time: we would be on the threshold of a new cold war. It would feature the United States and China, who would be fighting for a new partition of the world, and each, in this quarrel, would have to choose his side.

But the formula is misleading, and is based on a questionable historical analogy. The Cold War, as we know, was between the United States and the USSR or to put it more broadly, the democratic bloc and the communist bloc.

It put in opposition two “revolutionary” countries claiming to impose their model of society on the world. This opposition was, in a way, internal to Western civilization, even though it had spread throughout the world.

United States

The Cold War thus unfolded on all continents, even though it initially divided Europe. It was also the fall of the Berlin Wall that symbolized the end of this era. The end of the division of Europe represented the end of the Cold War, in which some wanted to see a third world war not saying its name.

The emerging world is undoubtedly conflictual, but does not really submit to this scheme.

The emerging conflict will be rather multipolar, as they say. It does not stage two universal ambitions, but large civilizational blocks in a classic power struggle, where everyone intends to dominate while knowing that they will not play the role of hyper-power.

Everyone claims to have their natural area of ​​influence, but knows that they no longer have the means to impose their will. It is possible that this return to conflict is in some ways a return to normalcy. It is not the spirit of harmony that dominates human history, but the sense of conflict.

We will add that this conflicting world will be made up of other major players, among them Russia, South America and the Islamic world.

And we don’t really know what will become of Europe in this game. Will it be left to orbit by the United States for a long time or will it find a way to make its own voice heard and promote its own interests? ?

Moreover, the Western world itself is intimately divided between two visions of itself.

On the one hand, we find those who, in the name of globalization, neoliberalism and cosmopolitanism, intend to create a universal civilization.


On the other, we find those who want to revive sovereignties and national identities, and who are generally accused of falling into “populism” or even of flirting with the extreme right.

These two schools of thought clash in a more or less radical way in each country and it is not clear how they could find common ground.

This is perhaps, from this point of view, the real new cold war, which divides the Western world. It pits globalists against sovereignists, cosmopolitans against nationalists. This clash is not superficial.

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