(Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty Images)

When You’re in a Cold War, Play for Time

May 21, 2023


Detente is in the air.

On May 8, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met in Beijing—the first significant encounter since a Chinese spy balloon was spotted over Montana. True, the Chinese side couldn’t resist accusing the American side of “erroneous words and deeds,” but it was better than a frosty silence. Two days later, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, sat down in Vienna for lengthy discussions with Wang Yi, Qin’s boss. The two men weren’t exactly exchanging Maotai toasts; but at least they didn’t come to blows over Taiwan.

Niall Ferguson is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the author, most recently, of “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.” He is the founder of Greenmantle, an advisory firm, FourWinds Research, Hunting Tower, a venture capital partnership, and the filmmaker Chimerica Media. @nfergus

Originally published in Bloomberg.

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