The world needs cooperation, not cold war

The world needs cooperation, not cold war


The following statement was issued by the CPUSA Peace & Solidarity Commission and the International Department.

What the world needs is peaceful international relations, equality, global cooperation, and development

What is needed above all in the world today is cooperation among all nations to address existential threats to humanity and indeed life on earth. What is needed now is for all nations to abide by the UN Charter, to join the Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons, to honor other nuclear weapons treaties, and to pivot national budgets to dismantling and eliminating nuclear weapons. What is needed above all is immediate action to prevent tectonic environmental shifts. All nations must act together to prevent the observable climate calamities from getting far worse and to seek out solutions to material energy needs that benefit all humankind while protecting the health of the planet. What is needed now is global collaboration to significantly reduce the pandemic through immediate universal access to vaccines and medicines. Making the world safe and humanity healthy should top the priority list of all nations. In particular, the two countries with the biggest economies and biggest impact on earth, the United States and China, along with their partners and allies have the responsibility to cooperate to these ends.

The CPUSA welcomes the joint statement by China and the U.S. on climate cooperation and demands its urgent, practical implementation and extension to other critical domains. Such offers of cooperation have to be deepened, widened, and urgently acted upon.

Yet the Biden administration and State Department policy toward China today seeks to preclude cooperation. It seeks to undercut China’s rapid economic and social development by economic and military means, force China to redirect its resources to competing militarily with the United States and its allies, compel China to retreat from its internationalist foreign policy and overthrow its socialist-oriented state to be replaced by a capitalist model subservient to U.S. imperialism. This policy is ruinous for the working class of both the U.S. and China and the rest of the world. It is ruinous to the health of the planet. It threatens to sink cooperation on enormous global challenges like nuclear war, climate change, and pandemics. It teeters on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. And it foments anti-Chinese and anti-Asian racism. The U.S. is deliberately targeting China and by implication Asians for not only the loss of U.S. jobs but also for the pandemic.

The Challenge of China’s development

The Communist Party USA recognizes the unprecedented accomplishments of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and the people of the People’s Republic of China since their revolutionary victory in 1949. From doubling life expectancy to multiplying per capita income (five-fold as fast as India since 1960) to alleviating poverty to leading the world in tackling environmental issues, China under the leadership of the CPC has made impressive humanitarian strides comparable to no other country.

China was an early leader for global climate justice, championing the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” at a meeting of Global South countries in Beijing in 1991. This principle specifies that rich countries that industrialized using coal and oil are obligated to help the poorer countries develop with green financing and technology. Since then the Chinese government has prioritized renewables and is now a world leader in hydro, solar, and wind power. Eschewing empty rhetoric, the PRC has published detailed, practical plans to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve net zero by 2060.

China’s foreign policy follows the decisions made at Bandung in April 1955 that led to the Non-Aligned Movement’s requiring fair treatment of the poor countries by the rich. The world applauds these accomplishments that benefit all humankind. The U.S. ruling class sees these accomplishments and trembles. It is these accomplishments that are turning heads and heads of state around the world. It is these accomplishments that threaten the capitalist, imperialist profits-before-people model demanded by the United States. It is these accomplishments that are driving the ruling class of the USA to promote a new Cold War with China.

Containing China

Cold War 2.0 has been initiated by the U.S. with a lot of euphemisms (“a free, open rules-based order,” “democracy vs. authoritarianism,” “strategic competition,” defense of a U.S.-led “liberal international order,” etc.) to obfuscate the real purpose of all these efforts: to reverse the decline of U.S. imperialism through force and economic war, a very dangerous proposition. Rather than seeking to prove capitalism a superior political and economic system, it seeks to contain and reverse the growth and influence of China, eventually to force regime change and maintain U.S. global supremacy. Some liberals and even some on the “left” are blaming tensions between the two countries on both the U.S. and China for the “power struggle,” pointing to a “great powers” competition for economic and military supremacy. This is a misreading of history and whitewashing of imperialism that unjustifiably places blame on both sides when the U.S. and its allies are objectively the aggressors.

President Joe Biden seeks to retain U.S. world supremacy through intimidation, sanctions, special military forces, drones, and enhancing nuclear weapons systems. In his National Security Strategic Guidance, Biden writes: “We will only succeed in advancing American interests by . . . renewing our own enduring sources of national strength,” “The United States must renew its enduring advantages so that we can meet today’s challenges from a position of strength,” and “This agenda will strengthen our enduring advantages, and allow us to prevail in strategic competition with China or any other nation.” Biden postures and mentions “strength” 36 times in this document. He calls it “America is Back.” Instead of promoting cooperation, Biden has taken Trump’s belligerent and erratic confrontation of China to a new level.

Biden’s policies promote a Cold War with not only China but also Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and other countries that resist U.S. supremacy and its global financial chokehold. Biden continues the tariffs and sanctions Donald Trump began. His policies lean toward a potential hot war with China and its major Eurasian strategic partner the Russian Federation. Provocative U.S. actions include ordering much of the U.S. Naval fleet to the borders of China; selling nuclear submarines to nonnuclear Australia (AUKUS pact), which arguably violates the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Bangkok Treaty of 1971 declaring South-East Asia a nuclear weapons free-zone and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty; and strengthening the “Quad Alliance” of the U.S., UK, India, and Japan, also aimed at militarily encircling and threatening China and placing THAAD anti-missile bases in South Korea aimed at China. Another dangerous aspect of Biden’s policies is increasingly treating Taiwan as an independent country, violating international law and the “One China” policy accepted by the United States since the 1970s. All of these military threats aimed at China will vastly expand the U.S. military, the only beneficiary of which is the military industrial complex. The consequences of militarily encircling and confronting China along with the military encirclement of the Russian Federation are dire, including raising the odds for a nuclear confrontation.

The U.S. is calling for all other countries to bow to U.S. leadership instead of supporting China’s call for multilateralism. Those promoting this belligerent, unilateralist U.S. international policy against China make comparisons to State Department diplomat George Kennan’s policy, which they consider successful. Formulated in the 1940s to counter the former Soviet Union’s growing popularity around the world, it required walling in the USSR by economic, political, and military means, or “containing” it.

Militarism or cooperation

So far China has refused to respond as if global development were a zero-sum game. At the UN in 2021, Xi Jinping, President of China, called for strengthening solidarity, mutual respect, and cooperation in conducting international relations. Even after the AUKUS pact was announced, China continued to emphasize dialog and inclusiveness over confrontation and exclusion. It calls this approach “win-win.”

This new cold war arms race will be disastrous for the working class. The expansion in U.S. military weapons sales and increase in the military budget actually hurt workers in the U.S. Despite the jobs created in making weapons, research shows every increase in the military budget decreases economic growth; for example, building a nuclear submarine is an economic dead end, while a high-speed train provides economic stimulus. Far more well-paying jobs are created in manufacturing high-speed trains, solar panels, and wind turbines; improving and expanding health care and education; and upgrading insulation in buildings than in spending the same amount of money manufacturing weapons.

A new military budget has been approved with bipartisan support by the U.S. Congress. It totals between $768 and $778 billion, greater than the next 11 nations combined, the largest military budget in U.S. history, which Congress inflated over the Biden administration’s proposal. The U.S. continues to maintain about 800 military bases abroad, all of which are ready-made to project war power against nearby states and even intimidate the government and citizens of the host country. They are locally disruptive socially, economically, and ecologically. Separately, the U.S. government has allocated nearly $2 trillion over 10 years to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. Raytheon & Northrop Grumman, large U.S. weapons producers, claim the U.S. is years behind China on hypersonic missile development, requiring massive increases in defense expenditures. This brings back memories of the bogus “missile gap” used by the U.S. to accelerate an arms race during the cold war with the Soviet Union. The alternative — spending on domestic jobs programs and rebuilding infrastructure — is economically beneficial for U.S. workers and light-years better for humanity. The U.S. foreign policy emphasis on militarily confronting China and other countries is parasitic to the Biden administration’s announced domestic spending agenda. Domestic and military spending competes for physical resources, skilled labor, scientists, and engineers.

This huge military budget is being passed by Congress with no question where the money will come from. It contrasts significantly with the fierce fight over the domestic budget and how it will be paid for: legislation needed to create jobs, improve collective bargaining, increase voter rights, paid family leave, free childcare, Medicare for All, and other important social legislation. The proposed progressive Build Back Better 10-year budget has been whittled down from $4 trillion to $1.75 trillion, and the cutting is not yet over. The U.S. government is spending as much on generating a new nuclear weapons arsenal as it is on rebuilding the whole country’s dilapidated infrastructure.

The Communist Party USA welcomes the recent joint communiqués by the U.S. and Chinese governments that the two nations will cooperate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate warming. We know, however, that there will be relentless opposition from the giant for-maximum-profits fossil fuel companies and their allies in the capitalist world. Activists in the climate movement must remain both vigilant and insistent that U.S.-Chinese cooperation leads to all necessary changes to preserve a livable climate. To be successful, climate preservation by the most developed economies must be accompanied by significant financial and technical assistance to the countries of the underdeveloped South for green energy solutions and to repair the damages resulting from extraction. The changes required for climate justice must also ensure that workers in sunsetting fossil-fuel industries are provided good alternative jobs, a just transition to the new energy economy.

Indeed, U.S. cooperation with China benefits both countries. Biden cannot accomplish a progressive domestic agenda while promoting a regressive Cold War. Biden’s cold war–mongering has gotten him no support for his domestic legislation from Republicans and very little from corporate Democrats. Even though the Build Back Better budget for infrastructure and human needs has been cut to about one-sixth the military budget, corporatists continue to whittle it down.

While cooperation between and leadership from the two largest economies in the world is critical to guarantee climate action globally, ultimately it is needed to save the planet for all its inhabitants. It is not yet clear how far capitalism will go to that end. We can only hope but at the same time must organize for such cooperation to spread to other categories of conflict to end this new Cold War.

Our position is “no” to cold war 2.0

The position of the CPUSA supports global cooperation and mutual beneficial and peaceful relations with anti-imperialist countries like socialist China, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and others. Cooperation and a coordinated plan among nations are essential to protect civilization, as humanity needs to act collectively to address devastating climate change, the COVID-19 global health crisis and future pandemics, poverty alleviation, food security, the worsening global economic crisis, and other challenges.

We Take a Stand against the New Cold War:

  • Because U.S. military actions against China pose a major war threat to humanity, including nuclear catastrophe. China, the U.S., and Russia are all nuclear-weapons powers. The U.S. and China are one blunder away from a catastrophic war over Taiwan. The U.S. says it abides by the “One China Policy,” but in contradiction at the same time it supports Taiwan independence forces — an issue of huge significance to China.
  • Because a new nuclear and conventional arms race damages the working class of all countries involved. Because the confrontation the United States is driving with China could lead to global nuclear catastrophe.
  • Because it whips up racism against Chinese and Asian Americans. China did not move manufacturing jobs to China: U.S. transnational corporations did that. China has not surrounded the U.S. with military bases and naval fleets. The U.S. has surrounded China. China did not underfund maintenance of infrastructure, overcharge for education, limit healthcare and technical research and development in the U.S. The U.S. ruling class did that. But blaming China for U.S. ruling-class actions hides the responsible parties. China’s handling of terrorism and a pandemic within its borders hardly looks drastic when compared to the failed responses by the U.S. to 9/11 and the COVID-19 crisis.

What can we do about this?

We call to drastically cut the U.S. military budget. Last year an amendment in Congress to cut it by 10% failed. A strategy to reduce it by $350 billion is included in the Poor People’s Campaign. We urge the many peace organizations to join together to demand that funds be moved from the military budget to the infrastructure and human needs of our society.

We call for the U.S. to stop trading in nuclear weapons, including delivery systems, stop upgrading its nuclear arsenal, and promptly begin seriously negotiating universal nuclear disarmament with the other nuclear-weapons powers as required in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We call for the abolition of all military alliances.

We call for the closing of all foreign military bases and returning the occupied territories to their respective nations.

We call for the U.S. to end the trade war and unilaterally imposed economic sanctions against China and all other countries.

We demand intensifying the struggle against racism.

We welcome the joint statement on China-U.S. climate cooperation and demand its urgent, practical implementation and extension to other critical domains.

We urge that all the social movements in opposition to imperialism and its cold war join in a broad popular front against war, U.S. militarism, racism, and white supremacy.


As communists and working-class internationalists, we must increase our activism in the broad front against war and offer an alternative agenda of jobs growth and global cooperation against global warming, pandemics, and other threats to humanity.

Images: U.S. China flags, USDA (public domain); Solar panels in China, Climate Group (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); U.S. Naval exercises in South China Sea, U. S. Navy (CC BY 2.0); Pentagon spending, Phillip Chapman-Bell (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); One world, no war, Charles Edward Miller (CC BY-SA 2.0).


Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer