Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we’ve heard a lot about anti-Asian racism. From New York to San Francisco, there have been reports of slurs, taunts, and violence. Recently, several horrific attacks committed by young black men against the elderly have caught national attention.

Numerous Asian American activists and political leaders have blamed former President Trump, noting that his use of the terms “Kung Flu,” “China virus” or “Chinese virus” has led to the increase in racism and violence.

COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have turned race and racism into hot topics in both the United States and China. Throughout the pandemic, President Trump has been condemned as a racist for labeling the coronavirus “Kung Flu,” “China virus,” and “Wuhan virus.”

Meanwhile, protestors and rioters throughout the country—from New York to Minneapolis to Portland—have been violently assailing America as one big racist enterprise for the past two plus months. China has eagerly fanned this narrative to deflect criticisms of its human rights abuses.

Washington seems to be having conflicts with Beijing on almost every front. There’s everything from the trade war to China’s culpability in spreading the coronavirus to its repression of civil liberties in Hong Kong. News headlines regularly scream about a new Cold War between the United States and China. 

Are we in a new Cold War with China? China would be a much more formidable enemy than Iraq, the Taliban, or ISIS. How should the United States confront China in multiple realms—economic, political, military, public health, human rights—while avoiding an unintentional war?