Blame narratives over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic are deepening rifts between the U.S. and China, according to Javed Ali, Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School. In a co-authored op-ed featured in The Hill on April 23, Ali asserts that these rising tensions added to an already weak relationship, and “risks igniting a new Cold War.”
Ali explains the economic and political repercussions of these COVID-19 tensions, predicting a “decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies, especially as companies were already wary of China-centric supply chains amid the lingering effects and consequences of the trade war.” Politically, China would have “freedom to pursue more provocative movements [which] may expedite China’s goal of achieving hegemony in the region if they push America out.”
Ali maintains that this is a time for collaboration – not isolationist thinking – to control the pandemic, recommending data sharing between U.S. leaders, the CDC, and China. Ali noted that U.S.-China dialogue can also play a pivotal role in maintaining regional national security.
With proper proactive strategizing, Ali underscores that the relationship can still be salvaged. “Thinking about worst-case projections now can help prepare a range of policy options and potential opportunities to reduce current tensions and avoid the collision-course that both countries appear to be advancing towards.”
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Javed Ali is a Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School. A former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Ali has over 20 years of professional experience in national security and intelligence issues in Washington, D.C., serving in the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While at the FBI, he also held senior positions on joint duty assignments at the National Intelligence Council, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the National Security Council under the Trump Administration. Ali holds a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, a JD from the University of Detroit School of Law, and an MA in international relations from American University.