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A Different Cold War – The New York Times

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The relationship between China and the United States continues to deteriorate, as The Times’s Steven Lee Myers and Paul Mozur explain. The two countries are clashing over Hong Kong, digital technology, trade, the South China Sea and more.

But this new global competition won’t be like the last Cold War.

It will be more fluid and nuanced than the struggle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union — for one reason above all others. In the 20th century, many countries were lined up clearly on one side or the other. Today, most countries have complex relationships with both the U.S. and China.

China has deep economic ties around the world, yet few countries are loyal allies to Beijing. The U.S. has more allies, but they “aren’t ready to sign up for an all-out confrontation with Beijing,” Richard Fontaine and Ely Ratner, two former U.S. officials, write in The Washington Post. Instead, “nearly everyone wants some mixture of security and economic benefits from both the United States and China.”

This dynamic means that the two countries will be in a perpetual contest for influence with other countries.

Under Xi Jinping, China has often struggled to win friends. It has left a trail of “ill-will and wariness” around the world, as The Times’s chief China correspondent, Chris Buckley, told me. It has bullied several Asian neighbors, tried to squeeze low-income countries for debt payments during the pandemic and falsely accused France of abandoning its elderly to die in nursing homes.

President Trump, however, has failed to capitalize on the opportunity Xi has handed him. Instead of organizing a coalition of countries to check China — with Australia, Europe, India and others — Trump has alienated many of them, with erratic diplomacy, trade spats and the undermining of global groups like the World Health Organization.

“The Trump administration has been a godsend for Xi, if only in making him seem like a reasonable leader,” my colleague Steven Lee Myers says.

(At a news conference yesterday to announce measures to punish China for its crackdown on Hong Kong, Trump delivered “one of the most rambling performances of his presidency,” Peter Baker writes. China responded today by promising to retaliate.)

The Trump administration did win a victory yesterday, when Britain became one of the few countries to agree to ban the Chinese technology company Huawei from making equipment for Britain’s high-speed wireless network. U.S. officials fear China could use such equipment to spy or launch a cyberattack.

Britain’s move is another sign that many countries are unhappy with China’s authoritarianism and are becoming more open to confronting it.

For more: “A Pew Research Center poll conducted in 2019 found favorability ratings for China among Asia-Pacific countries to be considerably lower than those for the United States, though favorability for America had slipped too,” Satu Limaye writes in Foreign Policy.

There is now only one high-income country in the world in which the virus is spreading rapidly: the United States. Even in Sweden — which has had one of the least successful responses to the virus — the number of new cases has plummeted in the past two weeks.

In China, Japan, South Korea and several other Asian countries, the virus is under even better control than in Europe or Canada. In the chart above, lines for those Asian countries would be barely indistinguishable from the zero line.

In other virus developments:

  • The Trump administration has abandoned a policy that would have forced international students to leave the U.S. if their university coursework was entirely online. More than a dozen states and some universities had sued to block it.

  • The United States economy is headed for a tumultuous autumn, with the threat of closed schools, struggling businesses, new lockdowns and empty stadiums.

  • The administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all virus data directly to Washington. The move breaks with longstanding tradition and alarms health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.

Joe Biden yesterday announced a $2 trillion plan to address climate change, including a goal to eliminate carbon emissions from the production of electricity by 2035. Biden’s plan also addresses racial justice, by allocating 40 percent of all proposed clean-energy and infrastructure benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Black Lives Matter protests didn’t just spring up in big cities last month. They also came to many small towns. An unexpected consequence, Campbell Robertson writes: the realization for many Americans that their neighbors are multiracial.

An investigation: The Times identified more than 60 videos that show the N.Y.P.D. using force on protesters, often in situations where it did not appear warranted.

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized yesterday after experiencing a fever and chills. She was treated for an infection and is “resting comfortably,” a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court said.

  • Favored candidates won primaries in three states last night. Tommy Tuberville beat Jeff Sessions to become the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama and will face Senator Doug Jones in November. Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine State House, won the Democratic primary and will face Senator Susan Collins. You can find all results here.

  • A federal judge upended a $25 million proposed civil settlement between Harvey Weinstein and dozens of women who have accused him of sexual harassment and abuse.

  • A Michigan high school student was sent to juvenile detention in May after not completing her online homework, ProPublica reported.

  • Lives Lived: Thereza de Orléans e Bragança was one of the last vestiges of a postwar high society in Rio de Janeiro. A fashion plate and friend of celebrities, she became something of one herself. She died at 93.

Subscribers help make Times journalism possible. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.

Code-switching refers to ways that people — often people of color — alter their speech, dress or behavior around people of other races. It’s been the subject of an NPR podcast, comedy sketches and scenes in the movie “Sorry to Bother You.”

In a Washington Post essay last week, Arturo E. Holmes II — a Black urologist at a Brooklyn hospital — offered a particularly stark example. After a late-night traffic stop last year that ended only when the officers noticed his surgical scrubs, Holmes decided to wear scrubs everywhere: while driving, shopping or walking in affluent neighborhoods. “I wear my professional uniform like armor, hoping this fabric might mitigate deadly prejudice,” he writes.

And in a Times Opinion video, the Dominican-American actor Christopher Rivas describes the pressure on actors of color in Hollywood to fit in — even while standing out enough to win parts. “That means code-switching and staying out of the sun and keeping your thick curls at bay,” he says. While sitting in a barber’s chair, Rivas reflects on the hundreds of crew cuts he’s gotten in hopes of looking more white and landing roles.

Sheet-pan dinners are the perfect remedy for midweek cooking exhaustion: This recipe for gochujang shrimp and green beans takes only moments to put together. Sub the shrimp for tofu if you’d like a vegetarian version, and serve with some rice, noodles or salad.

Few TV fan groups are as dedicated as viewers of “The Office,” a show that ended seven years ago but remains a huge streaming hit. Now the obsession has spread into podcasting. A new show — “An Oral History of the Office,” hosted by Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin — released its first episodes yesterday. Another podcast — “Office Ladies,” in which the actors Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey relive each episode — is one of the five most popular in the world, according to Chartable.

Why? “Fans still come up to ‘The Office’ stars expressing thanks for the show as a source of normalcy,” The Times’s Phoebe Lett, who recently interviewed Fischer and Kinsey, told us. “It helps that the cast does still seem, even after all these years, like a big, wacky family.”

A pickle, a red Croc shoe, a chicken thigh: What do they all have in common? They’re all cakes.

Or at least they are in a series of bizarre and popular internet videos that depict people slicing open desserts that don’t initially look like desserts. These video compilations have it all: shock, delight, awe. One baker, who has been making hyper-realistic cakes for years, calls them “still life cakes.”

“Watching a sharp knife slice cleanly through what appears to be an everyday object is surprising and somehow deeply gratifying,” The Times’s Taylor Lorenz writes.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Source of protein for a vegetarian (four letters).

You can find all of our puzzles here.

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The Times has started an online series to discuss impressive pieces of journalism from other publications. Today at noon Eastern, Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent, will talk about Anne Applebaum’s recent Atlantic cover story, “History Will Judge the Complicit.” A special guest will join: Bradley Whitford of “The West Wing” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” revisits a worker at a pork processing plant in South Dakota that was the site of a coronavirus outbreak.

Lalena Fisher, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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