Tante Jolesch and the War

Who will stop the escalation between China and the U.S.?

“Be afraid! A letter is coming.” Anyone who received such a telegram ought to have been afraid. This passage from the Austrian writer Friedrich Torberg’s well-known “Tante Jolesch or The Decline of the West in Anecdotes” is hilarious but in this day and age of instant information and instantaneous communication hardly even conceivable.

And today?

“Be afraid!

The editorial is coming.”

It concerns Russia and Ukraine, China and the U.S., and why the danger of a major war is growing rapidly.

By Russia inflicting war on Ukraine, Europe and the world are reminded that it is also possible for land warfare of epic proportions to be waged today. Military personnel are learning how modern combined arms combat works at the corps level and how to use innovative military equipment.

For military strategists and weapons technicians, Ukraine is currently a test laboratory for the end of the world. And with this, the war between Russia and Ukraine is also increasing the likelihood of a possible armed conflict between China and the U.S. In the polarized U.S. Congress, they hardly agree on anything — they do, however, agree on one thing: China is considered to be the great threat. It’s the same picture across the U.S. general public: According to a recent Gallup poll, 50% of the participants view China as their country’s biggest enemy, while 32% said Russia. Only 7% of the participants viewed North Korea — which was at the top in 2018 — as their biggest enemy. The rhetoric between both the geopolitical rivals has recently become gruffer.

The China hysteria has caught hold of U.S. President Joe Biden as well: He recently had a Chinese balloon shot down in a media-friendly fireworks display by fighter jets.

Now the tone in Beijing is also becoming harsher and harsher. China’s President Xi Jinping recently complained that the U.S. is pursuing a strategy of “all-around containment, encirclement and suppression” against China.

His foreign minister, Qin Gang, went one step further on March 7 and warned of “conflict and confrontation.” With the constant spiral of escalation, there is a threat of a terrible war scenario in the not-too-distant future. Someone has to put an end to this.

The respected Washington Post commentator David Ignatius gets to the heart of the matter: “There are different ways of showing presidential courage. One is getting on a train to visit Kyiv in the middle of the war there. Another is picking up the phone and calling Xi Jinping at a time of sharply deteriorating U.S.-China relations.”

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