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In a recent letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, 40 environmental and other advocacy groups ranging from CODEPINK to Friends of the Earth called on the president to abandon “the growing Cold War mentality driving the United States’ approach to China — an antagonistic posture that risks undermining much-needed climate co-operation.” “Like the pandemic and so many of our most urgent crises,” the letter continues, “climate change has no nationalistic solutions. To combat the climate crisis and build a global economy that works for everyday working people — in the U.S. and China alike — we must shift from competition to co-operation.” Interestingly, not once in their appeal do the environmental, anti-war, or otherwise left-leaning organizations acknowledge the ultranationalism that has characterized Chinese behaviour since Xi Jinping’s emergence in late 2012. According to them, it is the U.S. that has adopted a “Cold War mentality” — a telling echoing of Beijing’s rhetoric whenever it seeks to deflect criticism — and is antagonizing China, a country that, over the past decade, has done rather well at antagonizing an ever-growing number of countries around the world.

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