The global economy is collapsing, exacerbated by the epidemic. While the global economic slowdown is being felt, the question of whether the intensifying competition between the United States and China will spark a possible war in the Asia-Pacific region remains on the agenda.

Although the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine are causing concern in the West, Biden and his team continue to see China as the greatest threat to the United States.

The USA, which attempted to integrate China into the system in the early 2000s, was replaced by the USA, which attempted to separate China from the system and substitute Western-centered/discursive structures.

In this case, we can argue that China benefits from the existing system. However, we must acknowledge that, while it benefits from the system as a whole, the free market has its own rules, such as regulating it with state-owned enterprises.

The fact that China, which provides cheap labor to the United States and other Western countries, has begun to defy the international liberal order by enlisting Russia as a partner has raised fears that the United States will lose its global leadership.

On the other hand, following the conflict in Ukraine, a militarist approach began to dominate in the Asia-Pacific region. The region's armament gradually increased. SIPRI statistics published in 2022 confirm this.

The US has shifted a significant portion of its military weight to the region for a long time.

In fact, we can trace the origins of this process back to Barack Obama's -pivot to Asia- strategy.

This process, which has become increasingly complex with the "trade wars" of the Trump era and with the persistent "Chinese threat" discourse that continued under Biden, it has become closer to conflict.

Although Australia once had a very close trade relationship with China, it has now adopted the most hawkish stance toward China. Similarly, Japan is trying to make armament and reactivating its military power.

While a more nationalist administration takes power in South Korea, North Korea is about to ignite the region by focusing on missile tests.

In their competition with China, the United States appears to have focused solely on military elements and strategies. It is also busy taking practical steps to strengthen the regional allied structure and organize more quickly.

In this context, it is necessary to assess the steps taken in relation to AUKUS and QUAD.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the most recent ASEAN summit are examples of trade initiatives. However, it is important to note that these are not/cannot be very effective in the strategic context of the overall fight against China.

On the other hand, there is a new normal in which global trust in politics and diplomacy has declined.

The popularity of autocratic approaches among the public and administrators, as well as the prominence of action-oriented political approaches and interventionist military strategies over values, demonstrates this.

The competition between the United States and China adds to the weight of this approach. Both sides' language about the competition is extremely harsh and devoid of compromise.

On the coming decades of competition, there are three points of view:

Graham Allison proposes the Thucydides Trap approach as the first.

Based on a historical analogy, this approach contends that the United States will try to prevent China's rise, just as Sparta attacked Athens because she was afraid of Athens' rise, and thus fall into Thucydides' trap.

Some may find it analogical, but Allison's work is a coherent piece based on historical examples. He is, however, a reductionist. As a result, concrete conditions, their transformation, and the effects of independent factors are all important.

The second approach to the US-China rivalry is that it is a new cold war. With his periodic statements, Henry Kissinger, in particular, inflames this debate. There are also numerous viewpoints that compare the current situation to that of pre-World War I and World War II.

Those who oppose this model generally argue that the USSR and China are distinct structures and that the great powers' economic dependence has never been greater than it is today.

They also mention game-changing element, such as technology.

The third approach contends that this model of competition has a distinct structure, and that conceptual frameworks such as the Thucydides Trap or the Cold War are "ineffective" for comprehending it.

While I am wary of analogical frameworks, I see no harm in employing the concept of the New Cold War. Furthermore, I do not believe that any researcher who attempts to explain this model within the context of the 'Cold War' does so with a clear definition of the concept.

On the contrary, by including the word "new," the concept of "new cold war" attempts to explain how the cold war, which has categorical features in some ways, has become more complex and unique with the addition of new dimensions today.

There is no ideological center of gravity in this new Cold War. There is a conflict that is based on 'interests' rather than values. The United States, on the other hand, believes that the battle can be won on a more ideological basis, with values taking precedence over interests.

However, the United States' biggest blunder may be right here. Rather than ideological competition, there is a situation that is structured more on interests and their effects on real-politics, such as supply chains, which cause major problems in the event of disruption.

As a result, the complex and new rivalry model that has emerged between the United States and China stands out as one with hybrid characteristics, but also includes the characteristics and potential effects of the cold war, which have spread to almost every aspect of relations.

The post-World War II consensus has long been fractured. The fault lines formed as a result of this fragmentation have a significant impact on geopolitics. There is a trend toward multipolarity, and the interesting thing is that the United States is strengthening this process with every move it makes, exacerbating the existing uncertainty.

In such an uncertain environment, a war between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific region is not ruled out. Existing evidence suggests that the process is moving in that direction. However, the costs and prolonged fatigue brought on by the economic slowdown are pushing the parties into an protracted hybrid war.

This is also advantageous for allies who want to suffer the least amount of damage on a global scale.

As a result, the ongoing rivalry between the US and China is “an unrestricted and strategic Hybrid Cold War (HSS). Unlimited because it happens on all fronts, from health to economy.It is cold because it is inclined towards bloc politics.

It’s hybrid because it is not based on ‘conventional warfare.’

Dr.Hüseyin Korkmaz. The author is a researcher focusing on China and geopolitics in the Asia, primarily related to the US-China relations.