‘We are in a Cold War’, Niall Ferguson says

Scottish historian Niall Ferguson. (Mandiner/Árpád Földházi)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Our future will be decided by U.S.-Chinese competition, further waves of the coronavirus pandemic and the battle between states and multinationals, Niall Ferguson told Mandiner.

“I think we are in a kind of Cold War between the United States and China, and I feel that the development of this Cold War will be a great story for the next few years. It is possible that China will conclude from the withdrawal from Afghanistan that the United States has weakened drastically and it could therefore risk a Taiwan invasion. It may not be this year, but I can imagine it happening in the next two to three years,” Ferguson said, adding that Europe will ultimately have no choice but to side with the United States.

“My impression in various European countries, especially in Germany, is that there is a kind of demand for non-commitment, not having to choose a side. My feeling is that Europe will eventually stand behind the U.S., especially if Russia sides with China, because if there is a war in Taiwan, for example, and the Russians take this opportunity to further manipulate Eastern Europe, then what can Europe do in these circumstances? ? You will have no choice, you will have to stand behind the U.S.”

The pandemic may turn into an epidemic, but it’s here to stay

Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, Ferguson said the disease is likely to remain a defining factor for years to come.

“I also think the pandemic is not over, and it is a misunderstanding to think that it will simply end. It is gradually evolving from a pandemic into an endemic, which is a rather long process. Also, keep in mind that the Greek alphabet has 24 letters, of which the delta is only the fourth: the variants will continue to cause trouble, if only because much of the world has not yet been vaccinated. So I also think it’s a good prediction for the rest of the year that there will be waves in places where vaccination rates are low.”

Ferguson also said that the American liberals’ stance regarding vaccination is wrong, as this is not an issue of liberties.

“Clearly, this was understood by the classical liberals, who said that in a public health emergency, individual liberties should be restricted as much as in war. In a cholera epidemic, people cannot simply be allowed to drink contaminated water… On this topic, classical liberals like John Stuart Mill understood the simple argument that in a pandemic situation, the vaccine should be used in the same way as military service or extraordinary taxation in a war. […] I think today’s American libertarians are victims of their historical ignorance, unfamiliar with the principles of classical liberals.”

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