Recent global events, resulting in increasing hostility from the USA and Britain towards China and Russia, almost make it feel as though history is repeating itself. This ‘Red Scare’ is not new, and can be dated back to the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848. It is rooted in a constant battle of ideological differences that were made most apparent in the Cold War during the latter part of the 20th Century.
President D. Eisenhower coined the term ‘Domino Effect’ as part of the Domino Theory of 1950. It was believed countries would fall to communism – like dominos, one after the other – after China fell to communism in 1949.
Many similarities can be seen between the current tensions and the pre-existing ones, but it has taken the coronavirus to highlight tensions with Moscow and Beijing that have long existed.
Historically, a prime example of a rise in tensions between Western and Eastern Powers during the Cold War years, was spying. The position that technological advancements have in the ‘race’ for power between Capitalist and Communist ideologies is extremely important; the use of them has allowed for easier spying. This can be seen through the increased tensions between the USA and China, due to a conspiracy surrounding the tech firm Huawei using new 5G to spy on foreign countries.
The use of threatening materials to the Western Powers can be seen in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. When missiles were strategically placed, they became a threat to the USA; which spiked a fear of communism – this can be seen again today, showing that the Red Scare has deeper roots.
Similarly, the involvement of other powers in matters that may not directly concern them, has always caused a rise in tensions between capitalists and communists.
Issues in Hong Kong have increased tensions with China and Britain, and the threat of the Domino Theory. On June 30th, the Chinese government passed a law which put the Joint Declaration under threat. The 1997 agreement signed between China and Britain set out the regulations of ‘returning’ the former British colony to China; stating that Hong Kong must run as “one country, two systems”, allowing the continuation of Hong Kong’s capitalist system and the freedom of speech and press, and was to last until 2047.
However, this is now under threat as China have taken control and stripped the rights away from the citizens, including 300,000 UK nationals. This contributes to the continuing threat, as Hong Kong now lives by communist ideals, showing that the Domino Theory is very real and could take hold again.
Due to the similarities between modern day tensions and those that date back, it must be argued that the Red Scare is rooted in the historical differences between the ideological differences between the global powers, rather than new and more modern tensions.
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Last modified: 31st July 2020