I recently listened to an Ezra Klein interview of a top advisor in the Biden administration – NYT podcast – discussing the American Rescue Plan. What struck me in his explanation for its size – for going big – was the example of China. The Covid crisis, a turnabout in economic thinking among policy makers, the expectations of millions, and a Democratic Party tacking in a progressive direction didn’t go unmentioned by Klein, but they didn’t preempt mention of China’s role in the administration calculus either. I was initially surprised, but upon thinking about it, it made perfect sense to me. China is the main rival of the U.S. today and its economic successes and growing presence in the global theater can’t be ignored by the Biden administration and Washington.

This competition at the economic and other levels isn’t necessarily a negative thing, as long it is peaceful and includes cooperation as well. What neither country should want is a New Cold War.