The Americans have drawn a line in the snow. Many analysts still argue that there will not be a cold war between the USA and China. The announcement this week by the American government that it will boycott the Beijing Olympics may have sent an icy shudder down their necks.

The new ‘small c’ cold war is on the horizon and approaching fast. The small ‘c’ is because it will be different from the 20th version; as Mark Twain may have said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes”. In the second half of the 20th C, one major power led a coalition of others to contain Russia, in the 21st C, it is assembling alliances to contain China.

Consider who is not sending government representatives to Games next February. The first of the major powers out of the blocks were the Americans, quickly followed by the Australians, and the British. Where have we seen that configuration? In the 20th C coalition, and now again with the AUKUS submarine deal which is aimed squarely at China.