London — In Washington, Beijing and Moscow, officials all say that they want to avoid a new cold war. A recent piece in the New York Times suggests they have little reason for concern. It argued that “superpower rivalries today bear little resemblance to the past”.

The article pointed to Russia’s relative weakness and China’s technological prowess to underline how things have changed since the late 1940s. Those differences exist, of course. But to me, the parallels between today’s events and the early years of the cold war look convincing, even eerie...

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