Jan 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: David Sanger's "New Cold Wars" explores Biden, China, Russia, Ukraine

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Cover: Crown

David E. Sanger, White House and national security correspondent for the New York Times, will be out April 16 with his fourth book, "New Cold Wars" — reported from around the world, with interviews with leaders, combatants and former government officials.

Driving the news: "The first hundred pages or so are a reported, sometimes anecdotal account of how the U.S. deceived itself into thinking it would bring China and Russia into the West's economies and into its embrace," Sanger tells Axios.

  • "And then what happened when the inevitable collision occurred — with Russia over Ukraine and a new hostility to the West that will change our lives for decades, and with China in a technology competition that seems increasingly likely to veer into something worse," Sanger continues.

Why it matters: The book "explores the question of whether this hostility was avoidable, and how this set of Cold Wars will be infinitely more complex than the past," Sanger says from a reporting assignment in Berlin.

Zoom in: Sanger tells me he started "New Cold Wars" 'in 2020 during the Biden-Trump campaign, since it was clear "that no matter who won, we were headed back to an era of superpower conflict."

  • "What I didn't know," Sanger added, "was that we would be two years and more than $100 billion into a shooting war with Russia over Ukraine, or that we would be cutting off chips and semiconductor equipment to China in a last-ditch effort to stop them from using the most advanced Western technology to build out their militaries. Or that nuclear competition — and the frequent threat of nuclear use — would be back on the table."

Behind the scenes: Sanger's travels for the book include Poland, Finland, India, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and the U.K.

  • The book began with Sanger's role narrating an HBO documentary about President Biden, "Year One."
  • Mary Brooks was Sanger's researcher for the past six years.

Go deeper: What the U.S. should learn from Cold War history

Go deeper