Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

All signs point to a decades-long cold war with China, one reshaping global alliances, politics and economies.

Why it matters: The trade war is but a very small skirmish in a much bigger and wider battle for global dominance. It’s easier to see this cold war turn hot than turn off. And, for the first time, you can see the possibility of China and America decoupling — creating two distinct, rival global systems and power structures. 

The big picture: Beyond trade, the 2 superpowers are competing on intellectual property and technological mastery, political influence across the developing world via economic assistance (China's Belt and Road Initiative), diplomatic agreements, multinational institutions (Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank), and military sales (missiles, subs, drones, training).

  • Collectively, this translates to a competition of political systems — a new cold war.
  • One of the clearest manifestations of this is in tech: The internet is "splitting in two," as the Wall Street Journal put it, and giant companies from the U.S. and China are racing for advantages, hidden and overt, around the world.

Between the lines: Bill Bishop of Sinocism tells me that President Xi Jinping and his team have concluded that China is far too reliant on the U.S. for technology and agriculture.

  • So they have accelerated efforts to become self-sufficient, while also diversifying their reliance away from the U.S.
  • Even if there is a trade deal, that shift will not reverse.

Now, China is blaming Washington for its own economic and internal strains:

  • The NY Times reports from Beijing that "hostility toward America," by Chinese officials and state-run news organizations, "has escalated ... in tandem with two of China’s big problems: a slowing economy complicated by trade tensions and turbulence in Hong Kong that has no end in sight."
  • "Beijing also does not appear to see an end to its differences with Washington over the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which was blacklisted by the Trump administration as a security threat," the Times added.

What's next: On Nov. 9, it'll be 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell. For most of that time, the U.S. had no real rival for global supremacy. Now, America is in a fight it could lose.

  • "All roads used to lead to Rome. Now they lead to Beijing," Oxford professor of global history Peter Frankopan writes in "The New Silk Roads," out in March.
  • "We are living in the Asian century already."

The bottom line: The U.S. lost its way after the Cold War, creating a crossroads similar to the one after World War II: a multidecade civilizational struggle.

Go deeper: The forever trade war

Go deeper

General Motors tries to revive incendiary lawsuit vs. Fiat Chrysler

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

General Motors is trying to revive an incendiary lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with explosive new allegations including bribes paid from secret offshore bank accounts and a union official acting as a double agent between the two automotive giants.

Why it matters: The extraordinary legal battle is occurring amid earth-shaking changes in the global auto industry that threaten to turn both litigants into dinosaurs if they aren't nimble enough to pivot to a future where transportation is a service, cars run on electrons and a robot handles the driving.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.

Appeals court allows House Democrats to continue lawsuit for Don McGahn testimony

Don McGahn in an October 2018 Cabinet meeting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A D.C. appeals court on Friday allowed House Democrats to continue their case for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn before the House Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The ruling has broader implications beyond this specific instance, agreeing that Congress has the standing to sue to enforce subpoenas against executive branch officials even if the White House refuses to comply.