Identity politics reinforces divisions and mistrust in societies and among nations. As such, it underpins nationalism in China and the US, disrupting cooperation and understanding. It is time for Chinese and Americans to think about who they are, and who they are against.
Both powers need to publicly agree on anti-hegemony, settle on ‘rules of the road’, particularly in the South China Sea, and start discussing arms control. Beijing and Washington must not sleepwalk into war, or force Southeast Asia to choose sides.