By Aaron Kliegman\u00a0 Despite residual resistance, it\u2019s now widely\u00a0accepted to refer to the competition between the US and China by its rightful name: the second Cold War.\u00a0 Critics will argue\u00a0that\u00a0invoking the American-Soviet conflict of the 20th\u00a0century\u00a0is needlessly\u00a0provocative, even warmongering.\u00a0But in this case, it\u2019s simply descriptive.\u00a0 Indeed, as the prominent historian John Lewis Gaddis explains,\u00a0the original Cold War was distinct from other cold wars, conflicts between two sides that never directly fight, because of its ideological aspect.\u00a0The US wanted to defend democracy and capitalism; the Soviet Union wanted to spread\u00a0totalitarian communism.\u00a0 Today, China similarly wants to\u00a0supplant\u00a0the US in a bid for global supremacy, overtaking the American-led international order\u00a0and imposing\u00a0its own\u00a0form of\u00a0communist authoritarianism.\u00a0 In the coming years, this contest will define the kind of world we\u00a0inhabit and pass on to our children. The stakes couldn\u2019t be higher.\u00a0 Fortunately for the US, it has something critically important that China doesn\u2019t: friends.\u00a0\u00a0 The US has a network of dozens of alliances\u00a0around the world, including several in the Indo-Pacific region. China has North Korea.\u00a0 It\u2019s true that China has several partnerships and is pursuing its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious Chinese\u202fenterprise\u202fto integrate Eurasia (and Africa) by building and financing roads, railways, and pipelines by land and ports by sea.\u00a0But the BRI is\u00a0crumbling, and China\u2019s relationships are largely about money and influence. They aren\u2019t enduring.\u00a0 As Winston Churchill said, there\u00a0is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them. The same can be said of allies fighting a cold war\u00a0with everything but guns and bombs.\u00a0 Which is why it\u2019s important that, according to\u00a0reports, President Joe Biden plans to meet this month\u00a0with the leaders of Japan,\u00a0India, and\u00a0Australia\u00a0in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, a strategic forum among four of the Indo-Pacific\u2019s biggest democracies. (Yes, the US is a Pacific power.)\u00a0 The Trump administration smartly embraced the Quad, and it\u2019s encouraging to see the Biden administration follow suit.\u00a0 One\u00a0just\u00a0needs to look at a map to see the importance of Japan, India, and Australia as a group in countering China\u2019s aggressive expansion. The three countries \u2014 all with large economies and\u00a0potent militaries \u2014 broadly encircle China, giving the US a\u00a0potentially\u00a0advantageous strategic position.\u00a0 It\u2019s no secret that Japan and China are historical rivals, even enemies. But in the recent past,\u00a0India and Australia haven\u2019t always been willing\u00a0to antagonize China. Today, however, they are increasingly willing to confront the Chinese government.\u00a0 Australia has enraged China by probing the origins of the coronavirus and opposing Beijing\u2019s egregious efforts to eliminate Hong Kong\u2019s autonomy.\u00a0 But the key here is India, the world\u2019s largest democracy and a behemoth with immense economic and military power \u2014 not to mention nuclear weapons.\u00a0 The current rivalry between China and India is one of the most consequential\u00a0and too often overlooked\u00a0global developments\u00a0\u2014\u00a0a\u00a0true geopolitical earthquake-in-waiting.\u00a0 Early last summer, Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed along both nations\u2019 contested border in the remote\u00a0Galwan\u00a0Valley. India says 20 of its troops were killed, while China\u00a0disclosed\u00a0just last month that it lost four of its troops.\u00a0 Four months later and some 1,500 miles away from the battle, the Indian city of Mumbai experienced a major blackout.\u00a0According\u00a0to a new study by\u00a0Recorded Future, a private intelligence firm, China was responsible as part of a larger Chinese cyber campaign against India.\u00a0 These are hardly isolated incidents. China is actively building and financing ports across the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese military also has submarines lurking. Meanwhile, India has ballistic missiles pointed at China.\u00a0 China\u2019s imperialism and global ambitions have helped create an adversary in India,\u00a0whose top military official\u00a0said\u00a0this week that a \u201cbelligerent\u201d China will \u201ccontinue to assert itself, seeking to establish dominance in\u202fstates surrounding India.\u201d The Indian government\u00a0has been actively\u00a0strengthening\u00a0strategic relations with\u00a0both the US and\u00a0Japan in recent years.\u00a0 India is fiercely committed to its autonomy and will likely never\u00a0enter a formal alliance with the US.\u00a0But\u00a0it\u00a0can become an increasingly close partner of the US, working in close coordination with America\u2019s formal allies to check Chinese expansion.\u00a0 The next meeting of the Quad is a perfect opportunity for the US to bolster these relationships, which are\u00a0far more enduring than most of China\u2019s partnerships. Indeed, the Biden administration should seek to create an informal coalition against China, with India being a crucial member.\u00a0 China poses a daunting challenge to the US, but Washington must remember that it is in the superior position. Friends, partners, allies \u2014 they\u2019re all great to have in international relations, and America has plenty of them. China, however, has almost none and seems poised to make\u00a0more\u00a0enemies.\u00a0 India seems to be one, and the US must be ready to capitalize on that mistake. Newt hosts monthly virtual events in which he discusses news of the day and why it matters to you and your community. These Newt Live events are your opportunity to communicate directly with Newt. We hope you will join us next time and let Newt answer\u00a0your\u00a0questions and provide his insight on the issues that concern\u00a0you\u00a0most. 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