“We are in the foothills of a Cold War.” Those were the words of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger when I interviewed him at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing last November.

The observation in itself was not wholly startling. It had seemed obvious to me since early last year that a new cold war — between the United States and China — had begun. This insight wasn’t just based on interviews with elder statesmen. Counterintuitive as it may seem, I had picked up the idea from binge-reading Chinese science fiction.

First, the history. What had started out in early 2018 as a trade war over tariffs and intellectual property theft had by the end of the year metamorphosed into a technology war over the global dominance of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. in 5G network telecommunications; an ideological confrontation in response to Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region and the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong; and an escalation of old frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.