Cold War 2.0

Artificial Intelligence in the New Battle between China, Russia, and America


A vivid, thoughtful examination of how technological innovation—especially AI—is shaping the tensions between democracy and autocracy during the new Cold War.

So much of what we hear about China and Russia today likens the relationship between these two autocracies and the West to a “rivalry” or a “great-power competition.” Some might consider it alarmist to say we are in the midst of a second Cold War, but that may be the only responsible way to describe today’s state of affairs.

What’s more, we have come a long way from Mao Zedong’s infamous observation that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Now we live in an age more aptly described by Vladimir Putin’s cryptic prophecy that “artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia, but of all mankind, and whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become ruler of the world.”

George S. Takach’s incisive and meticulously researched new volume, Cold War 2.0, is the book we need to thoroughly understand these frightening and perilous times. In the geopolitical sphere, there are no more pressing issues than the appalling mechanizations of a surveillance state in China, Russia’s brazen attempt to assert its autocratic model in Ukraine, and China’s increasingly likely plans to do the same in Taiwan.

But the key here, Takach argues, is that our new Cold War is not only ideological but technological: the side that prevails in Cold War 2.0 will be the one that bests the other in mastering the greatest innovations of our time. Artificial intelligence sits in our pockets every day—but what about AI that coordinates military operations and missile defense systems? Or the highly sophisticated semiconductor chips and quantum computers that power those missiles and a host of other weapons? And, where recently we have seen remarkable feats of bio-engineering to produce vaccines at record speed, shouldn’t we be concerned how catastrophic it would be if bio-engineering were co-opted for nefarious purposes?

Takach thoroughly examines how each of these innovations will shape the tension between democracy and autocracy, and how each will play a central role in this second Cold War. Finally, he crafts a precise blueprint for how Western democracies should handle these innovations to respond to the looming threat of autocracy—and ultimately prevail over it.

About the author(s)

George S. Takach holds a bachelor’s degree in history, political economy, and philosophy from the University of Toronto; a graduate degree from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University; and a law degree from the University of Toronto. For forty years, he practiced technology law at McCarthy Tétrault, Canada’s premier law firm. He has written three books on technology law/tech commercial subjects—this is his first book for a general audience. He lives in Toronto.


"Cold War 2.0 stands as a pivotal examination of our times, signaling a crucial junction where technology and geopolitics converge, shaping the destiny of nations in the digital epoch. This book not only provides a roadmap to understanding the strategic and technological fronts that will characterize the future landscape of international relations but also underscores the imperative for a comprehensive grasp of our globally interconnected existence. As we teeter on the brink of a renewed global struggle, Cold War 2.0 illuminates the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, emphasizing that the implications of this modern Cold War extend far beyond the key players to touch every corner of our world."

Marina Yue Zhang, Australian Journal of International Affairs

"Essential for readers interested in international relations, current events, and competition among the world’s superpowers, especially in regard to advanced technology."

Library Journal

“George Takach has made a compelling and fascinating argument in taking on the crucial question of how cutting-edge technology, particularly AI, semiconductors, quantum computing, biotech, cloud computing, and fusion energy will impact on the upcoming Cold War with China. Technological innovation, as a process, has been the subject of constant evolution since the end of the nineteenth century, and its careful manipulation by the democracies played a decisive role in ending the first Cold War. George explores these dynamics, including what he terms hyper-innovation, and the decisive role played by gender-inclusion and the particular advantages possessed by democracies in innovation.  An insightful examination.”

Professor Julian Spencer-Churchill Concordia University

"George S. Takach has convinced me: we are in the midst of a new Cold War with autocratic governments around the globe. This war, Takach argues, will be won or lost not on human reaction to unfolding events, but on a people’s mastery of Artificial Intelligence. This mastery is fueled by human innovation, usually embraced in the United States. Cold War 2.0 is a superbly researched treatise on the imminent danger we find ourselves in, and a roadmap to our only route to victory.”


Lis Wiehl, Author of A Spy in Plain Sight

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