“The thirty-year interregnum of U.S. global hegemony,” writes David Bromwich in the journal Raritan, “has been exposed as a fraud, a decoy, a cheat, [and] a sell.” Today, he continues, “the armies of the cheated are struggling to find the word for something that happened and happened wrong.” In fact, the armies of the cheated know exactly what happened, even if they haven’t yet settled on precisely the right term to describe the disaster that has befallen this nation.
What happened was this: shortly after the end of the Cold War, virtually the entire American foreign-policy establishment succumbed to a monumentally self-destructive ideological fever. Call it INS, shorthand for Indispensable Nation Syndrome. Like Covid-19, INS exacts a painful toll of victims. Unlike Covid, we await the vaccine that can prevent its spread. We know that preexisting medical conditions can increase a person’s susceptibility to the coronavirus. The preexisting condition that increases someone’s vulnerability to INS is the worship of power.
Back in 1998, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not only identified INS, but also captured its essence. Appearing on national TV, she famously declared, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”…
Pratap Bhanu Mehta: US vs China is the new Cold War
There is a story that in 1973 Zhou Enlai asked a young American interlocutor, “Do you think China will ever be an aggressive or an expansionist power?” The American, perhaps being polite, since these were the early days of the rapprochement, said “No.” At which point Zhou Enlai is supposed to have shot back, “Don’t count on it. It is possible. But if China were to embark on such a path, you must oppose it. And you must tell the Chinese that Zhou Enlai told you to do so.”
Rush Doshi tells this story in his brilliant, bracing and empirically rich The long game: China’s grand strategy to displace American order. The book takes on the dual mandate implied by Zhou’s remark. The first is to explain that China is indeed on its way to being an aggressive and expansionist power. It is out not just to displace the American order, but to remake the international order in its own image. The second is to think about how America might respond to Chinese ambition….
Prasenjit Duara – The Chinese World Order in Historical Perspective (2019)
‘He killed a party and a country’: a Chinese insider hits out at Xi Jinping
The Crises of Party Culture: by Yang Guang
Book review: The State as Faction: Mao’s Cultural Revolution