Monday, February 25, 2008
By Tony Karon
"President George W. Bush could be forgiven for underestimating China: He had spent some months there in the mid-1970s, when his father was U.S. Ambassador to Beijing. His firsthand experience of a largely pre-industrial colossus could hardly have prepared him for dealing with the China of today — a China to which the U.S. owes some $1.5 trillion and counting, and to which America’s beleaguered banks turn for the multibillion dollar loans required to keep them afloat......
Beijing will be one of a number of different power centers that emerge amid the decline of U.S. global hegemony, in a geopolitical order more akin to that of the late 19th century than that of the last one. Viewed in the big sweep of history, the current moment will be read simply as the completion of the Cold War era, laying to rest the fantasy of that contest’s sole surviving power dominating a global capitalist order in perpetuity. And it may also be remembered as a moment in which emerging regional players such as India, Brazil, Turkey, the Gulf States and yes, even South Africa, suddenly found themselves offered unprecedented opportunity to advance their own interests in a global arena where the price of admission was the tutelage of a single power center."