A quick comment on this paradigm-shifting article in the NY Times Magazine (a highly recommended read), “Waving Goodbye to Hegemony”: it synthesized and articulated a lot of things that I’d half-intuited in inchoate fashion. Basically, the article’s author argues that America no longer enjoys global dominance as a beacon of liberal/democratic values and that instead the EU, China, and America share geopolitical influence among themselves and the nations of the second world.
The post-cold-war “peace dividend” was never converted into a global liberal order under American leadership. So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing — and losing — in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world’s other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three.
This made a lot of sense to me given what I’ve experienced anecdotally.
(okay, sorry to continue with the buzzkill here, but as i told a friend who commented on yesterday’s aggro Countrywide post, i’m a world class worrier.)
if you can’t count up to a trillion, then it’s too big to wrap your head around and it might as well be imaginary money.
i was wondering if (despairing as it felt impossible) this was ever going to happen. i look back at some post-2004 election sentiments liberals felt that went around the blogosphere and boy, was it bleak. furious and bleak.
Who tells their child stories of how, after a World War II Japanese bombing raid of Chinese civilians hidden in caves or bomb shelters, you would see bits of arms or legs or other body parts strung up on telephone wires the next day as a result of the bombing? Or that in the streets, Japanese soldiers would spear Chinese babies on their bayonets, and laugh?
A haunted person—my mother—that’s who.
My mother told me those awful ghost stories and more, worse because of their inescapable truth, and I was all of 8, or 10, or 13 when I heard them. She was born 5 years after the Japanese imperial army occupied Manchuria, and her entire childhood was colored not only by the death of her father but by the Sino-Japanese war.
I did what children growing up in the reflected cathode-ray glow of American tv would do: I buried those stories deep underground like the people hidden in caves, trying to shelter my heart and my imagination from unspeakable, unimaginable things. But like those poor bombing victims, stray limbs would appear in the unlikeliest of places. Like my mother’s conversation.
One stray limb, or rather, an entire corpse, that refused to disappear was Iris Chang’s book, The Rape of Nanking. Memories like my mother’s, spread out across an entire generation of Chinese and further flung into the outer reaches of the diaspora, have haunted millions of Chinese whose cultural instincts are to stuff and swallow. There is only so much you can pretend to forget before it comes clawing up into your dreams and spilling out into conversation.
two things in the NYT today that make me wonder if maybe we’ve made some progress after all.
anita hill’s op-ed piece on the outright lies and fantasies in clarence thomas’ new memoir. (anita hill, if you recall, pursued a sexual harrassment suit against the reactionary supreme court justice prior to his becoming a justice, and testified about it to congress when he was up for confirmation by the house and senate.)
enough of this hollow flag-waving, hypocrisy, profiteering, and total disregard for the lives of armed service people either in the field or when they return home.
yeah, i mean YOU, shrub. you’re the president of fear and pain: the president of 9/11.
haven’t you screwed things up enough?
count me in with thomas friedman: what he said.
myanmar, what’s going on? shooting monks, chasing down protesters? it’s heartbreaking. stop–stop!
i think everyone in the world is begging you to just stop. it’s hard to witness a country tearing itself apart.
it’s times like these you need to look around you and find something that does work. something redeeming and hopeful.