Dominic Green of The Spectator writes (abridged):
The center of geopolitical gravity is now somewhere between central and western Asia, and the arena of likely conflict has moved from the North Atlantic to the Pacific. Where Americans once retained their connection to older civilizations through connections with a Europe that, if frequently disappointing, was at least comprehensible, they now face an incomprehensible rival across the Pacific that seems to embody the self-sustaining convictions of an old civilization with the aggressive confidence of a new one.
We all know that sooner or later, the United States will face a reckoning with China that will test the sense of American strategy and the substance of American alliances. It will probably happen sooner than expected, given how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these trends. This reckoning might also test the quality of American weaponry; the military-industrial complex, once feared as a threat to American liberty, now seems like one of the two surviving guarantors of American independence. If the reckoning happens later, it will also test the credibility of the other surviving guarantor of American independence, the US dollar.
Despite the urgency, the political class and its followers in the think tanks and the academy have failed to arrive at a consensus about the nature of the challenge and the objectives that might sustain American civilization. American foreign policy is now subordinated to the bitter binaries of domestic politics.
The era of blowout, the American exception in foreign policy, is over. The ideals of the democratic republic could not bear the retorts of reality from beyond the borders. America’s future dealings with the world that refused to Americanize may be happier than its recent past. How Americans feel about their dealings with their own governments is another matter.
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