Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, the world is facing another stark choice between two fundamentally different forms of organization: international capitalism and state capitalism.
The former, represented by the United States, has broken down, and the latter, represented by China, is on the rise.
The system cannot survive in its present form, and the US has more to lose by not being in the forefront of reforming it. The US is still in a position to lead the world, but, without far-sighted leadership, its relative position is likely to continue to erode. It can no longer impose its will on others, as George W Bush’s administration sought to do, but it could lead a co-operative effort to involve both the developed and the developing world, thereby reestablishing American leadership in an acceptable form.
The alternative is frightening…
The alternative is frightening, because a declining superpower losing both political and economic dominance but still preserving military supremacy is a dangerous mix. We used to be reassured by the generalization that democratic countries seek peace. After the Bush presidency, that rule no longer holds, if it ever did.
In fact, democracy is in deep trouble in America.