China claims Japan’s air space. China dams the Mekong river above Cambodia and Vietnam. China builds railways to Vientiane and through Tibet. China suddenly bans American grain and shellfish. China pulls the visas from New York Times and Bloomberg correspondents, and censors Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. A Chinese navy vessel tries to force a U.S. warship to a halt in international waters. The situation brings ominous echoes of the Great War in Europe, Margaret MacMillan writes Saturday in an op-ed in the Times.
And today, President Obama deals with a partisan and uncooperative Congress. MacMillan questions whether he is “presiding over a country so divided internally that it is unwilling or unable to play an active and constructive role in the world.”
These new divisions indicate a shifting of emphasis occurring. In America, it is a shift from the edges to the middle. The arc of globalism she cites, which rose from President Wilson to Obama, is not an eternally rising paradigm. It is primarily an economic arc rising and receding from the Anglo-American victory in WWII. There is evidence today that we are experiencing more internal developmental interests and devolution is replacing Wilson’s, or Churchill’s or Clinton’s or Obama’s, globalism as the ascending arc.
Thirty Republican governors in the middle of America today find unity among themselves and the vortex of economy rises today in America’s middle (see Meredith Whitney’s Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity). And as Danielle S. Allen of The Institute for Advanced Study wrote ("Red-State Army?", Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2008), the vast majority of Army volunteers today are also from the middle.
“Over the past four decades, which states have disappeared from the top 10 [for military service]? California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois ... New Jersey comes in 50th of the 50 states; just 1 percent of current residents have served in the military since Vietnam.”
Would a major war with a militant China have a Vietnam effect (a vast hippie transference to peace and love) especially in the coastal states cited in Allen’s report? Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of MTV's "Jersey Shore" accept a draft and fight and die today for the Senkaku Islands as earlier generations fought, died and shed blood at Antietam, Bull Run, Pork Chop Hill, An Hoa and Phu Loi?
MacMillan’s trepidation is prescient. From here on out, it is all about China, possibly in collusion with Russia, which planted its flag at the North Pole in 2007. The BBC reports this week that President Vladimir Putin has told his military leadership to build up their forces in the Arctic as a priority.
If we come out of denial, new political match-ups will arise: Rick Perry/David Petraeus (or Robert M. Gates) or Elizabeth Warren/Jim Webb (or vice versa). Possibly Rand Paul/Dennis Kucinich. Either that, or America, with England and Canada in tow, will descend, helpless, defenseless, together in a benign, penguin-like trance (“no country, no religion too”) to the faceless horde of Facebook.