A lot changed in 2008

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Much of this blew up in 2008. In Au­gust, the Rus­sians went to war with Georgia, declar­ing that Rus­sia had not taken the place in his­tory that the Amer­i­cans had in­tended. In Septem­ber, Lehman Broth­ers col­lapsed. The world had ceased to be the post-Cold War world. There were fun­da­men­tal politico-mil­i­tary chal­lenges to the United States, not ex­is­ten­tial, but se­ri­ous. The as­sump­tions about per­pet­ual pros­per­ity weak­ened as in­ter­de­pen­dence spread the con­ta­gion of 2008 through­out the world.

The idea that China would be­come in­creas­ingly pros­per­ous, in­creas­ingly lib­eral and dis­in­ter­ested in in­ter­na­tional con­flict proved to be in er­ror. Two newly con­fi­dent ri­vals, Rus­sia and China, chal­lenged the Amer­i­can un­der­stand­ing of the world as it was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The chal­lenge of the Is­lamic world spread, rang­ing from a more pow­er­ful and self-con­fi­dent Turkey, to the Is­lamic State’s at­tempt to build a caliphate, to eco­nomic cri­sis in Saudi Ara­bia.

It was in this con­text that Hil­lary Clin­ton’s sup­port of the in­ter­ven­tion in Libya must be viewed, be­cause it was the last gasp of the post-Cold War world. Moam­mar Gad­hafi was clearly a thug and he might well have been about to carry out a mas­sacre. Hil­lary Clin­ton ac­cepted the no­tion that the United States, along with its coali­tion, had a moral obli­ga­tion to pre­vent it. There have been the­o­ries that this was about oil or ura­nium or some­thing else. It arose from a concept of the world that had eroded.

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