Gideon Rachman adopts the provisional role of ‘Western Geopolitical Strategist’. American Writer comments

A collection of Mr. Rachman’s geo-political speculations are instructive:

In different ways China, the US and the EU have all treated Covid-19 as a very public test of their rival approaches to governance — and as part of an international contest for prestige and influence. 

The obvious preliminary conclusion is that the pandemic will turn out to be an overall geopolitical win for the People’s Republic of China.

But politics moves in unexpected ways. Paradoxically, there is a strong case to be made that both the US and the EU may also end up being politically strengthened by Covid-19.

But politics moves in unexpected ways. Paradoxically, there is a strong case to be made that both the US and the EU may also end up being politically strengthened by Covid-19. And by helping to remove an erratic isolationist from the White House, the pandemic has also given the US a much better chance of preserving its status as the world’s most powerful nation.

… 

Covid-19 has also taken a terrible human and economic toll in Europe. But, in political terms, the EU followed a similar arc to the US — with near disaster giving way to an unexpected upside.

These paragraphs act as mere preamble to Mr. Rachman’s manufacture of a weak set of arguments , accomplished by the use of a self-serving history. With its stars, the EU and China, President Xi Jinping, assisted by walk-ons by other minor players, who add dimension to his narrative, at least that is Mr. Rachman’s hope!

Note that China is the Bad Actor in Rachman’s ‘history made to measure’ that is in fact a New Cold War Melodrama. The reader of this ‘essay’ is thought, by Rachman, not to be cognizant, of the flood of Yellow Peril propaganda, that the Corporate Press never tires of printing. These two paragraphs describe the effects of Corporate Media saturation of Yellow Peril propaganda ,and an injudicious speculation of how Chinese Geopolitical Strategists might seek comfort in Western incompetence, in its various iterations: dehumanizing these technocrats is a more sophisticated version of that Yellow Peril toxin.

This slump in Chinese soft power suggests that people in the countries polled are more impressed by the fact that the virus originated in China, than by Beijing’s subsequent success in stopping its spread. China’s aggressive response to any hint of international criticism — through its so-called “wolf warrior” diplomacy — has also probably been counter-productive.

Geopolitical strategists in Beijing may comfort themselves with the thought that, whatever the collateral damage Covid-19 has inflicted on China, the damage to western standing has been worse. But if the US and the EU now roll out vaccine programmes with reasonable speed and efficiency, they will begin to repair some of the economic and reputational damage they have suffered because of their handling of Covid-19.

https://www.ft.com/content/af3258af-651d-4ad8-9d11-21ff3498ae7f

Rachman’s final thoughts/speculations are more of the same Geostrategic chatter, with Biden as his central actor. Is this essay, in lieu, of the usual Year’s End pundit’s summation of 2020?

American Writer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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