I’ve been more or less watching CNN’s star political analyst for about ten years, first enchanted by his intelligence, then increasingly disappointed by the use he has put it to.
Until today, Fareed has been one of the most astute spokesperson for Exceptionalist America, slicing and dicing ever more finely the official exegesis according to which the United States is the best country humanity has ever produced, and that its job is to fight to the last foreigner to make every other country as close a copy as possible of the original City Upon a Hill.
As the Russian President continues to make an ever widening circle of friends, the US, via ‘analysts’ like Zakaria, has put forward an ever less convincing case for demonizing him, following the Wolfowitz Doctrine that declares the US must employ every means to prevent another nation from usurping its place as hegemon — preparing the American public for eventual war with Russia by claiming it invades its neighbors.
The spin doctors have managed thus far to ignore the growing alliance between Russia and China, hoping that old Communist enmities would eventually resurface. Perhaps the tipping point came when the foreign policy establishment took a closer look at China’s flagship project: a road, rail and shipping link from the Asian Pacific all the way to the Western tip of Europe, modestly known as One Road One Belt. If that was the case, they pretended it was not really worth getting upset about. Until now.
President Xi’s coronation at the recent Congress of the Chinese People’s Republic’s Communist Party Congress had to be acknowledged as a tipping point, because after failing to return President Trump’s treat of ‘the best chocolate cake you’ve ever seen’ at Mar a Lago by leaning decisively on ‘Rocketman’, the president of the Middle Kingdom announced that China would henceforth play a central role on the world stage. (Fareed contrasted this to the policy of Deng Xiaoping, China’s previous outstanding leader, of laying low on the international stage, appearing to take credit for completing the phrase with ‘until the right time’…..).
As is often the case with the seamless cooperation between Great Britain and the US, the former’s flagship weekly, The Economist set the tone by featuring Xi on its October 20th cover as The Most Powerful Man in the World. Recently, Vladimir Putin was portrayed merely as a new Tsar, whose wishes, like those of all Russian leaders, are ‘an enigma wrapped in a mystery’.
With Xi’s forthright statement of China’s intention heretofore to play a major role on the world stage, the claim that the United States is the ‘indispensable country’ has collapsed like a pricked balloon, but Fareed stepped bravely into the fray with carefully chosen words: “We have been given notice by China that our dominance is challenged”. However, he offered no suggestions as to what the US should do about it, suggesting that he cannot quite let go of the story he was purveying of enduring US hegemony.
Although until now it had been plausible for American journalists to suggest that Obama’s pivot to Asia signaled the intention of confirming China’s subordinate place before taking on Russia, Zakaria failed to note that war is not the answer. Meanwhile, for having had the naive idea that the US should get along with the rest of the world instead of acting as its policeman, Donald Trump could be brought down for ‘colluding’ with Russia rather than for risking war with North Korea.
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exlusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.