Maybe there are two indispensable nations.
“Indispensable” is a word most often reserved for the United States. Discussing the possibility of using force against Iraq in February 1998, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation.”
Now, however, while America still possesses unparalleled military superiority and bears a unique burden in intervening in foreign conflicts or humanitarian crises, China has grown into an indispensable nation on issues such as climate change, trade, and peace and stability in the Asian Pacific.
Nothing displays that better than the climate pacts announced this past week after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and bilateral meetings between China’s President Xi Jinping and President Obama.… Seguir leyendo »
In the mid-1980s, I spent two years covering South Africa and the black township uprising that would mark the beginning of the end of apartheid. Twice the government declared a state of emergency, jailing tens of thousands of people and sending troops to the townships in a futile effort to quell the rebellion against the country’s system of racial segregation.
Throughout that time, I never met or even saw Nelson Mandela; he was still languishing in Pollsmoor Prison. Jailed in 1962 and held mostly in the barren Robben Island prison, he would spend more than 27 years in custody.
Yet Mandela’s absence was very much a presence in everyday politics — the politics of waiting, waiting for the white ruling National Party to open negotiations with the only person who had enough stature to forge an agreement that would ensure a peaceful transfer of power and a democratic future.… Seguir leyendo »