Walter Russell Mead submits an early entry in this year’s Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest: The global storm clouds are darkening. Mead puts the most alarmist spin on a series of developments over the last few weeks involving Russia and China, and tries to shoehorn recent events into a very selective narrative of the last decade. According to Mead, “Beijing and Moscow have serially tested American resolve” ever since the August 2008 war. Mead naturally omits that it was the Georgian government that escalated the conflict and provoked the war that followed, because that would undermine his scary story of authoritarians on the march. He refers to the annexation of Crimea, but gives no hint of why Russia seized the territory when it did. Almost everything that makes his list of Chinese actions are internal matters over which the U.S. has no real influence, but then he whines that they occurred “without encountering a proportionate or effective U.S. response.” He does not deign to tell us what such a response would look like or why it would be worth doing. Mead is in full do-somethingist dudgeon about things that the U.S. could not have reversed or stopped.
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