Achin Vanaik on Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice. Clinton’s grey eminence ponders the hegemon’s next moves. What changes are required for imperial strategy to remain the same?
STRATEGY AFTER BUSH
As American policy-makers ponder how to reverse away from their setback at the hands of Iraqi fighters, the serene strategic horizons of Zbigniew Brzezinski may offer some comfort. The father of the Albright doctrine (‘What’s the point in having such a great army if you never use it?’) and a key architect of us expansionism after the Cold War, Brzezinski’s 1997 The Grand Chessboard achieved near-canonical status with Washington’s foreign-policy establishment. That work argued that America’s historically unprecedented status as sole global superpower could not be expected to endure forever; in 1945 the us accounted for 50 per cent of world gdp; by 2020, it might be less than 15 per cent. But if America is the first, it will also be the last to occupy such a position. No other state—Europe, Russia, China, Japan—could conceivably hope to replicate America’s royal flush of economic-technological dynamism, military might, political cohesion and cultural predominance. The emergence of potential hegemonic rivals would therefore bring about a period of anarchic conflict, not a new form of stability. Through ‘purposeful management’ of the other major states, its strategists should therefore aim to prolong us primacy for as long as possible, a generation or more, by preventing the rise of any such challenger. Or as Brzezinski famously put it: ‘to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together’.
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
India's Two Hegemonies
How to grasp what’s new in the rule of right-wing strongmen like India’s Narendra Modi? Systematic comparison of the predominance of today’s BJP with that of the Congress Party under Nehru and his descendants. Contrasts of leadership style and party organization—continuities of cow-belt base, regional chauvinism and border enforcement.
Nepal’s Maoists in Power
Achin Vanaik on Aditya Adhikari, The Bullet and the Ballot Box and Prashant Jha, Battles of the New Republic. Nepal’s Maoist revolution checked by Delhi and its satraps.
Achin Vanaik explores the specificities of India’s social formation and its lefts, in the only country where both Stalinism and Maoism remain significant political actors. In the wake of recent electoral reverses, what are the prospects for radical renewal?
Achin Vanaik on Bill Emmott, Rivals. Contending Asian powers as arbiters of the 21st century, through Western establishment eyes.
The New Himalayan Republic
The overthrow of the monarchy in Nepal, brought about by a prolonged people’s war and massive popular mobilizations. Achin Vanaik sets out the complex socio-historical backdrop to the Second Democratic Revolution of 2006, the ensuing struggle for a new republic, and the tactical challenges facing the CPN-M.
Myths of the Permit Raj
Achin Vanaik on Vivek Chibber, Locked in Place. Why did India’s post-Independence planning not produce a South Korean economic take-off?
Rendezvous at Mumbai
The fourth World Social Forum, in the neoliberal capital of the global South. Soaring elite consumption, widening inequality and anti-Muslim pogroms of Shining India, with the New Hindu Right set for fresh electoral victory.
The New Indian Right
What is the nature of the BJP regime in Delhi—does it offer a viable formula for neoliberal rule in the subcontinent? Bigotry of the market: bigotry of the temple—is a lasting union between them possible? The obsessions and mystifications of Hindu communalism.
Reflections on Communalism and Nationalism in India
The Indian Left