By Paul Kennedy Updated: 01/05/2009 11:07:49 AM MST
Every so often in the history of
international affairs, a great transnational turbulence shakes the
foundations of the world and brings many of its older structures tumbling to
the ground, as we witnessed in 1919, 1945 and 1989. In the confusion and
babble that follow, it's difficult to see through the dust and recognize the
shape of the altered strategic landscape.
Peering through the wreckage of the
past year's financial crisis, it seems clear that every nation was a loser
in 2008. The world's developed economies have taken a heavy beating, whether
measured by their collapsing industrial production, tumbling exports,
surging unemployment, frozen credit markets or the near- paralysis of
Yet we also hear cries of distress
across the globe. Vladimir Putin's proud Russia is reeling toward internal
collapse. China is sending factory workers home to the countryside. The
International Monetary Fund is trying to rescue Iceland and Ukraine from
economic oblivion. Brazil's currency is plummeting against the U.S. dollar.
And the brief honeymoon for commodity-exporting African countries is over.
Which national economy didn't take a blow to the head in this annus
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