Sunday, March 29, 2009

Obama at the G20

How will the other members of the G20 regard the recommendations, hectoring, or even ingratiating solicitations of the Americans at the upcoming G20 meeting in April? Who knows, but the following passage from Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, on how Americans between the wars came to regard the English, gave me a sense for how non-Americans (and particularly Asians) probably regard contemporary recommendations from Americans regarding macroeconomic policy and financial regulation. Dick Diver, the protagonist, reflects:
He found something antipathetic about the English lately. England was like a rich man after a disastrous orgy who makes up to the household by chatting with them individually, when it is obvious to them that he is only trying to get back his self-respect in order to usurp his former power.
Which in turn suggests an interpretation of where the current crisis is putting the United States, in terms of imperial decline -- in some place analogous to where the European Great Powers found themselves after the war: bankrupt both financially and morally, but not yet at the point where another power is ready to formally replace them as the hegemonic center.

Update: Confirmation of this perspective in today's news.

1 comment:

Mick said...

I just wonder what a disastrous orgy looks like!