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Grandmaster of the Great Game: Maintaining American Supremacy in the 21st Century


Grandmaster of the Great Game: Maintaining American Supremacy in the 21st Century

Alfred W. McCoy

In ways that have eluded Washington pundits and policymakers, President Barack Obama is deploying a subtle geopolitical strategy that, if successful, might give Washington a fighting chance to extend its global hegemony deep into the twenty-first century. After six years of silent, sometimes secret preparations, the Obama White House has recently unveiled some bold diplomatic initiatives whose sum is nothing less than a tri-continental strategy to check Beijing’s rise.


I have enormous respect for Mr. McCoy's writings....one of his first and best that has become a "seminal" book: "The Politics of Heroin"......if anyone wishes to try to understand the flows of drugs, money, and governments this is essential.
However, that being said, I firmly believe that to continue the, "Great Game" of "Hegemon" will inevitably lead to global physical and social destruction.
We have to find a better way.


Just an excellent article by Alfred W. McCoy.

" When Grand masters play the great game of geopolitics there is almost axiomatically a certain sangfroid to their moves, a indifference to any resulting collateral damage at home or abroad. Think of it bluntly as maintaining the empire abroad. "

Well put, to say the least. Enough said.


An interesting and long piece that seems largely in a round about way to give support to the TPP.
Sure Obama pulled back a bit from Cuba, what about all the operations going strong in about a dozen African countries?
Not sure I get the point of this article.


It is not that that the thoughts presented in this article are wrong because they aren't. It is that the world the good professor expects this game of hegemon to be played in is based on the world as he knew it to be. Thus the erudite history which would be in play in that old world is based on a world that is rapidly disappearing. In the coming decades both climate change and over population will combine to rapidly alter the playing field for that game of hegemony. In effect all analysis of the potential future that are based on the past relationships and geopolitical situations that have existed up until recently are going to be thrown out the window.

If there is no catastrophic climate change incidents, no super sized storms, no crippling pollution and carbonized atmosphere, no methane bomb, no dying seas, no climate refugee crises and no crushing HEAT... then the good professor is right, Obama is right and should earn some credit for not being as conservative as he seems to be.

But there will be a climate crisis and relatively soon... most certainly in those next few decades of this new century. The best laid plans of politicians and men are apt to go awry. The great game! The geopolitical contest! The big time!!!

Yeah well professor... climate change is far too real already and if your analysis fails to take in the awesome changes that climate change will have on the geopolitical scene then that analysis is at best ... limited.

It is not that China isn't investing in Africa but they are investing in the Africa of today not in the Africa of two decades of climate change. The same goes for us however we are not pressed for space and resources as are the Chinese. Nevertheless, the oceans are dying for everyone, the methane bomb will explode for everyone, the refugees will be on the move in the tens of millions for everyone.

The world of the future is not a world that can be predicted based on the historical past. The future is a world of climate change and ... all bets are off if they are based on what came before. A lot of people have trouble realizing that so much can change so rapidly and ... so completely.


I agree that this is a brilliant analysis of the geopolitical game that the Obama administration appears to be playing, but that game is being played inside two larger games that trump whatever brilliant moves Obama is making at Level 1. At Level 2, expanding global trade accelerates the destruction of the planet and de-stabilizes life as we know it--including the current geopolitcal order. At level 3, the expansion of neoliberal economics through "free trade" and de-regulation is so profoundly weakening the functioning of democracy that our governance is becoming more of a corporatocracy than a democracy. The further we go down these Level 2 and 3 roads, the less relevant nations and their positioning in these level 1 games become.


Bingo! And ignoring the influence of social media on political evolution (what pushed Obama past Hillary in 2008, past Romney in 2012?) weakens what the analysis got right. Seems to me the writer was a bit too carried away with singing his praises of Obama, and ignoring the gross efforts to deploy the inherited US Hamiltonian (Banking-National Security-secret cabal) State at the expense of the inherited US Jeffersonian (democratic-republican-open society) state of states.

That is another way of saying that the vision the world loves of the US is the vision put forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the US Constitution. This also happens what guides the American Vision of itself, bottom up to the middle ranks of government not yet totally corrupted by the Wall Street influence which envisions Greed is/as God.

Even if Wall Street & Obama 'win' the Hamiltonian push for the trade agreements, that will rapidly prove a pyrrhic victory: the rebellions across the US will be mirrored and augmented by the rebellions across the trade-united states. China's path across the rubble will be a cake walk.

"A people without a vision shall perish." Take from us what we most love, and you have defined our relationship with you by your hatefulness.