PATRICK LAWRENCE: Deaf, but Not Blind to US Decline

In Fiona Hill’s recent speech it’s possible to detect the very faint signals of Washington’s policy elite responding to the immense global power shift that is underway. 

Fiona Hill in 2016. (Brookings Institution/Flikcr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

I count the advance among non–Western nations toward what we now call a new world order the single most momentous development of our time.

This turn in history’s wheel will define our century, it is not too much to say. But to listen to the speeches, pronouncements and offhand remarks of the power and policy cliques in Washington you would think there is no such elephant in the room.

And so, I ask: Can I be the only one to wonder whether those shaping and conducting American foreign policy are blind to this immense global shift, or deaf to what the non–West lately has to say to the West, or too stupid to understand events, or in denial, or maybe some of all four?

Blind, deaf, stupid, in gutless denial, this last a subset of stupid: Each of these explanations has its temptations as we assess the cognitive capacities of the elites who sequester themselves inside the Washington Beltway.

But it has been awfully hard to settle with certainty on the cause of our policy people’s apparent inability or refusal to acknowledge that world history has entered a period of epochal change.

At last an answer to this perplexing question, or a useful suggestion of one. Blind or stupid are not the explanations we are looking for. Deafness and denial are.

I draw these conclusions by way of a speech by Fiona Hill, an over-credentialed foreign policy operative of conspicuous neoliberal convictions. She delivered it last week at a research institute in Estonia, a nation that that sits on the knife’s-edge divide between East and West.

By way of background, Hill is one of those revolving-door people who float on the froth of academic and think tank salaries when not in government. A Russianist by training, she was an intelligence analyst for the Bush II and Obama administrations.

She then served on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council until she turned on Trump during his 2019 impeachment hearings and had a few moments under the Klieg lights. Hill is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and will take up duties this summer as chancellor at Durham, the British university.  

Maybe Hill speaks with a looser tongue now that she will return to her native England. This is hard to say. But I read her speech as a significant expression of the perceptions commonly shared among our policy cliques on both sides of the Atlantic.

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It turns out that Hill and her colleagues in Washington and other Western capitals know perfectly well that the non–West’s most influential nations are building a global order that restores the authority of international law and international institutions after decades during which both have been abused or ignored.

I take some comfort, honestly, in knowing that those shaping and executing Western policy are not so blind or stupid as to miss this.

It is cold comfort, I have to add. I conclude from Hill’s remarks that the technocrats, scholars, and political figures who think through and determine U.S.  foreign policy, and by extension the Atlantic world’s, cannot hear those now bringing a new world order into being, and they are in abject denial as to the right responses to this world-turning and profoundly promising undertaking.

‘The Rest’s Rebellion’ 

Hill titled her speech “Ukraine and the New World Disorder,” and subtitled it, “The Rest’s Rebellion Against the United States.” Immediately it is clear she is about to get some things very right and others very wrong. The transcript of this speech is well worth reading. It is here.

To posit that some pre–Ukraine order is to be replaced by a post–Ukraine disorder is to turn the world upside down. To refer to the non–West as “the rest” is hopelessly retro, and in my read Orientalist to the core.

These errors betray a Western-centric ideology that severely limits the ability of people such as Hill to understand the world as it is. This is what I mean by denial.

From left: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Tshepo Motsepe, Peng Liyuan and her husband Xi Jinping, president of China, at a cultural event in Johannesburg during a 2018 BRICS meeting. (GovernmentZA/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

At the same time, there are some startling observations in this presentation, given who is doing the observing. Here are a few that are bound to turn the heads of those who have wondered along with me about the blindness, deafness, and so on in Washington:

“The war in Ukraine is perhaps the event that makes the passing of pax Americana apparent to everyone.”


“… countries that have traditionally been considered ‘middle powers’ or ‘swing states’ — the so-called ‘Rest’ of the world — seek to cut the U.S. down to a different size in their neighborhoods and exert more influence in global affairs. They want to decide, not be told what’s in their interest. In short, in 2023, we hear a resounding no to U.S. domination and see a marked appetite for a world without a hegemon.”

And further on:

“… the next iteration of the global security, political and economic system will not be framed by the United States alone. The reality is already something else….”

Remarkable, coming from someone such as Fiona Hill. It makes you wonder about the extent to which a lot of intelligent people in Washington must stifle their thoughts and so seem for all the world stupid.

Captives of an Ideology

Gate in the medieval city wall of the old town of Tallinn, Estonia. (elrentaplats/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

On the other side of Hill’s ledger there are misapprehensions and omissions that betray the policy cliques she can be taken informally to represent as captives of an ideology deeply rooted in half a millennium of Western superiority and deeply incapable of accommodating a world based on equality among nations.

It seems beyond these people to grasp that “the West and the rest” is precisely the binary the non–West proposes to transcend.

Remember when, in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued their Joint Statement on International Relations Entering a New Era, which I continue to consider the most significant political document to be published so far in our century? The Russian and Chinese leaders were explicitly anti-anti–Western in that declaration.

Remember when the Chinese Foreign Ministry, this past February, issued its Global Security Initiative Paper, wherein Beijing stated that “the historical trends of peace, development, and win-win cooperation are unstoppable?” Anti-hegemonic powers, yes. Anti–Western, not by any stretch.

Either Hill has not read these papers — perfectly plausible, given the whole of Washington ignored them — or she cannot hear the voices raised in them. Nor does Hill seem to register the elaboration and enlargement of such non–Western partnerships as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The new world order, she told her audience, “is not an ‘order,’ which inherently points to a hierarchy, and perhaps not even a ‘disorder.’”

It is simply wrong, tone deaf. All forms of order are inherently hierarchical? Fiona Hill should travel more often beyond the borders of the West.   

Thankfully enough, Hill goes on to contradict herself on at least some of these points:

“We in the trans–Atlantic community may need to develop some new terminology as well as adapt our foreign policy approaches to deal with horizontal networks of overlapping and sometimes competing structures. …  The regionalization of security, trade, and political alliances complicates our national security strategies and policy planning, but it may also intersect with our priorities in useful ways if we can be flexible and creative — rather than simply resisting and responding when things go in directions we don’t like….”

Again, remarkable. It may be that Hill, who is 57, has chosen an interim that will shortly leave her an ocean away from Washington’s policy circles to speak more candidly than she ever did during her inside-the–Beltway years. While her thinking on this point lies beyond us, those who rotate in and out of power sometimes take such opportunities to say what they would not otherwise dare to say.

Hill’s speech at the International Centre for Defence and Security in Tallinn is certainly worthy of interpretation whatever this case may be. I detect in it the very faintest signs that those most intimately involved in shaping U.S. foreign policy will gradually come to understand that pretending the U.S. remains the world’s unchallenged imperium is a game that they can play a little while longer but not forever.

Most nations we count as non–Western fold their hands as we speak.

Washington’s policy elites still close their ears to what the vast majority of humankind has to say about the 21st century order. They remain in denial. But I don’t think they are blind, after all, to those unstoppable historic trends the Chinese mentioned a couple of months ago.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of  Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new book Journalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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43 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Deaf, but Not Blind to US Decline

  1. robert e williamson jr
    June 1, 2023 at 14:05

    Fiona’s choice of words is very telling. Fiona Hill Deep State agent on the job! This is a Deep State method if there ever was one. Shades of Robert Blum.

    Thanks CN

  2. peter mcloughlin
    June 1, 2023 at 11:24

    History’s wheel keeps turning. No empire has seen its own ultimate fate in each spin. Always the fortunes of great powers change. And it leads to wars – world wars – because no one wants to see their true destiny.

  3. Frank Lambert
    May 31, 2023 at 16:26

    China and Russia are on the right path in building a world of cooperation amongst nations, rather than the war and conquest of the former colonial powers of the West, and they will prevail.

  4. AnonX
    May 31, 2023 at 11:55

    If anyone is interested, this is Fiona Hill’s complete speech, so it is not necessary to read it:

    Lennart Meri Lecture 2023 – Estonia – Fiona Hill, Brookings Institution


    Maybe Patrick Lawrence will want to add this link to his piece? I think it would make a greater impact and add to the piece if people see Fiona Hill directly. IMHO

    I hope that helps.

  5. IJ Scambling
    May 31, 2023 at 11:44

    Fiona Hill’s remarks, to an audience “that sits on the knife-edge between East and West,” do appear encouraging in some ways, as Patrick goes about “assess[ing] the cognitive qualities of the elites.”

    It’s difficult to read her without flinching over neoliberal bromides such as “pax Americana” and complete ignorance of Russia’s motives including its “brutal and senseless war” in Ukraine, but her acknowledgement of “the rest” at 6.5 billion apparently sobered her. To maintain the neoliberal “pax” means acknowledging some mistakes and smoothing the way forward with more “diplomacy”:

    “All this means that we need a diplomatic surge—a skillful and patient effort alongside the vital military track—to end Russia’s brutal and senseless war. Ukraine needs broad-based global support. We must push back against Putin’s disinformation and anti-U.S. and NATO narratives. The United States and Europe will have to engage the rest of the world in an honest conversation about the stakes of this war and actively listen to their feedback and concerns on specific issues. Given the disparate views and agendas, we will have to take a piecemeal and more transactional approach to identify areas where we can make common cause with other states as well as international and private sector actors.”

    Acknowledgement that 6.5 billion are not particularly happy at this time appears to offer a glimmering of light for some other path forward, and having an “honest conversation” and “active listen” so as “to make common cause” certainly does sound good, despite these promises as having to fight against prejudices putting a lock on them in the first place. Desperate to be lookin’ good here? I think so.

  6. susan
    May 31, 2023 at 08:45

    Great article! Wakie, wakie – it’s time to wake up everyone…

  7. Michael888
    May 31, 2023 at 07:40

    Fiona Hill never fit in with the Eastern European children and grandchildren, mostly from well to do families, that runs Foreign Policy on Ukraine/ Biden’s Fiefdom. Hill is from a poor coal miner’s family in NorthEast England, and if anything tried too hard to fit/fall in with that crowd. The only thing she had going for her is her dual citizenship, seemingly obligatory for State Dept and Think Tank Elites.
    Maybe she had second thoughts, as Lawrence suggests? That would be a career killer in DC. Does she recognize the possibility of a multipolar world? Of course, but does she accept the reality of a multipolar world? Hope so, but doubt it. She has only known the collapsing British Empire and now the parallel collapsing American Empire. Even in much of the former British Empire, hated by many of its former colonial subjects, there is still a reverence for Brits (and in the reflected light, Americans and Australians); in one breathe Indians and Persians speak of horrific famines and historical mistreatment by the Brits, yet like an abused child or spouse there is still a bond (love, respect, hate, fear). I don’t get it.
    My guess, despite her sudden talk to the contrary (much like Biden, with his racist history, making campaign promises to the contrary) her impulse, her being is for the Hegemon. Like Strzok and Page, spouting the blanket of “democracy and fighting fascism”, facing Trump becoming President, “no, we will not let that happen. We will stop it” in private texts, no matter what evil it takes to do so. Ukraine is essentially another US colony, though poorly administered relative to British colonies, and the threat/promise of military might (and corruption of course) is all that keeps it in line. Smugly, whatever Hill says, I would guess that NICE colonization is what Hill has in mind; we cannot let the Western dominance fade away.
    (As an aside, I lived in Finland for a year and spent some time in Estonia (the Tallinn photos bring back memories), one of the first Americans to make it to Tartu, which had a Soviet airfield close by. Estonia was newly independent, due to their Singing Revolution, and I was surprised at their attitude to their former “oppressors” the Russians, at least at the People level, I met no high-ups. Freedom to them meant they could interact with the rest of the World, including Russia (who their leaders were squabbling with). They only had two big industries at the time: Communications (they wanted to know everything!) and Pornography (“we have lots of pretty girls”, seen as a resource in former Soviets). But as one thoughtful man told me “Estonia has been free less than 30 years of the last 1000. There is a good chance it will not last.” He laughed. “We are a mongrel people. Despite our distinct language– similar to Finnish and Hungarian– our genes say we are Swedish, Polish, Finnish, French, German, Russian, Lithuanian and more. The flat plains on Eastern Europe means endless conquest.” There was no fierce independence, just pride in new-found freedom. )

  8. Tsuvia
    May 31, 2023 at 02:16

    Perhaps Ms. Hill would like to comment here herself? That would be interesting. I would like to hear someone like Hill make a case for why U.S. hegemony is a great thing for everyone and the future of the world, such a fantastic situation that we should risk civilization or biosphere collapse to extend its bloody reign for another few years. Or, at least argue that it’s better than the alternatives? There was a European NATO guy who was making that case, can’t remember who. At least it creates an honest debate. Instead we just hear the constant broken-record narrative of the (of course) unprovoked “brutal war that Vladimir Putin ignited.”

    • Tsuvia
      May 31, 2023 at 15:09

      Following up slightly, the previous post was of course a rhetorical question. In the Empire of Lies, mention or discussion of its imperial nature and hegemonic intent is verboten.

  9. Jeff Harrison
    May 30, 2023 at 23:18

    She’s holding forth in one of the attack chihuahua’s statelets which means she knows she will be safely ignored. Never fear my friend, “The West”, that loose accretion of former colonial powers has no intention of changing their spots, any more than the fabled leopard.

  10. wildthange
    May 30, 2023 at 21:24

    The western superiority complex that became a dominance transnational religion after riding The Roman Empire as far as it count has subsequently attached itself to each new empire and its military for profit motives. The most perilous aspect of this century is whether this military/religious protection racket is willing to share the planet or chooses to go for Armageddon. The God made in mans image may have to learn to share mythology with secular reality at last. Perhaps the Roman created it just to control occupation of the supposed holy land and it got totally out of control and tool over.
    In any case full spectrum dominance is a kind of male permanent rutting behavior that has no seasons and human civilization now has to finally learn how to share and live without destroying itself butting heads.

  11. Piotr Berman
    May 30, 2023 at 20:51

    Some graphs from Fiona Hill speech with my little comments:

    In the so-called “Global South,” and what I am loosely referring to as the “Rest” (of the world), there is no sense of the U.S. as a virtuous state. Perceptions of American hubris and hypocrisy are widespread. [Hear, hear!]

    For them, this war is about protecting the West’s benefits and hegemony, not defending Ukraine. [Are they wrong?]

    Russian false narratives about its invasion of Ukraine and about the U.S. resonate and take root globally because they fall on this fertile soil. Russia’s disinformation seems more like information—it comports with “the facts” as others see them. [Yes, they are wrong! But I did not notice explanations why the soil in which Russian narrative takes root is so fertile.]

    Perceptions are often more important in international affairs than reality; and since the end of the Cold War, Putin has persisted in portraying NATO as an extension of the United States militarily. [So out main task is to change the perceptions.]

    All this means that we need a diplomatic surge—a skillful and patient effort alongside the vital military track—to end Russia’s brutal and senseless war. Ukraine needs broad-based global support. We must push back against Putin’s disinformation and anti-U.S. and NATO narratives. The United States and Europe will have to engage the rest of the world in an honest conversation about the stakes of this war and actively listen to their feedback and concerns on specific issues. Given the disparate views and agendas, we will have to take a piecemeal and more transactional approach to identify areas where we can make common cause with other states as well as international and private sector actors. [Cajole, play on local animosities, threat and bribe?]
    The overarching theme is rather correct descriptions of “perceptions” in “the Rest”, and evading the issue why folks perceive so. Actual observations or a pandemic of illusions? Instead, we have a confrontation of narratives. And what actually happens in the motley of countries that constitute “the Rest” are like slivers of steel that can be aligned with a Western magnet or Sino-Russian magnet, so we (the West) should wave our magnet more skillfully and energetically. Note “a diplomatic surge”, alluding to “surges” in Iraq and Afghanistan, a rather careless allusion in my eye.

    What is evaded are hard facts. Both business elite and common folks in countries like Brazil and India appreciate opportunities of buying essential goods for a good price and with good credit terms, and markets for their products, regardless if it comports with edicts in Washington and Brussels. The practical question is if they can be bribed and/or threaten to refrain. This is not a narrative, but actual fuels, grains, fertilizers, nuclear reactors etc.

    In the case of India, the stakes are surely in tens of billions of dollars (actually, counted in rupees and rubles). Modi is hardly a sentimental idealist with Communist sympathies (and neither was Bolsonaro in Brazil), good business is good business, and stakes are big. But India is at odds with China, doesn’t it make it a natural ally against Sino-Russian duo? Not really. Ardent nationalist that he is, Modi is well aware that territorial dispute concerns desolated parcels of land where hardly any Indians wish to live (or Chinese, for that matter), while the real challenge is economic growth, India has a chance of growing faster than China, although with much lower starting base etc. Sound finances and accepting the role of final processors of industrial goods from China are critical. India has hundreds of billions (of USD equivalents to loose if it accepts the split of world trade that the West is pursuing. In the same time, Indians loudly complain that by accepting Trumpian sanctions on Iran, to lost potential gains that China got instead. “Never again”.

    This is truly a tectonic shift. Indian plate is more solidly connected with other plates that form Eurasia than before. And India is not so poor anymore, with a huge population and rich and influential diaspora. Sanctioning India to submission seems impossible, changing their perceptions even less possible.

    And thus a conundrum: if the India can get away with “rebellion”, how to discipline Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa, Uganda etc. etc. Venezuela and Syria were ruined for their disobedience, shouldn’t it at least terrify other lesser countries? Yes, it did, but with a cost: the fertile soil Fiona Hill mentioned.

    BTW, even regional animosities do not work as reliably as before. Pakistan watches how India cut the inflation thanks to deals with Russia, and it does not want to lag behind India more than it does already. Saudi Arabia and the rest of Arab oil exporters also noted gains from commercial neutrality (i.e. not joining sanctions) and the Indo-Chinese model of reducing external conflicts to a harmless level (or almost harmless). Again, those are high stakes grounded in reality, not perceptions.

    • David Otness
      June 1, 2023 at 18:15

      Only touching on a minor point here regarding Pakistan’s disposition. The country is now under a coup government, brought to it by the usual suspects, the Langley Bunch.
      Prime Minister Imran Khan, before being deposed, was definitely making foreign policy moves that would have had Pakistan ignoring U.S. sanctions as much if not more than India. That would have constituted the entire Asian Indian Ocean major nations’ coastlines all the way to Iran and Saudi Arabia showing support for the Russian Federation. The CIA had their snuffers out and ready for curtailing that notion. The outcome of that coup is still up in the air.

  12. shmutzoid
    May 30, 2023 at 19:44

    I’m not as sanguine as Lawrence here about the US having some kind of reckoning concerning its declining level of domination in the world. ………. The US/NATO have thrown in ALL their chips in this proxy war against Russia. The regime’s imperial managers intend to perpetuate a war of attrition – fight to the last Ukrainian – to attain long held objectives to see Russia dismembered and control its vast resources. To back down now would be unthinkable to the US regime. ……… I really can’t imagine the US proposing negotiations over Ukraine. i believe Blinken/Sullivan and the rest of those sociopaths who are firm about Russia giving up Crimea and leaving Donbas prior to ANY talks commencing. …..ain’t gonna happen. …..guess we’ll see, huh?

  13. Rafi Simonton
    May 30, 2023 at 19:43


    “…we hear a resounding NO to U.S. domination and see a market appetite for a world WITHOUT a hegemon.”

    Could it be that these Flat Earth unipolar advocates have figured out that there are other projections? And that these alternative views might show relevant information?

    Or is it like “I feel your pain” but the response is more neolib trickle up? Or like we “see” and “hear” your silly and envious words; we will continue to insist on empire because as power worshiping neocons, we desire it?

  14. Bob McDonald
    May 30, 2023 at 19:32

    The west is losing the hot war against Russia and the cold war against China. Why would we expect them to acknowledge either, especially in the runup to 2024?

  15. Michael Brackney
    May 30, 2023 at 18:42

    How wonderful to read that this past February Beijing stated that “the historical trends of peace, development, and win-win cooperation are unstoppable”, the very thing — except that “development” should be “sustainable development” — that I would have hoped that we Americans would have been saying! Of course this statement is closely linked to ruling Chinese interests much as our Open Door policy has always been linked to ruling American interests, but still, I’m very glad to hear that the Chinese are presenting such a positive and inclusive perspective, and I hope that we in the West as well as the Rest will listen up.

    Moreover, I hope that in the face of our acute existential challenges of war, nuclear devastation, and climate catastrophe we all will adopt this perspective extending beyond an “equality among nations”, which is always subject to the greater influence of greater powers, to the more fundamental equality of all people and all beings on Earth.

    PS: To me the photos look as revealing as the text: Fiona Hill looking perplexed, and Ramaphosa and Xi looking over the shoulders of their wives Motsepe and Peng.

  16. Lois Gagnon
    May 30, 2023 at 18:07

    At the moment, the US empire is under the control of a handful of imperialists in their 80s who live in past glory propped up by careerists whose only concern is being paid gobs of money to toe the uniparty line. If ever there was a time for the population to revolt, this would be it. If not for a subservient media, it would have already come to pass.

      May 30, 2023 at 19:24

      This new generation of careerists may interested in more than just money, but an extension of US global dominance, so they can take part in it, against all odds.

    • Cass Dean
      May 30, 2023 at 22:54

      Excellent observation.

      It’s mind-boggling that Kissinger is still the go-to guy of major newspapers for a foreign policy opinion.

  17. May 30, 2023 at 17:43

    In fairness, Hill described her own framing of “the rest” as a term that “reeks of colonialism”. So, to call it “retro” and evidence of denial is not quite accurate.

  18. Bill Todd
    May 30, 2023 at 17:10

    Now having read Hill’s speech it seems obvious to me that rather than foretelling any actual change in the West’s intentions it may simply be an expression of how best the West can tweak its narrative so as to maintain as much of its rule over the world as possible by appearing to recognize that ‘the rest of the world’ needs more apparent respect (rather then simple continued threats) to be willing to accept the current dominance via cosmetic changes to Western mechanisms like the U.N., ICC, IMF, financial system, etc. so as to avoid the risks (major change can of course be made to seem very risky when it can be avoided by just tweaking things a bit…) of recreating world governance anew to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past that brought us where we are today (gee, such as having given Russia and China vetos in the U.N. Security Council rather than limiting them to the West).

    Such a position is of course a hard sell to die-hard anti-Russian feeling in the Baltics without liberal doses of existing propaganda such as blatant crap like “Russia’s brutal and senseless war” and “Unlike Gorbachev and Yeltsin, Putin has never seriously sought an accommodation with NATO” whereas Putin’s problem with NATO is that its main members (in addition to more recent lies relative to the Minsk accords) reneged on their guarantees to Russia (including Gorbachev and Yeltsin) that it would not expand one inch closer to Russia and be largely replaced by new regional security organizations that included Russia along with the rest of Europe. But if you can get suckers in the rest of the world to eat this up along with promises of behaving less dictatorially that will constitute a real snatch of victory from the consequences of a self-imposed defeat due to your own hubris (who cares aboout temporary loss of a tad of pride in the process?).

    So let’s not start the victory party for ‘unstoppable’ multi-polarity yet: there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done keeping the real record straight until the rest of the world has a solid understanding of it. This transition (despite being one seriously sought by many here for many years) really began when Russia called the West’s bluff 15 months ago and managed to do so with sufficient class that it could not easily be misrepresented (beyond the propaganda-saturated West) as being just another imperial over-reach.

  19. Dfnslblty
    May 30, 2023 at 16:44

    After a quick read of Hill’s talk, I surmise that she wants to stand on her own two feet and slither away from usa’s lopsided perspectives on statesmanship and murderous action in the real world.
    Hill admits to usa’s geopolitical missteps and shortcomings.

    If she has like-minded collegues , may they all come out of the woodwork and set usa on a diplomatic path.

  20. Daniel Good
    May 30, 2023 at 15:57

    Maybe we are in a period of epochal change. But so what? Life seems to be going along as before. Who wants to speculate about epochal change which we cannot feel or see? And who knows if the epochal change won’t turn out to be good for every one. What seems more pertinent is that we are clearly in no position to fight any epochal wars. It’s a supply-line problem. We live in total safety but much too far away. So once we see that we have a stark choice between accepting the changes, what ever they are, or get into a war which we cannot win, well, we may sober up and learn to be polite to our fellow planet dwellers.

  21. Kerry Johnson
    May 30, 2023 at 14:00

    In contemplating (or, more ‘intuiting’) this matter, I see another alternative “explanation” for Beltway Thinkers, from Lawrence’s four (deaf, blind, stupid, denial) — “self-serving calculation” (with heavy doses of necessary “calculated deception” for public consumption). It seems highly likely that the Foreign Policy influencers act with much of a “group-think” (who then fit within Patrick’s four explanations), but NOT quite as a ‘monolith’. I sense that they’re probably a few ‘original thinkers’ who are somewhat ‘outliers’, but they are so calculating that “what they really think” cannot be determined. Further, I sense the ‘calculators’ want to ‘hold on to the status quo as long as possible’ (where their ‘meal-ticket’ is provided), before they ‘make the switch’ to reality. Possibly, the ‘picture’ that I just ‘painted’ is a little more accurate than even Lawrence’s, but I’m just thinking about these things in my recliner. (Who knows, for sure, eh?) Thanks

  22. Duane M
    May 30, 2023 at 12:53

    Excellent analysis by Mr. Lawrence. By happy coincidence, another insightful analysis of Ms. Hill’s address appeared today at Niccolo Soldo’s website:


    The two analyses play well together.

  23. Jeffrey Blankfort
    May 30, 2023 at 12:37

    Lawrence writes:

    Remember when, in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued their Joint Statement on International Relations Entering a New Era, which I continue to consider the most significant political document to be published so far in our century? The Russian and Chinese leaders were explicitly anti-anti–Western in that declaration.

    Remember when the Chinese Foreign Ministry, this past February, issued its Global Security Initiative Paper, wherein Beijing stated that “the historical trends of peace, development, and win-win cooperation are unstoppable?”

    Since then we have had the war in Ukraine, with the kindling provided by the US but launched by Russia with no end or the telling of the truth by either side in sight, the escalation of violence by Israel against the Palestinians by an increasingly fascist Israel against which neither China nor Russia will lift a hand, where China has major investments and Putin’s long time buddy, Netanyahu is back in power, and then there is Sudan. Lawrence is dreaming.

  24. Vera Gottlieb
    May 30, 2023 at 12:21

    By any chance…is the ’empire’ starting to become aware of the fact that the shit is about to hit the fan???

  25. Frank Munley
    May 30, 2023 at 12:08

    Thanks for Patrick Lawrence for his take-down of a pretentious “expert” on international relations. That Ukraine is the US-NATO proxy in a dangerous effort of the US to take down Russia is obvious to many of us but something the mainstream media refuses to mention. For this reason, my favorite part of Hill’s talk was in her opening remarks where she denies the proxy charge by rueing something that is true: “More than a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the brutal war Vladimir Putin ignited has transformed, as major regional conflicts often do, into a war with global ramifications. This has not, as Vladimir Putin and others claim, become a proxy war between the United States or the “collective West” (the U.S. and its European and other allies) against Russia. In the current geopolitical arena, the war is now effectively the reverse—a proxy for a rebellion by Russia and the “Rest” against the United States. The war in Ukraine is perhaps the event that makes the passing of pax Americana apparent to everyone. “

  26. Bushrod Lake
    May 30, 2023 at 11:20

    The hegemony of the U.S. – disturbingly joined by Sweden, Norway, Australia – carried on from the 19th Century Monroe Doctrine might have had some relevance then, but is now stupid de ja vu.
    In America, we are attempting to backstop our decline by going all out to produce nuclear weapons in Los Alamos and Savanna River; that is, to threaten the planet’s future life or accept our domination…we’ve lost the “moral high ground”.
    Fiona Hill is certainly intelligent and on her way to standing independently, getting out of Washington.

  27. Robert
    May 30, 2023 at 09:12

    Most wars end on specific dates in time, most notable being WW Two. The momentous change from unipolar world to multi polar world will not be associated with a specific day, month, or perhaps even year. However, the end of the provoked war in Ukraine will most likely be crucial to the “event”.

    The non western world has already acknowledged that the process has started and is unstoppable. A few in the western world have acknowledged it’s start, but most of those people think the process can still be reversed.

    The people of Ukraine are the unfortunate victims of the futility of western governments trying to reverse an unstoppable train.

    • Rafi Simonton
      May 31, 2023 at 21:04

      I like your basic analogy: movement as unstoppable. But a even a monstrous, mile and half long train is stoppable, such as the derailment of vinyl chloride in Ohio. Never mind the toxic results will last for decades at least; the local community and environment are merely economic cannon fodder.

  28. Seby
    May 30, 2023 at 05:03

    the person has always been a weasel. Name should be spelt in lower case even when she reluctantly and neurotically tells the truth.

    • irina
      May 30, 2023 at 23:28

      My introduction to fiona was by way of a book she wrote called ‘The Siberian Curse’. It was the most amazing and simultaneously ridiculous book imaginable, wherein she diagnosed all the ills of Siberia as it being a perpetually frozen land (like Narnia during the
      reign of the White Witch, to whom fiona does bear some resemblance . . . .) Apparently, she never considered that, like all northlands, Siberia does in fact have summer. She also made insane pronouncements about how fast a person would freeze in the dark, frozen north, and how unreliable vehicles and other machinery are, citing extreme metal fatigue in deep cold. (Good thing airplanes don’t
      simply shatter at 36,000 feet due to the cold !)

      Her solution, breezingly presented as the only viable option and with no consideration for the actual inhabitants of the vast Siberian landscape, was to move the entire population of Siberia to the outskirts of Moscow and St. Petersburg. I am not making this up.

      Having successfully lived in the Alaskan equivalent of the ‘frozen north’ for over 40 years, I found her treatise astounding; the continental subarctic is actually a very nice place to live as long as you are informed and prepared and adaptive. It’s a healthy climate with a good growing season and beautiful sparkly snowy winters. For anyone who wants a window into how ms fiona thinks, I would
      highly recommend at least glancing through ‘The Siberian Curse’. Her elitist, Atlanticist mindset doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere.

      • Valerie
        May 31, 2023 at 12:13

        That book sounds interesting Irina. 40 years in the “frozen north”; i successfully lived in the “inferno desert” for 25 years. Amazing how we adapt. I’ll look for that book. Thanks.

  29. Patrick Powers
    May 30, 2023 at 04:55

    I went to Harvard and can tell you that considering other peoples’ point of view is not what they do. We are the best, everyone else wants to be like us, and that’s all there is to it.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      May 30, 2023 at 12:22

      Surely you jest…

    • Bill Todd
      May 31, 2023 at 12:03

      “I went to Harvard and can tell you that considering other peoples’ point of view is not what they do. We are the best, everyone else wants to be like us, and that’s all there is to it.”

      It just struck me that I caught a definite whiff of this attitude when I replied “Thanks but I’ve decided to go elsewhere” to their acceptance letter 60 years ago. “Plus ça change”, I guess.

    • Rafi Simonton
      May 31, 2023 at 20:54

      Which confirms my suspicions about what I call the Ivy Ds. Who ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor–no need for betters to attend to us irrelevant lessers. Legacy students, descendants of the Best and Brightest who produced Vietnam, now repeating the March of Folly.

  30. Mikael Andersson
    May 30, 2023 at 04:10

    Here in Australia we are doubling down (tripling and quadrupling really) on the old word order. We’ve ceded our independence fully to the USA. We have integrated our economy into the US Military / Industrial system. We are a US military base for all the branches of its forces, and have been a spy base for many decades. Our obedience is unchallengeable, bi-partisan policy. Our media is an echo chamber for US establishment lies. Our young use American slang with American accents, American social norms and American attitudes.
    Don’t worry Pat, the old world order is alive and well Down Under.

    • Valerie
      May 30, 2023 at 09:00

      The same could be said about the UK, to a certain extent Mikael. However, if the money runs out on 5th June, these all might be moot points.

    • Susan Siens
      May 30, 2023 at 16:27

      Are people in Australia aware that their young people are to be used as proxy troops in the U.S.’s war with China? This is my interpretation of all the gung-ho propaganda being spread down under. The Australian military has been there with the U.S. in all our many wars since WWII, but this time we’ll only send “specialists” and you all can provide the cannon fodder.

    • Rob Roy
      May 30, 2023 at 16:28

      The downfall of Australia in my mind went beyond hope of loosening US/UK puppet strings the day the Queen fired Gough Whitlam. Downhill thereafter. If that horror hadn’t happened, the total subjugation, Australia aiming US nuclear missles at China (your biggest trading partner) might not have occured either.
      As for Fiona Hill, she won’t step on any more toes in the UK than she does here.

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