The Decline of Soviet America

The witty phrase “late Soviet America” was coined by the Princeton historian Harold James back in 2020. It has only become more apposite since then as the cold war we’re in—the second one—heats up.

Advertisement

I first pointed out that we’re in Cold War II back in 2018. In articles for The New York Times and National Review, I tried to show how the People’s Republic of China now occupies the space vacated by the Soviet Union when it collapsed in 1991. 

This view is less controversial now than it was then. China is clearly not only an ideological rival, firmly committed to Marxism-Leninism and one-party rule. It’s also a technological competitor—the only one the U.S. confronts in fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. It’s a military rival, with a navy that is already larger than ours and a nuclear arsenal that is catching up fast. And it’s a geopolitical rival, asserting itself not only in the Indo-Pacific but also through proxies in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

But it only recently struck me that in this new Cold War, we—and not the Chinese—might be the Soviets. It’s a bit like that moment when the British comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb, playing Waffen-SS officers toward the end of World War II, ask the immortal question: “Are we the baddies?

I imagine two American sailors asking themselves one day—perhaps as their aircraft carrier is sinking beneath their feet somewhere near the Taiwan Strait: Are we the Soviets?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Sponsored

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement