Alfred W. McCoy

Articles by this author

This country now looks tattered and tired, caught like others before it between forgetting in the name of unity or demanding the powerful be held accountable for high crimes that will otherwise haunt the nation. (Photo: istock/Getty) Views
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Waking from a Four-Year Fever Dream to Find US Global Power Gone
After four years of Donald Trump’s fitful tenure, America is awakening from a long, troubled sleep to discover, like the fictional character Rip Van Winkle, that the world it once knew has changed beyond all recognition. In that classic American tale by Washington Irving published in 1819, an...
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So successful were Reagan Republicans in framing this partisan drug policy as a moral imperative that two of his liberal Democratic successors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, avoided any serious reform of it. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, April 09, 2019
America's Self-Inflicted Wound: 100 Years of the War on Drugs
We live in a time of change, when people are questioning old assumptions and seeking new directions. In the ongoing debate over health care, social justice, and border security, there is, however, one overlooked issue that should be at the top of everyone’s agenda, from Democratic Socialists to...
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An American flag in Killington, Vermont, in the aftermath of 2011’s Hurricane Irene. (Photo: AP Photo / Matt Rourke) Views
Thursday, February 28, 2019
What Does It Take to Destroy a World Order?
Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not U.S. global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-...
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Zbigniew Brzezinski Views
Monday, December 03, 2018
Trump’s Trade Czar, The Latest Architect of Imperial Disaster
As Washington’s leadership fades more quickly than anyone could have imagined and a new global order struggles to take shape, a generation of leaders has crowded onto the world stage with their own bold geopolitical visions for winning international influence. Xi Xinping has launched his trillion-...
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"Instead of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or even the WTO, Trump favors bilateral deals rewritten to the (supposed) advantage of the United States." (Photo: Beijing/ Shutterstock) Views
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power. Just as conflicts between American President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister Lloyd George...
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Golden Shower Diplomacy and the Hidden Meaning of American Decline
Month by month, tweet by tweet, the events of the past two years have made it clearer than ever that Washington’s once-formidable global might is indeed fading. As the American empire unravels with previously unimagined speed, there are many across this country’s political spectrum who will not...
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After years of seeming compliance with Washington’s rules for good global citizenship, China’s recent actions in Central Asia and the continent’s surrounding seas have revealed a two-phase strategy that would, if successful, undercut the perpetuation of American global power. (Photo: Naval Surface Warriors/flickr/cc.) Views
Monday, April 09, 2018
Gunboat Diplomacy and the Ghost of Captain Mahan
Amid the intense coverage of Russian cyber-maneuvering and North Korean missile threats, another kind of great-power rivalry has been playing out quietly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The U.S. and Chinese navies have been repositioning warships and establishing naval bases as if they were so...
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"In a globalizing world interconnected by trade, the Internet, and the rapid proliferation of nuclear-armed missiles, walls won’t work." (Photo: BBC World Service/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tweeting While Rome Burns: The World According to Trump
As 2017 ended with billionaires toasting their tax cuts and energy executives cheering their unfettered access to federal lands as well as coastal waters , there was one sector of the American elite that did not share in the champagne celebration: Washington’s corps of foreign policy experts...
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soldier in poppy field Views
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Into the Afghan Abyss (Again)
After nine months of confusion, chaos, and cascading tweets, Donald Trump’s White House has finally made one thing crystal clear: the U.S. is staying in Afghanistan to fight and—so they insist—win. “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American...
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For the first time, a top strategic think-tank, closely aligned with the U.S. military and long famous for its influential strategic analyses, was seriously contemplating a major war with China that the United States would not win. Views
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
World War III With China
For the past 50 years, American leaders have been supremely confident that they could suffer military setbacks in places like Cuba or Vietnam without having their system of global hegemony, backed by the world’s wealthiest economy and finest military, affected. The country was, after all, the...
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