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Guy Cookson

Perhaps the rise of India and China as global powers with real weight will, in the best case scenario, serve to counter America's worst foreign policy excesses, which they've been free to pursue for so many years without sanction.

The examples provided above ("Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile, Chiang-Kai-shek in post-war China, Marshal Ky in Vietnam, the Saudi Arabian Royal despots in the Middle East, the Shah in Persia, even Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran war... Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib") really help to shatter the myth of Pax Americana as any kind of global stabilising force for good. It was a force alright, but whether you benefited from it very much depended on whether you happened to live a country with leaders willing to play America's game by America's rules.

They say that history is written by the victors (or is, as Napoleon Bonaparte put it, 'a lie agreed upon'), but today there are increasing numbers of books and documentaries emerging from Latin America and other places previously shielded from western eyes that catalogue American-backed catastrophes on an almost unimaginable scale. The oppression and slaughter was, in many cases, televised.

I hope that in this new century America will embrace change rather than try and retain their premier position. I think we all know power corrupts, so having a single superpower is perhaps not the best idea.

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