It's probably due to the fact that I'm turning 80 next year, but I've been looking back on my life a lot lately. It was 50 years ago that I came to Washington as a young newspaper correspondent, 38 years ago that I became Vice President Mondale's press secretary, 21 years ago that I helped start The Hill, and ten years ago that I began writing for the Huffington Post.
In order to understand what is going on in Ukraine, history matters and the narrative of the other as well. Putin is a brutal leader yet his popularity rose as a result of the crisis. Not necessarily because he is a new Hitler as many argue but because he managed to inscribe his narrative in a Russian narrative with deep historical roots.
What we are witnessing in Ukraine today is not so much the revival of the Cold War as the sharp edge of a clash of civilizations in the unfolding post-American era. American-led globalization since the end of the Cold War has led to the convergence of patterns of growth and the spread of technology worldwide, enabling the rise of the emerging economies such as China, Russia, India and Turkey. But far from creating a flat and homogenous world, this convergence has led to a new divergence because economic strength engenders cultural, political and even military self-assertion. As we are seeing every day from the East China Sea to Syria to Crimea, the American-led West is no longer at the helm of today's order. Indeed, no one is. Above all, globalization today means an interdependence of plural identities.