Shock and Awe was the name for the onslaught of missiles and bombing that was to initiate the U.S. invasion and would intimidate Saddam, quickly bringing his regime into submission. Little did we know that the opening days of the second Iraq war marked the end of the era of America as the world's dominant military power.
For the past week, the commercial arteries of Hong Kong have been clogged with (mostly) student demonstrators clamoring for "democracy." What is the end game here? I predict resolution, albeit one unsatisfying to most Westerners as well as a minority of Hong Kong citizens who aspire an American brand of democracy.
In Hong Kong, they may be protesting with umbrellas, but in Taiwan earlier this year, it was sunflowers. Hong Kong's protesters know as well as PRC policymakers that Taiwan is still watching very closely, and Beijing's wrong-footed response in Hong Kong today could halt Ma's push for greater Taiwanese cooperation.
A terrible irony is that, seen in the relatively short term of 25 years, the Tiananmen Square event didn't help the cause of China's progress to democracy, but seems to have led the government to take China to an opposite extreme. One possibility is that Hong Kong protestors will be compelled to give in if the region is to function at all, and the cycle of post-1989 China will repeat itself with more restrictions and less freedom.
India and China both see themselves as having outgrown a world order dominated by the West. They are moving beyond traditional bromides like their joint advocacy of the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," to pragmatic cooperation in the framework of the BRICS grouping. They recently came together to announce the creation of the BRICS Bank, which will be located in Shanghai and headed by an Indian.