Why the Pandemic Has Revived Hard-Nosed Realism

Security officials stand guard outside the Great Hall of the People before an event to honor some of those involved in China’s fight against COVID-19, in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).
Security officials stand guard outside the Great Hall of the People before an event to honor some of those involved in China’s fight against COVID-19, in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).
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When al-Qaida targeted the centers of American financial and military power on 9/11, it believed that most of the world would welcome seeing the United States knocked down from its perch of power. Whether by accident or by design, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s leader and founder, had formulated his strategy based on an interpretation of classical realist theory, predicting that countries seeking to balance against American hegemony would be disinclined to get involved in any conflict that followed the attacks. Instead, while the ruins of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon still smoldered, leaders around the world pledged their […]

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