From the perspective of the United States, globalization means ever-increasing ties between our country and the rest of the world, leading to an unprecedented political, financial, and social intertwining of affairs. This can have its upside, providing a boon to business and unexpected dividends to cultural life, and its downside—see the international effect of the 2008 American financial crisis. But more surprisingly for American viewers, and perhaps more painful, too, is the realization that globalization spells a post-American world, to borrow a phrase from Fareed Zakaria.
Today brings news that China and Russia are deep into negotiations that would send 68 billion cubic meters of gas yearly to China for the next thirty years. Russia has bounced back from the depths of its post-Communist economic funk of the 1990s through its extensive oil and gas holdings, and is looking to expand beyond its current stronghold in Western Europe, whose energy needs are largely supplied by Russia. China is still growing at a dizzying pace, and must secure a steady flow of energy to propel its new cities, fuel its new cars, and provide for its new industries.
Russia and China, historically wary of each other, combatants in a short-lived war only forty years ago, are cementing their ties as the powers of the East. And their alliance does not run through Washington. In the new age of American fiscal and political austerity, perhaps the hardest part of the new world Americans find themselves in is the realization that the United States is no longer always at the center of global affairs.