Almost 10 years ago a series of books and articles were written discussing the decline of the United States and what can happen after its fall from superpower status. The financial meltdown of 2008 together with the unending wars of Iraq and Afghanistan made many believe that the U.S. would not be able to come back from such major challenges.
The outrage over George Floyd’s death at the hands of a racist police officer, which triggered riots in 140 cities across the United States and forced President Donald Trump to threaten military action against protestors, highlighted the importance of "the streets." Attempts to reshape politics through street protests have repeatedly captured the world’s attention over the last three decades. The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, along with other anti-communist uprisings across Eastern Europe, was hailed as a new wave of democratization. Although that revolution resulted in Czechoslovakia’s partition, most observers celebrated its peaceful nature.
The events that have unfolded in the wake of the killing of George Floyd will surely take their place in the history books. The nature of the demonstrations and the violence will likely be pored over by academics for years.
A wave of protests has been shaking the United States for the past week. The riots, which started in Minneapolis when a white police officer caused an African American's death by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, spread to 25 major cities. As the initially peaceful anti-racist protests took a violent turn, the United States government deployed the National Guard and military units. The media reports, depicting streets on fire, luxury stores being looted and soldiers on the ground, make the U.S. seem like a Middle Eastern or African nation grappling with civil war.
The main focus of the politicians, academicians, researchers and intellectuals in the United States has been China for the last several decades as Americans believe China has the biggest potential to challenge the American hegemony. Publishing houses have been publishing books and academic journals have been covering research articles about China, a country that widely remains a mystery for most Americans; therefore, they closely follow developments about China to track not only political, military and economic developments but also its scientific and technological potential. In other words, there has been an increasing polarization between the U.S. and China, which has further accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.