Ed West asks, "Twenty years on, who are the big winners from globalization?"

It was the day in 2001 that changed everything, the day after which nothing would be the same again, the day when the century really began and the end of history… anyway you get the laboured point, and can guess from this overly portentous opening that the plot twist is I’m not talking about September 11.

There is certainly an argument that December 11, 2001 was more important in the long term than the rather more dramatic day three months earlier, being the date of China’s admittance to the World Trade Organisation. The agreement put the People’s Republic on the path to riches and global prominence, and the United States… well, it’s too early to tell.

The age of ‘Chimerica’ has always had something bleakly funny to it, the contradiction between China’s embittered and ruthless determination, and America’s naïve universalism. Although the neoconservative corpse doesn’t need anyone else punching it, foreign policy hopes for China seem almost as naïve as their dreams for Iraq and Afghanistan. Just recently, for instance, it was reported that at an internment camp in Xinjiang two of the officials were fellows of Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

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