Culture Fudge in the Anglozone: Gideon Rachman's "global west" (sic, in lowercase).
Culture Fudge in the Anglozone: Gideon Rachman’s “global west” (sic, in lowercase) in the Financial Times.
By Fernando Gómez-Herrero
I read the Financial Times, paper of record and perhaps first choice among some elites (Anglo and others) across the Atlantic divide, mostly the East Coast of the U.S. (Washington and New York) and London, preferably. The touch on other capitals is lighter. But there is cosmopolitanism. How to Spend It, the fashion magazine in the weekend edition of the paper recently adopted its initials as the new name (HTSI). Apparently, the rationale was that the new times are more austere and require a more disguised demeanour. The acronym (HTSI) may catch the unguarded by surprise. And how to say it anyway? The magazine formally known as… Yet, the leopard cannot change its rosettes easily and why should “it”? “It” cannot be helped. The October 2022 issue of HTSI has the front cover of a discreet ginger gal with winter jumper and some ropes on the shoulder. Unsmiling facial expression: “How to spend it wisely: Fresh ideas for a new world order,” is the title of the issue. The joke had it that the “s” of the new acronym could be filled-up by the readers at will (sing and swing, shoot and shit, swap and slap, snack, snap and snort, etc.). Fashion shares the platform with world affairs, the excellent music reviews, the ecosystem of detailed market data, bonds, shares, equities and analysis. I am illiterate in those but not in what follows and popular culture often gives us the tempo and texture of what is going on, sometimes tangentially. There is something of this fashion discretion and (ideological) dissimulation and equivocation that also applies to other more serious environments. Take for example, the well-known world affairs commentator of the Financial Times, Gideon Racham, who wrote a recent piece “Xi’s China and the rise of the ‘global west’ [sic with quotation marks and lowercase], Tuesday 25 October 2022, page 19). This is the central concern of this piece. Let us do a bit of discourse analysis.
Notice that the verb is missing in the title in the article. The order of preference is inverted. That is to say, the author is closer to the west than China, notice the uppercase and the lowercase in the original. He wants to promote the rise not of the one explicitly mentioned but the counter-response of the other unit of preference. The article is a rhetorical push via indirection, call it American, in the direction of an antagonism to the wrong rise according to the author. Will it persuade a lot of its readers? Let us parse the rhetorical construct with care.
The dichotomous, binary and Manichaean framing of the scene is clear from the get-go. Take a double take at the title: where are “we” [readers] supposed to be if not going along with the writer vis-a-vis the othering of Xi Jinping’s China? The personalisation of the Chinese leader does not find an immediate personalisation of the other number. But, try Joe Biden. Interestingly, Vladimir Putin is not mentioned. Britain is missing in action too. We are with two or three capitals and a bunch of nations, not many. The fingers of one hand suffice. Two hands are plenty for the vision of the world that Rachman defends. The larger unit Rachman will be defending is reactive in nature, at least according to his presentation. The imaginary construct Rachman wants to build must also be big given the colossal dimension of China, with or without Xi Jinping, the current President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). You are not going to roll out a mouse to fight the dragon. Rachman’s individualisation bypasses these immense bureaucracies, not to mention the colossal dimension of China (population 1.4 billion people). The name of the foreign leader suffices for explanatory purposes. Imagine if one returns the operation and says “Sunak’s Britain and the rise of the great Chinese millenarian civilisation” (Britain’s population is 67 million). Who would tolerate Britain shrinking to Sunak''s feet? Who would feel intimidated out there? The article is thus a search for allies.
The monumental disproportion puts the writer in a bind and the writing is ab initio inside a minuscule place of enunciation: you coming from an island nation in the periphery of the old continent in relation to those colossal terrestrial entities? Some imagined community must be invoked, no matter what. Rhetorically, we must “gang up” on other big units. There is the automatic assumption of a “methodological nationalism” and also of patrimonialism of the “good ideas” that Rachman will consider his own. Our proud English inhabitant of the island nation of white-South-African heritage, must supersize the entity or entelechy opposing Xi Jinping’s China. The top opposite number will not be quoted, unlike two or three others who will. Hence, “global west” in quotation marks and lowercase —feigned modesty, common name and no proper name?— versus an assertive China with its arrogant uppercase power (“assertive” is commonplace euphemism thrown at others in conventional diplomatic discourse; Sunak will not be called “assertive” in international settings, neither Biden, bold perhaps). One must hear the music in the foreign-affairs lingo conventions. The article includes a visual addition, a mixture of photo-montage with cartoon elements: a poker-face Xi Jinping is sitting behind a long table, also behind a big pot of tea, and he is surrounded by faceless generic drawings of party men with mouths covered with a black cross of a plaster. The demonisation of the foreign top leader automatically visually reinforces the oppositional build-up of the desirable location elsewhere, presumably another more photogenic reader with many smiles and healthy exchanges with attractive aides holding in a more enticing beverage in the indifferent “global west.” This West is not about reading Cervantes or Shakespeare or listening to Coltrane or Puccini. There is nothing immediately civilisational or cultural per se in it. It is a purely geopolitical manoeuvre of difference that clarifies and tries to demarcates a political antagonism (“global west” is us v. the rest of the “them”). Rachman wants his readers to be with him inside that “us” —you and me together, right?— versus the Chinese and the Russians and a few others left unnamed. The reader does not have to follow suit.
Rachman reads events from afar. This is bird’s eye view of planet earth or better satellite. Or rather he is a consumer of mass media like all of us. How else? Our world affairs commentator sees the former president of China, Hu Jintao, being “ushered forcibly.” This is a message of “utter ruthlessness” and “total control.” He reads the signs. He checks out the tea leaves. Xi wants to rule for life, he will “bulldoze whoever stands in his way —whether at home or abroad.” That is the introduction paragraph. We get the instant picture. Who will stand up to that bully? And who will not? Is Rachman a sympathetic friend of Hu Jintao? Who is returning the ball to this ruthless foreigner in high power who does not respect limits? Rachman’s current prime minister? The FT article comes out the 25th of October, Sunak assumes the premiership officially the 24th after the 50 days of Liz Truss. The British scene could not have been more fragile. Where is Rachman going to go? You guessed it right: to the Americans, of course.
Such sight of the Chinese Communist Party Congress confirms —pay attention to the cause-and-effect sequence— the statement in the National Security Strategy released in the same fateful October 2022 that the “PRC [People’s Republic of China] presents America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge.” The active-verb sentence puts the American mindset in the official tongue always first responding to the Chinese “challenge.” Like a self-appointed go-between, Rachman is putting himself in the theoretical mediating role between these two big powers. There is no equidistance. He is interpreter of this world contention like the assumed neutral referee in a Wimbledon tennis match. Neutral he is not. Nor does he pretend to be. Discreetly, it is not called Biden’s “west,” though it is. It is the “west” American power made. The article is deliberate in its imprecision and blurred lines. Our times is one of muddy waters. The nomenclature is vaguely civilisational, implicitly Anglo by filter, by default, really geopolitical. This “west” is game and presumed gain of ally addition in a general landscape that has no name of capitalism. Perchance Trump’s “west” if he comes back? De Santis’s? There is an understated coyness and a cuteness here. American power suffices, but it is not explicitly stated either unlike others. European continent is missing in action. It is “allies” or “partners” as the Brexiteers now say. There is understatement and hiding one’s own cards, not disclosing fully one’s own position seeking the umbrella term of “global west.” The FT world affairs analyst is happy to delegate the interpretation of the world that matters to the American state apparatus speaking in the official tongue of an antagonism barely softened by the notion of “challenge.” One can easily change the lingo and upscale the terminology to conflict and war, cold or hot, at the drop of a hat. This type of article is preparation of further conflicts to come. Accusatory fingers are all pointing in one direction, or two (Russia and China). What anchors this “global [or expansive] west” Rahman is U.S. state power. Rachman is mesmerised by it. This is his lighthouse that illuminates the dark world out there.
How is the general landscape set up? This is almost a national-allegory landscape painted with thick brushes. Rachman assumes the “good position,” that is, the virtuous subject who is supposed to know about tricky things. Except that this knowledge operation is typically externalised to the Americans, who are the consequential very good position against the Chinese and the Russians. These two are subaltern categories that never speak to us via the Rachman mediation. Rachman tells us that “the Americans” view China above Russia, currently waging war in “Europe.” We are dealing with big rocks, blocks or blobs. The colossal dimension of China requires the pursuit of allies that can “loosely be called the “global west” (sic, do not miss the adverb, which is of the essence in my critical take and of course the quotation marks). Such phrase is the flotation line that the critical torpedo hits to sink the entire “global west” ship. The tongue is and has to be loose and hang loosely in the modulated English diction that echoes official American declaration of intent. The American intent is the number-one-position in “whodunnit” of this “global west.” Do not expect any other nationality to occupy this position of agency or interpretation. It is exclusively American agency and American doing. It is English —or better British— lady in waiting, “all-purpose equerry” (Perry Anderson’s terminology), cheerleader, rallying the troops, mimicking and faithfully going along… less so with the input of the European family. Allied Asians, invisible presence too.
Here we are then: welcome to the brave new world of an Area-Studies reconfiguration that moves away from Europe and pivots to Asia in the new era of China’s rise to global supremacy, Russia’s war in Ukraine, covid and Brexit. Primary-colour palette, very thick brushes. Are we for a repetition of the conflicts among land and sea powers? So, we have two big land challengers and one distant sea power (U.S.) without much penetration in the big Eurasian landmass. An imaginary construct of a containment strategy may be in the offing. Hence, the name of the “global west” that is not bound to geography, Rachman tells us. Like the chronotopes of the great Bakhtin, we can almost imagine “global-west” satellites, enclaves, colonies sprinkled around the Indo-Pacific. Global west is constructed as eminently reactive to the fabricated notion of the global south and the colossal civilisational entities of Russia and China. Proportionality is thrown out the window. India does not count. No BRICS either. It is “more about ideas than actual geography.” Whose thinking heads are these remains unsaid, but one must infer that Uncle Sam and John Bull are always near this “idealism.” Some will have good ideas and others will have bad ideas, some others none and still some others plenty of all of them in the same soup. Guess where Rachman puts himself?
Fear not: “global west” is “rich liberal democracies with strong security ties to the U.S.” As a British citizen, Rachman cannot invoke the European Union or even NATO, which is now insufficiently global in scope and also insufficiently local in relation to the war in Ukraine. Berlin Wall is no more. Germany is no longer the centre of the attention. No Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin anymore. John le Carre has left the room of operations. The spies have gone elsewhere. Now, you have to go to the Indo-Pacific (PACOM is one of the military zones of the U.S. command). Except you don’t if you can help it. “Xi’s China and the rise of the ‘global west’” epitomises the general view from Bracken House, 1 Friday Street and 10 Cannon Street in the City of London, the current site of the Financial Times, historically on a cleared bomb site close to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Do you wish to guess the cover of Ikenberry’s latest book A World Safe for Democracy? Rachman’s article is journalistic nutshell of identical world view (see my extensive review, “The latest American appropriation of Western universalism: A critique of G. John Ikenberry’s “Liberal international order,” freely available in https://journal.thenewpolis.com/archives/1.1/index.html ).
We are not going round the world like Phileas Fogg. The Indo-Pacific: that is where Racham is going mentally for signs of trouble. Ukraine takes a secondary role, following the American vision of the said Biden-administration document. Two more nations are added to the pot of the “traditional western allies in Europe and North America:” Japan and Australia. Europe is big, loose bag and North America is enlargement of the U.S. with Canada. Agent position (Washington): these are the nations that Washington hopes align with the U.S. in an emerging cold war with China. The article is not about political theory but about double-consciousness of the strategy according to the view provided by the American eyes. Ranchman’s vision may be VIP but is not top-secret. China does not appear to have allies. It is just China. Asia is empty. So is Africa. Latin America does not exist. There is something rhetorically dubious and thuggish about this cornering of the single nation by the others summoned by our English writer of Jewish and white-South-African provenance according to Wikipedia. Grab this information with a pinch of salt. No one is entirely one’s own birthplace and origin or heritage or even education, but it does surely have meaning in relation to professional pursuits and ideological leanings.
Convention has it that capital names signal governments’ intentions and interests: the aggressor is always the duality, Beijing and Moscow, going for Taiwan and Ukraine. There is the additional danger that Russia is cutting off energy supplies and China is exerting trade sanctions against South Korea and Lithuania. The “global west” —always with quotation marks although the article drops them mid-way, hence naturalising the imagined community— is “increasingly alive to the risk of economic coercion.” There is something of a hit-and-run in this prose, like it is always those “big others” who do the damage to the world whereas the assumed position, which is American-super-sized with these “allies,” is rhetorically the one providing the good ideas and not putting up with it. But there is nothing evidentiary about this prose. This is not investigative reporting. This is purely desiderative opinion piece and fore-ordained position-taking on the ideological spectrum that mostly Americanises political intent. All the other possible positions within this “global west” are followers, chorus girls to the leader and prima donna, no matter how disoriented or troubled or decayed. There is more: the control of the technologies of the future by China. One anonymous source, one “senior US official” calls this scenario “a terrifying surveillance autocracy.” Rachman fills in with the adverbial complement, “with a worldwide reach.” Our world affairs analyst helps spread the peanut butter to cover the entire sliced bread.
Rachman is promoting what he would like to see happening that is not happening quite yet: the coming together of this ideational “global west.” More nations are added: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea were invited to participate, he says, to a “Nato summit.” So, “global west” is “Nato” best in the joint declaration of “China as a threat.” Our friends in Ratiu Forum will not like that Eastern Europe is not mentioned. There is more security: the more prosaic acronym of AUKUS (security pact between Australia, U.K. and U.S.) is also mentioned. So, “security” is the glue that ties tight the ideas to the mask and the face of this “global west.”
There is a quick reference to the G7 group of “leading industrial nations,” which is now displaced by the G20 which “includes China, Russia and several countries from the global south,” he adds in grand generality. Adding specificity, these G20 members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. This is quite a collection of apples piling up on top of our analyst. I do not know many experts who could juggle them gracefully in the air. Surely Rachman cannot either. Hence, the cursory pen silences most of them.
You can call those nations, or apples, good and healthy, old and rotten and I would love to hear our chief journalist of world affairs whether he considers Argentina, Brazil and Mexico “west” or something else, if Saudi Arabia is liberal internationalist in the order, if Turkey, India, Indonesia play any ball in the rest of the west or west-west, if the doubling of France and Germany in the European-Union seat in the G20 is pragmatism or cynical play. Does South Africa mean anything at all other than great rugby inside a brutally big continent that is typically missing in action in global affairs? Rachman does not name his country of origin or affiliation. Nor does he clarify what about it should matter or not. Ominous silence. Latin America is close second in the invisibilities of this “global west.” Big Asia —outside China, South Korea and Japan— is also missing.
We are by now tossing incoherently one too many apples —like nations— high in the November air and these are falling loudly onto the epistemic ground. What is the horizon? What is the vision? What is the history? Do ideas spread evenly inside these national geographies? Do they bypass and overlap and ride horses and fences? Run the argument ad absurdum to knock Rachman from his silly ideational high horse that feeds off, he says, a differentialist and belligerent “global west.” By the middle of the article one wonders what Rachman is up to. Up to no good. One brutally synthetic exonym (west) with the adjective (global) is supposed to bring together a motley crue of dissimilar nations. It is nations all right, but they are summoned in the name of “security” against the “bad nations” of Russia and China. Who is going to help us understand what is going on? Who is Rachman going to invite to the speaking platform? Xi? Putin? Sunak? Sanchez? Lopez obrador perchance? An American of course. Janet Yellen, US-Treasure secretary who speaks, buckle up, of “friendshoring.” The neologism was endorsed by Chrystia Freehand, Canadian deputy prime minister. So it is US and CA without the M (USMCA is the prosaic acronym of the US, Mexico and Canada agreement substituting the previous NAFTA). No Lopez Obrador? Why is no one surprised? If the ladies like the awful term, Rachman is not going to tell them otherwise. Valid point of “ally-shoring” with no inconvenient Mexican middle that would take matters in many directions, the history of the West in the last five hundred years included.
Is such idea of the “global west” up to the task? It does not appear so. China’s Belt-and-Road initiative launched in 2013 is a $4 tn. on global infrastructure projects, Rachman dixit. The G7 launched a $600 bn fund to “mobilise investment in global infrastructure.” Two juggernauts, one moving ahead earlier and bigger, methodical and with millenarian wisdom, the other lagging behind, younger, slower and slimmer and certainly more disoriented. We could revisit the science-fiction film directed by the esteemed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim. This is not my favourite del Toro and yet it is valid visual analogy in popular culture of what Rachman’s political unconscious replays in “Xi’’s China and the rise of the “global west.”’ It is precisely an exotic Pacific-Rim male fantasy of titans fighting each other.
There is no other way of doing things, apparently other than this rhetorical marking of differences, which betrays a great lack of the imagination. Ranchman’s position is already over-determined. It gets worse. “The countries of the global west argue that they are banding together to defend universal values, underpinning a liberal world order.” This is coming from the G. John Ikenberry playbook and one can see the general line of the Financial Times in it too. It has not occurred to these gentlemen -and there are some ladies too— that the critique of universalism is already one, if not two centuries old. But they continue playing this music out of tune in rarified meetings to reduced audiences. Credit to Rachman where credit is due: he registers the skepticism of China, Russia and that of the global south pointing fingers in the direction of hierarchies, imperialism and white supremacy (this must have been a close encounter for someone coming from and raised in South Africa; walking along the streets of London, Birmingham or Manchester deliver insights too). Will Rachman quote from authority sources of these monumentally big other parts of the world (China, Russia, global south)? No. Of course not. He simply speaks of opinion polls. So, he assigns “ideas” (universalism, liberal world order) in the manner of strictly come Anglo dancing, to such “global west” and assigns general skepticism in the trio of Russia, China and the global south. Easy enough? Ideas like native species of plants grow in some parts and not in others but the geography is deliberately blurred. Don’t seeds and pollen travel miles? These nations are manageable boxes with no Pandoras, mixtures, cross-breedings, etc. Perhaps next time we should have some proper names giving us some “friendshoring” and “foe-distancing” for a good cognitive mapping of the different positions on the table. Rachman’s “Xi’s China and the rise of the ‘global west’” does this three- four-part splitting up (“us v. them,” i.e. China, Russia and the global south posing questions about hierarchy and racism) with clarity. The “modesty” of the lowercase fools no one. “West” is no proper name but loose bundle of nations qua allies or partners that look up to the sun of American power. The desire of the article is to swap and slap the uppercase of the one nation for the lowercase of the imaginary community of political belligerence that is his.
There are, however, fractures, he tells us, in such synthetic entity of “global west.” American unilateralism is the cause of one of these fractures. Rachman signals that the US is doing “ferocious restrictions” on Chinese technological exports, and that the Europeans, South Koreans and Japanese are in trouble. Always pay attention to the (American) cause and effect in the rest of the world in the article. Any alternatives? There is an indirect-style reference to the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz who has “restated his belief in globalisation —in what felt like a rebuke to the U.S.” Globalisation is good terminology for Rachman whose vision is in general not that far away, I find, from that of the “world is flat” type of vision a la Thomas-Friedman. Except that now there are a few more hiccups in the throat as we go all go down the road of an interregnum and vacant Leviathan sovereign in the early decades of the 21st century. It is very telling: Belt-and-Road is not called globalisation. Globalisation is now not the purview of the U.S., as it used to be, but the big and messy country of Ikenberry and Biden and also Trump and even mine remains in the driver seat and sole agent of the “global west,” and Rachman is holding both good ideas in the hands, globalisation and global west via the ineluctable American mediation. Uncle Sam or bust, he appears to be saying, with the moderating influence of the Germans. No Brits. No French either. No plan B. The final paragraph re-asserts the desire that Uncle Sam must persuade its “partners” that the “darkest fears” about Russia and China are “justified.” Final sentence returns to the sight of Hu Jintao being escorted out of the Communist party congress as the proof of the pudding of the American national strategy plan that Rachman is endorsing. He does not seek Hu Jintao’s words. Our world affairs commentator remains mesmerised by the one-eye intelligence of this powerful nation-state Polyphemus (Octavio Paz called it the “philanthropic ogre”).
The knickers should be twisted by now. Basic discourse analysis unpicks Rachman’s rhetorical gimmicks. I think we are dealing with globalisation part two or three in this label of “global west” that is reactive, incomplete, incoherent, nation-state-blob of an imaginary larger unity that is not civilisational or cultural but simply one or two “ideas” mounted on a sorry pedestal in political antagonism against Russia and China. Don’t these have ideas too? This is what I suspect: that we are dealing with the remodelling of the discourse of “globalisation” that started by 1999. The noun is now often in the negative (deglobalisation) and its poly-syllabic nominal assertion is too cumbersome. It requires shortening. Hence, “global” and what else for a big unit but “west”? Here, there is no animation of the mummy. “Xi’s China and the rise of the ‘global west’ is like a dummy ventriloquising small segments of the American ideological state apparatus. There is no flesh, blood and meat in the bones of this “west.” No enticing geography. No desirable subject worthy of imitation. The identity of this “west” is with “security.” It is above all opposition to two or three other units that become automatically negation or difference, “non-west.” This is a brutally simplistic account and it is fully intentional. There is a distancing from any attempt at any mixture, mestizaje and space in between. There is camouflage in this “west.” There is stalking horse in this “global.” This obfuscation is what characterises the interregnum of uncertain sovereign and the hesitations and disorientations in the Anglozone (U.S. and U.K.), epicentre of power and privilege of the historical and geopolitical West since the 1950s (ask Arnold Toynbee and others about it). This weak call for “global west” in quotation marks and lowercase is coming from the Anglozone that is closing ranks.
Hill & Aubrey is in charge of the photography
Dear reader of these pages, whoever you may be: is this your “West”? Do you even have an operative notion, unlike my students in British and American universities who barely make sense of the term? The Anglozone is part of my West, but it is certainly not the whole of it by any stretch of the imagination. For Rachman, the Anglozone is the apple in the eye. I resent this standard narrow-Anglo focus that is hype-rnormalised frame in Britain and also the U.S. against so much demonised foreignness and I say publicly so in relation to the self-assigned arrogation of the brutally complex civilisational category of “West” that is here shamelessly put to geopolitical uses and abuses of one or two, perhaps three nation-states jockeying for power and privilege in the conjuncture. Rahman is John-Ikenberryesque and vice versa: self-described “liberal” —but no neo-liberal— and inevitably restless and expansionist. He claims the signs of “global” and “world,” i.e. incontinent and universalist. Only big units are counted with the fingers of one hand, two are more than enough, and these few nations are admitted to the possibility of thinking about the world at large, apparently. Yet, the closer you get, the sooner you realise that the Rachmans and the Ikenberrys of this world are talking to each other and to a very few friends in ad-hoc arrangements tossing G7 or G20 or NATO, no longer EU, for a British skeptic of it, no United Nations and little else. The word “capitalism” is not mentioned. The word “democracy” is not mentioned either. But “they” —the others— are “autocracy,” according to one anonymised US state official enunciating from a hide-and-seek position. World is background. West is force multiplier. Global is nonsense yet still valid adjective for those who ride the lingua franca and know no languages they do not use to explore peoples, temporalities and geographies they could not care about in the slightest. Global? West? There is here a push for exceptionalism that shamelessly speaks of an imagined universality without the need for grounds, horizons or foundations. The gesture is comparable to the Church of England discourse that plays softly the difference inside the Commonwealth within and against the catholicity of Christianity and against all other religions. Charles III reminds the “defender of the faith.” Correspondingly, this type of Rachmanesque discourse moves in print easily across the Atlantic with supreme naturalism on both coasts. Live, it must move inside more restricted circles. It does not fly. It is supreme and depressing example of the closing of the English mind echoing the debilitated discourse of the closing of the American mind apropos this gimmick of the “global west.” I am adding my bit to the critique of such grotesque appropriation of the civilisational category that includes, certainly, Britain, the U.S. and supposedly other nations north and south of the borders of Europe and the Americas and increasingly Asia. What is it if not an antagonistic response to Asian growth and counter-measures to China’s rise? This is the gist of this “global west,” now that the notion of “globalisation” is under interrogation. But “West” is equally losing ground, traction, attraction and usefulness inside official circles in the U.S.
Who else is doing this global nonsense and culture fudge? Are there any other volunteers for this deliberate non-specificity precisely done often in the name of diversity? In times of compression and recession, “global studies” have emerged. “Global” is the inevitable sauce that is added to the breakfast, lunch and dinner. Surely, there is an element of window-dressing of other worrisome things in the back of the shop, like the field of the “modern languages” in Britain and the internalisation of the student population. Get close and tell me what specificities you see, how healthy the numbers, how good the working conditions, how nice the sordid pay, etc. Something of that is also rhetorically operative in the “global west” of Rachman. The Financial Times remains an influential ideological vehicle intended for the privileged creatures of globalisation traveling in the preferred route of New York City and London and a handful of other capitals, and the elites who want a piece of such “west.” Perhaps we should call it something else.
Hill & Aubrey is in charge of the photography
“How to spend it wisely: Fresh Ideas for a New World Order” is refreshingly open about such endeavours. The specific October 2022 HTSI section comes in autumnal colours. Girl-next-door Luca Biggs is the model. Hill & Aubrey is in charge of the photography. James Aubrey does the writing. There is no one single smile in those fourteen photographs. There is some understatement and discretion. It is “Devon sent.” The setting is Agatha Christie’s “beloved Burgh Island,” which calls for “timeworn treasures, conscious designs, and an undimmed spirit of adventure.” The dress is £1,670, the shirt is £1,020, the shoes £360, the jumpsuit £1,206, the wool jumper £700, etc. “England is a land of adventure.” We can skip the prose that goes along. And “Then there were none.” I recommend the engaging novel of Agatha Christie taking place in a mansion set up in an island off the coast of Devon. Chase down the original title that is typically now erased because of the “n-word.” Chase also more information about the owners of the paper of record in question, which is the Japanese holding company, Nikkei, at least according to Wikipedia. We have now at least three islands. There is also another big island nation, one old continent in between titanic forces, at least one war in the open and one colossal millenarian civilisation moving fast to achieve number-one status. Rachman is doing the best he can rhetorically to prevent that rise from happening. The Japanese ownership adds a twist to the “global west” conundrum promoted by the quality paper. Perhaps we can do a HTSI to the “gw,” thus in lowercase, but mostly for team USA and team GB inside the order of knowledge, power and influence that Rachman knows well.
Fernando Gómez-Herrero has taught in fields of Literature and Culture, Translation and Interpretation Studies at the Universities of Manchester and Birmingham in the U.K. He has obtained his PhD at Duke University. Most recently, he published ‘The Latest American Appropriation of Western Universalism: A Critique of G. John Ikenberry’s “Liberal International Order;" “Carl Schmitt / Tierno Galván / Barcia Trelles: Perhaps (International) Law Follows (Total) War,” Postguerres / Aftermaths of War, Editors T. Abelló, G.C. Cattini & others, Secció d’Història Contemporània I Món Actual de la Universitat de Barcelona I Vental Edicions, Barcelona 2020): pp. 371-388; and “Francisco de Vitoria in Daniel Patrick Moyihan’s On the Law of Nations,” in Norteamérica y España: Una historia de encuentros y desencuentros, edited by Silvia Betti (Escribana Books, Cultural Studies, 2019): pp. 177-203. Personal site: https://www.fernandogherrero.com/. He has recently collaborated with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia covering international news, particularly U.S. and U.K. (https://www.lavanguardia.com/autores/fernando-gomez.html, in Spanish).