Amerikas Sputnikschock in Peking

NEW YORK – Der 8. August 2008 wird uns vielleicht eines Tages als der erste Tag des postamerikanischen Zeitalters in Erinnerung bleiben. Vielleicht wird man ihn auch als einen zweiten „Sputnikschock“ im Gedächtnis behalten, der Moment, in dem den Amerikanern durch den sowjetischen Ausflug in den Weltraum 1957 klar wurde, dass das Land den Halt verloren hatte, und in dem sie beschlossen, es sei an der Zeit, dass die Vereinigten Staaten die Kurve kriegten.

Die Macht und Symbolik der Eröffnungsfeier der Olympischen Spiele in Peking am 8. August war unmissverständlich. Das Multimediaspektakel hat bei weitem nicht nur Chinas 5000-jährige Geschichte nachgezeichnet; es war ein Statement, dass China eine große Zivilisation ist, die ihren rechtmäßigen Platz in der globalen Hierarchie fordert und verdient.

Auch eine andere Symbolik war eindeutig: Präsident Bush winkte fröhlich von seinem Platz auf der unüberdachten Tribüne, während der chinesische Präsident Hu Jintao hinter etwas saß, das eher wie ein Thron aussah. Es ist schwer vorstellbar, dass die chinesische Regierung, die jedes kleinste Detail des diplomatischen Protokolls genauestens verfolgt, dieses krasse Bild des amerikanischen Niedergangs neben dem Land, dem es $ 1,4 Billionen schuldet, nicht so orchestriert hätte. Man könnte sich kaum vorstellen, dass Franklin Roosevelt oder Ronald Reagan eine ähnlich relative Position akzeptiert hätten.

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