Seven years ago the Bush administration brought neoconservatives into a position of power with a dream of everlasting American hegemony, a unipolar superpower who would dictate military, economic and cultural terms to the world. The end of history in many neocon minds came with a momentous date - 9/11.
Seven years later, the Bush administration's mismanagement of the nation has ensured that that the neoconservative dream is crushed.
Russia is looking forward to, and recruiting allies for, a multipolar future -invoking 9/11 as the reason to do so.
"The solidarity of the international community fostered on the wave of struggle against terrorism turned out to be somehow `privatized'... It has become crystal clear that the solidarity expressed by all of us after 9/11 should be revived (without double standards) when we fight against any infringements upon the international law," [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov] said.
Lavrov called for a new "solidarity" of the international community and a strengthened United Nations, saying only in the post-Cold War world can the organization "fully realize its potential" as a global center "for open and frank debate and coordination of the world policies on a just and equitable basis free from double standards."
"This is an essential requirement, if the world is to regain its equilibrium," he said.
Russia hasn't exactly been guiltless about double standards - I'm thinking about Chechnya and internal dissent as well as an over-response to Georgian aggression in South Ossetia - but Lavrov has a point. After 9/11, even Iranian leaders were proclaiming solidarity with the US. What happened was that the outpouring of genuine concern that could have shaped a new co-operative world was harnessed to give the neocon adventure a temporary Coalition of the Willing instead. Their lust for Empire burned up all the political capital America had on the world stage - and now even if McCain was elected to continue the neoconservative fever he wouldn't be able to, the world is just too resistant to it.
By probably deliberate contrast to McCain's call to ostracize Russia and other nations he designated undemocratic (as opposed to Georgia, where Saaskivilli had opponents beaten in the streets), Lavrov is also calling for a new organisation to bind disparate European nations together in a common interest of security.
Declaring that Europe's security architecture "did not pass the strength test" in Georgia, Lavrov reiterated Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal in June for a new Treaty on European Security.
It would strengthen peace and stability and participants would reaffirm the non-use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, territorial integrity and noninterference in another country's affairs, he said. Finally, he added, it would promote "an integrated and manageable development across the vast Euro-Atlantic region."
Lavrov said work on the new treaty could be started at a pan-European summit and include governments as well as organizations working in the region.
He referred to it as "a kind of `Helsinki-2'," a follow-up to the 1975 Helsinki Treaty between all European nations, together with the U.S. and Canada, which evolved into the present-day Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the largest conflict-prevention and security organization on the continent.
That's called dangling a carrot - offering security cooperation with a newly resurgent Russia while clearly offering the possibility that America might not get invited to multipolar Europe's party if it won't play nice.
Then there's China, where reports have it that financiers are nervous about the possibility of America's imminent economic collapse. Again, it was the Bush administration and a financial version of the neoconservative arrogant wish for American domination that brought American power to its current state. In an article for China Daily, a Chinese government researcher writes:
is it the end of US financial hegemony? In addition to the latest financial crisis, the US has so far experienced another financial crisis since the turn of the century - the bursting of its technological bubble. Many foreign investors have suffered heavy losses in these two crises. Some economists even warned that such cyclical formation of bubbles will seriously compromise foreign investors’ confidence in the US financial market.
And the folks at WorldMeets.US, who translated the article, add "What could be more unnerving than having your largest creditor begin pondering your financial demise?"
Maybe, if you're a neocon like John McCain, having your largest rivals - China, Russia and Europe - pondering the demise of your ability to protect your hegemony and knowing your own kind ruined American power.