American hegemony: The Anglo-American suicide | In English | EL PAÍS

And yet it would not be the first time in history that an empire has committed suicide. From 1405 to 1433, China’s imperial navy sailed all the seas of Asia and along the east coast of Africa under Admiral Zheng He. The Ming dynasty was able to organize expeditions of up to 300 ships (some of them 120 meters in length at a time when the Santa María of Columbus only measured 26 meters) and employing tens of thousands of sailors. But when the Yongle Emperor died, coinciding with the era when Portuguese sailors were beginning to sail the seas, his successors decided to end the expeditions and began a long period of isolation that would ultimately cut China off from knowledge and key markets at a crucial juncture in its own development. This left the country in a position of weakness that later allowed the West to easily defeat it, obliging it to open its markets. The fact that, while Trump and May are announcing their intention to leave, Chinese president Xi Jinping is defending globalization at Davos, should offer a very clear indication of the depth of the power shift that we are acting as witnesses to – one that will only get deeper.

Source: American hegemony: The Anglo-American suicide | In English | EL PAÍS