The U.S. in the role of Byzantium in a neo-medieval geopolitical balance…interesting.

You have to go back a thousand years to find a time when the world was genuinely western and eastern at the same time. Then, China’s Song dynasty presided over the world’s largest cities, mastered gunpowder and printed paper money. At around the same time India’s Chola empire ruled the seas to Indonesia, and the Abbasid caliphate dominated from Africa to Persia. Byzantium swayed and lulled in weakness both due to and despite its vastness. Only in Europe is this medieval landscape viewed negatively. This was a truly multi-polar world.

Parag Khanna, “Future Shock? Welcome to the New Middle Ages,” Financial Times, December 28, 2010 (link to non-paywall version)