When the economist Jane Golley joined the federal Treasury in 1994, she was assigned to a single-person desk overseeing China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.

It was only a few years after the collapse of the Soviet empire. The US was at the apex of its power and influence. Francis Fukuyama, a noted American scholar, confidently predicted the ”end of history” – a scenario where the entire world would embrace America’s brand of liberal democracy and capitalism.

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