The world economy is on the brink again, facing a crisis of epic dimensions for reasons largely obscured by the inflamed politics of 2010. Against their wishes, the United States and China have been drawn into an increasingly nasty and dangerous fight over currencies and trade. American politicians, especially desperate Democrats, have framed the conflict in familiar moral terms–a melodrama of America wronged–and demand retaliation. Other nations, sensing the risk of a larger breakdown, have begun to take protective measures. Every man for himself. The center is not holding.