A new world has developed like a Polaroid photograph, a vivid, surreal awakening.
The effect has been contradictory: a sense of sunlight and elegy at the same time, of glasnost and claustrophobia.
Whenever the world's molecules reorganize themselves, of course, someone announces a new reality -- "All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born," in W.B. Yeats' smitten lines about the Irish rebellion of Easter 1916. Seventy-three years later, the Irish troubles proceed, dreary, never beautiful -- an eczema of violence in the margins.
But the world in the past few years has, in fact, profoundly changed. In Tiananmen Square...