As a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of the Western Cape’s political studies department a decade ago, I once remarked in front of graduate students and staff about “us in the West”. An older member of staff corrected me and said: “We are in Africa — we are not the West.”

That slip of the tongue, and correction (thank you, Keith!), has stayed with me as I examine (and own up to) my ideological biases. After my postdoc, I was “Shanghaied” and spent two happy years teaching in that city. During my time there I asked my students to keep open minds and read analysis from different views first — Indian, Russian, American, British and Japanese — before they made up their minds on international issues...

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