New York Times columnist Roger Cohen gives warning of a global apocalypse due to American foreign-policy fatigue, ingeniously using a mix of tenses that challenges the reader to descry whether the catastrophe has already happened, or is still to come, or may, indeed, be completely imaginary:

It was a time of fever. People in West Africa bled from the eyes. It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.” Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it had wrought …

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