Why all the hate? Sure, objectively, Duke appears to represent the best of college sports: graduating most of its players, while running a system built around individual freedom and creativity on offense anchored by hard-nosed, relentless teamwork on defense. But in popular mythology, Duke has become an avatar of an overly white, overrated, and overly praised team with an air of entitled superiority.
This national consensus is fascinating, in that it seems utterly blind to what the rest of the planet knows deeply and profoundly: In world politics, we’re Duke. Americans like to think they are Butler, the scrappy unheralded Midwestern underdogs one shot away from a miracle. But let’s be real. The United States is a global superpower, since 1990 the unipolar hegemon atop the global order. In the Middle East it is the imperial hub, a status quo power with deep security and military alliances with almost every regime and global sanctions against the few remaining “rogues.” When the world looks at the United States, it doesn’t see Butler. It sees Duke.