The end of history
Posted by aogThursday, 28 October 2004 at 21:53 TrackBack Ping URL

In a recent post, The Brothers Judd posit the view that Kashmir will end up independent. I don’t want to discuss that in particular, but a larger theme.

Long ago, during the Middle Ages, warfare was somewhat abstract for most people. Wars were fought with relatively small armies and unless you village was in their path, the change of rulers meant little. There was a basic pattern of rulers and ruled and the particular identity of the rulers was not overly important. This is why the Norman kings could take over England without endless resistance to the “occupation”.

Later, however, nationalism developed and nations acquired significantly different forms of government and social compacts which meant that one’s rulers could make quite a large difference in one’s life. At this point, nationalistic resistance begins to become far mroe attractive to the average citizen.

I think we’re moving back towards the previous era. Liberal democracy is becoming the standard governmental structure and social compact and if you have that, the precise structure of one’s nation state matters a lot less. This is why you see devolution in places like Britian. With the rising level of free trade and the Pax Americana, there’s not much benefit to aggregating in large nation states and advantages to having a greater degree of local control. The centralizing impetus of the nation-state wars is fading.

This is one reason why I think that the EU superstate is doomed. There’s no good reason to believe that if, say, the idea of “France” is eliminated to aborb it in to “Europe”, why more regional political groupings wouldn’t replace it. Such was the fate of Yugoslavia and increasing it looks like the fate of Spain as well. France and Germany are well stocked with regionalities, not to mention the coming split in Belguim.

I think that this will also tend, at least for the next century, to make the USA even more of a hyper power. The only nations that won’t devolve toward more ethnically homogenous small states will be ones that have a strong history of assimilation and diversity. Such nations will remain geographically large and powerful. The only current nation of that type is the USA which will naturally become even more dominant as other nations split up. There’s nothing the EUlite can do about it either, as they’ve long since thrown in the philosophical towel on assimilation. I don’t see how this trend will end, although surely it will. I suspect it might well last until new nations are founded off planet, at which point those nations may drain the life from the USA the way the USA currently drains the life from the rest of the planet through its generous immigration and assimilation.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
jd watson Saturday, 30 October 2004 at 00:06

The other two nations which might remain undifferentiated are India and China. Both have strong national senses and expanding populations.

R Michael Sunday, 31 October 2004 at 03:23

I think what you say only applies to Europe. What other part of the world is so absoultely under another part’s protection, without that part taking direct control over internal affairs. If Europe no longer feels the need to deal with the issues nation-states were made to deal with, it is only beacuse formaly of informally the US handles the issues for them. Is it any wonder they are always on edge about us? The are utterly dependent on the whims of the American public.

End of Discussion