What's been going on the past several years is part of a long-term, global process. The state was already under stress, from above and below, for as long as I can remember.
I keep thinking of an interview I gave to a campus radio station during the collapse of the Soviet Union. I think the wall hadn't fallen yet, but the direction was clear (to everyone but the government elites). I explained about the loss of legitimacy, the rise of corruption, the national identities replacing the "Soviet man". The interview went well. The questions from the audience were informed and thoughtful. I had fun. But what I remember most of all was a comment from the interviewer after the mikes were turned off:
Him: "I love how you connected to the structural trends. But you realize, don't you, that much of what could be said about the USSR could also be said about the US."
Me: "I know. Give it thirty years."
Well, it's been over thirty years. Futures aren't inevitable. People make them by their choices, day after day, and the unintended consequences of the intersection of those choices. But I think we're also closer now to that future, among others, than we were thirty years ago. The Middle East is the cutting edge of state failure. The European Union is more concerned with survival than expansion. Now the British vote to get out, and the French have people actively talking about it. And America? We get Trump, and to a lesser extent Sanders.
Probably I have a confirmation bias. It's understandable--this is something I've been looking for for a long time. But it seems there are a lot of elites with biases of there own. The "rebellion" of the ambassadors offers little more than the tools and assumptions of the Cold War. Hillary Clinton is the ultimate insider. For these people, it makes sense to continue to go with what has worked for them. I think we all have to clear our preconceptions and look, without so many certainties, to get a better sense of what's really going on.
The Age of Disintegration | RealClearWorld