From foreign-affairs analyst Robert D. Kaplan's "The Post-Imperial Moment: Vulgar, populist anarchy will define the twenty-first century" in the May-June issue of the National Interest:
World disorder will only grow. The weakening and dissolution of small- and medium-size states in Africa and the Middle East will advance to quasi-anarchy in larger states on which the geographic organization of Eurasia hinges: Russia and China. For the external aggression of these new regional hegemons is, in part, motivated by internal weakness. They’re using nationalism to assuage the unraveling domestic economies upon which their societies’ stability rests. Then there is the European Union, which is enfeebled, if not crumbling. Rather than a unified and coherent superstate, Europe will increasingly be a less-than-coherent confection of states and regions, dissolving into the fluid geography of Eurasia, the Levant and North Africa. This is demonstrated by Russian revanchism and the demographic assault of Muslim refugees. Of course, on a longer time horizon there is technology itself. As the strategist T.X. Hammes points out, the convergence of cheap drones, cyber warfare, 3D printing and so on will encourage the diffusion of power among many states and nonstate actors, rather than the concentration of it into a few imperial-like hands.
To read the full excerpt, visit The Wall Street Journal website.