21 February 2011

And the Nation-State Gradually Grows More Obsolete

Political crises in the Middle East are spilling across borders in the same way that the financial crises did in the West in '08.

This latest burst of panic and protests seems to support the notion that whether it is pandemics, ecological issues, economic issues, or, yes, political and financial issues, national borders seem less and less relevant.

In places like the Middle East and Africa where colonial powers imposed national borders where no clear nations existed, borders have long seemed confusing and of little use in protecting one country from issues in the next. But now, even in the West where national identities date back centuries, national borders are becoming less meaningful.

The big question in '08 was whether the financial crisis could be averted before we had another Great Depression. The big question in 2011 is whether the political crises will create democracies, theocracies, or even more severe autocracies in the Middle East.

To me, the even bigger question is how the idea and even very fact of the nation-state is going to survive in this new stage of globalization.

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