Orlov, who witnessed the Soviet Union's collapse from within, lamented that the American empire's condition is so severe there is "absolutely nothing" most can do to keep it alive or hasten its demise.
"Basically the people in this country are powerless," he suggested. "So they should probably focus on things closer to home."
Orlov, born in born in Leningrad (now known as Saint Petersburg), moved to the United States at age 12 and became an engineer. In his book, he detailed his experiences with the Soviet collapse on numerous visits to Russia in the late 1980s, early 1990s. He covered similarities between the two superpowers in their twilight and suggested ways for Americans to adapt to their new post-empire environment.
Amid horrid unemployment and a national deficit soaring past World War II levels, Orlov theorized that the US empire would eventually collapse -- not from finances or war, but from a lack of faith in the system.
It would happen over three overlapping stages, he said: financial, political and commercial.
"We're fairly far along in the financial collapse trajectory while political collapse has now really only started with the last election," he said.
By the next election cycle, Orlov figured, the United States would be in the throes of a "banana republic" such that the voters would exchange one inept political party for another inept political party while expecting different results.
While nothing constructive would result from this behavior, he said, the next meaningless shift in 2012 may be the last straw.