Unable to comprehend, or sympathize with, the plight of the world’s miserable masses, encased in a bubble where the worst crisis they have to personally face is a broken chair lift at Davos, these preening Louis XIVs and Marie Antoinettes are in for a rude shock.
The nature of these populist revolts against authority will take on a different character according to where and when they occur, naturally enough: in Tunisia and Egypt, we see protests sparked by petty humiliations such as Mr. Bouazizi had to endure. In Greece and Great Britain, mass upsurges are the result of austerity budgets that cut ordinary people off at the knees while the banksters get bailed out. In America, we see the Tea Party rising against the tyranny of indebtedness and economic strangulation of the ordinary citizen – but this is just a prelude to the rising chorus of discontent and outright rebellion that will threaten American society in the years to come.
The revolutionary wave now sweeping the world will not exempt America, in spite of the myth of "American exceptionalism." We cannot and will not be excepted from the iron laws of economics, which mandate that you can’t consume more than you produce – no matter how many Federal Reserve notes (otherwise known as "money") you print.
The implications for US foreign policy are radical, and unsettling. While the decline and fall of the Roman Empire occurred over centuries of decay and degeneration, the process as it unfolds in America is likely to occur with what, in terms of human history, appears to be lightning speed. As our allies and satraps fall, one by one, across the Middle East and Europe, their fate prefigures our own.
Before we start cheering this world revolution as the salvation of us all, however, it ought to be remembered that revolutionary regimes often turn out to be worse than the tyrannies they’ve overthrown. There’s no telling what direction these political insurgencies will take, either in the Middle East or in America. As a negative example, recall the ideologies that arose in the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression — German National Socialism, Italian Fascism, and Eurasian Bolshevism – and be forewarned. On a more positive note, here in the United States, at least, the possibilities are more balanced, although the dangers should not be underestimated.
What we are in for, finally, is a radical realignment of power, a vast shift that will break up the political landscape of every country on earth and shatter all the old assumptions. That old Chinese fortune-cookie curse, "May you live in interesting times," is about to come true.