Wlliam S. Lind: That Old Romanov Feeling

Roundup: Media's Take

Wlliam S. Lind is director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation.

In 1914 the Houses of Hapsburg and Romanov sat transfixed, mesmerized by the central question: which would win this latest round in their old quarrel? But the paradigm had changed and both would lose, while the winners would be a distant American republic and a guy named Ulyanov sitting in a café in Zurich.

States, all states, now find themselves in a similar situation. The rise of Fourth Generation war, war waged outside the state framework, puts the state system itself in jeopardy. When one state fights another, the most likely outcome is that the loser disintegrates into another stateless region. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya offer painful examples.

But the governments of states don’t get it. They continue to act within the old paradigm of state vs. state even as doing so feeds the new post-state order. As Martin van Creveld—whose books The Transformation of War and The Rise and Decline of the State define the new paradigm—said to me, “Everyone can see it except the people in the capital cities.”...

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