The power of state and tank has paled
You know you're really winning when your opponent says so. David Brooks is your typical big-government, national-greatness "conservative." He boosted the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as bold experiments in exporting Western-style democracy. He has since come to regret those "experiments." These days, Brooks notes, Americans no longer believe in interventionism. And it's not just a reaction to the failed Neocon Wars he cheered on (from a safe distance), but a deeper reaction against the interventionist megastate. He doesn't like it, but he can't deny this new attitude is sweeping America and the rest of the world:
The Cold War was a competition between clearly defined nation-states. Commanding American leaders created a liberal international order. They preserved that order with fleets that roamed the seas, armies stationed around the world and diplomatic skill. Over the ensuing decades, that faith in big units has eroded — in all spheres of life. Management hierarchies have been flattened. Today people are more likely to believe that history is driven by people gathering in the squares and not from the top down. The liberal order is not a single system organized and defended by American military strength; it’s a spontaneous network of direct people-to-people contacts, flowing along the arteries of the Internet. The real power in the world is not military or political. It is the power of individuals to withdraw their consent. In an age of global markets and global media, the power of the state and the tank, it is thought, can pale before the power of the swarms of individuals.Small is not only now seen as beautiful, but as more efficient, prosperous, and peaceful than the oversized, over-centralized welfare-warfare state of the 19th and 20th centuries. All over the world, large nations are collapsing, and reconfiguring themselves into smaller, culture-based political units. Know hope, my friends.