The Six Nations of 2010

[Image: Professor Igor Panarin's six-fold vision of a disintegrated United States; I love how it will precisely follow today's existing state lines – and that Kentucky will join the European Union].

In what sounds to be very obviously an act of wishful projection, a former KGB intelligence analyst turned public intellectual named Igor Panarin has explained to the Wall Street Journal that the United States only has about 18 months left to live. In the summer of 2010, it will "disintegrate" into six politically separate realms – and, conveniently for a thinker who clearly leans to the right, the borders of these realms will coincide with a new racial segregation. The fantasy of living amidst people who don't look like you will come to an end.
Best of all, from Panarin's perspective, Alaska – Sarah Palin included, looking out with alarm from her office window – will "revert" to Russian control.
Quoting at length:
    [Prof. Panarin] predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

    California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
"People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right," the Wall Street Journal continues. Panarin then "cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union – 15 years beforehand. 'When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him,' says Prof. Panarin."
In some ways, I'm reminded of Paul Auster's newest novel, Man in the Dark, in which a civil war has set multiple regions of the United States against one another and against the so-called Federal Army. Or, for that matter, there's also Rupert Thomson's Divided Kingdom in which the UK has been split up along emotional lines.
But surely an ex-CIA operative, now milking the lecture circuit for all its worth, could also propose a realistic scenario in which the entire Russian east has been sold off, say, to a combination of Euro-American agribusiness firms and the Chinese government, who them embark upon an elaborate, generations-long act of industrial deforestation? Leaving Moscow a kind of irrelevant, feudal city full of Bulgari and handguns, its governmentally terrorized tower blocks populated almost entirely by unemployed and half-drunk retro-Stalinists?
I don't mean to imply that I think the end of the United States is somehow politically unimaginable, but that, in a still-bipolar, post-Cold War international imagination, surely either side could convincingly outline the other's demise?

(Via Alexis Madrigal. Earlier on BLDGBLOG: North America vs. the A-241/BIS Device and The Lonely Planet Guide to Micronations: An Interview with Simon Sellars).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the whole notion of Cascadia? This russian guy has missed that Canada isn't fundamentally united either.

Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, and Alberta for oil, hydro power, water, and wood; Washington and Oregon for manufacturing; Idaho for potatos (?); Nevada for hookers; and California for consumers and the entertainment industry.

December 29, 2008 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Florida be Mexican and SoCal and Arizona not? It looks like he has just been reading crappy old Robert Heinlein novels...

December 30, 2008 1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't remember if you have written about it before, but the comic series DMZ by Brian Wood imagines a similar future for the USA - divided by civil war with Manhattan operating as a neutral demilitarized zone.

I am a bit behind on tge current story arc at the moment but I believe the island turns into it's own sovereign state further splitting the US.

December 30, 2008 2:58 AM  
Blogger emerson said...

I have to agree with Anon- My first thoughts were "What about Cascadia?"
There are certainly enough resources to consider it a fundamentally strong, if de-centralized, resource region.

And the notion of Under the Influence of China... well I'm pretty sure the corporate state of Walmart has spread the influence nicely over the whole of these United Consumin' States.

Nitpicking aside, I see a point to understanding more about regionalisms, city-states, and potential for splits (bring on Jefferson State), but I doubt very much it will look like the above.

December 30, 2008 3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why exactly is this bldgblog worthy ?

December 30, 2008 3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a more thoughtful analysis, check out The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau. It was published in 1991, but is still relevant. A great read!

December 30, 2008 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why sould this be the truth, amrica is young it exist know for 400 years, en why can it only be found in this internetpage and not over whole inter net, i have my doubts about this guy. amrica stay how it is know, god bless the usa.

December 30, 2008 12:35 PM  
Blogger johnsal said...

Wow. "Sarah Palin included, looking out with alarm from her office window." Apparently this guy doesn't even know that Palin never said any such thing. Of course, he may, after consuming quantities of Obama flavored Kool Aid, believe that Tina Fey of SNL actually IS Sarah Palin. Hi-bye.

December 30, 2008 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why exactly is this bldgblog worthy?

Hmm. Perhaps because the blog author is a typical morbid British guy. So he's still looking for things to stick it to the USA and pining about his country's long lost empire. Why yes if the states split Great Britain could rule a gain! Quite so chappies.

December 30, 2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Perhaps because the blog author is a typical morbid British guy

Wow, somebody tell my parents that they've accidentally raised a British kid.

December 30, 2008 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, the Texas Republic under Mexican influence/control. No way that would happen with the current state of Mexican affairs and Texas/Southern pride. Mexico has enough trouble keeping their own territory stable.

December 30, 2008 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Predictions by a former KGB intelligence analyst. That explains it. No wonder the Soviet Union is in the trash heap of failed states.

December 30, 2008 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I love these sorts of alternate post-apocalyptic futuristic scenarios. A lot more interesting than reading about the drop in the Architects Billings Index. Nice story, bldgblog!

December 30, 2008 11:41 PM  
Blogger Mike Laursen said...

I could totally see the U.S. splitting up, but I think he got just about every detail of how it would happen wrong.

December 31, 2008 12:11 AM  
Blogger Mark W said...

no, no, it's going to look like this.

December 31, 2008 3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hmm. Perhaps because the blog author is a typical morbid British guy."



December 31, 2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Well, I'd love to be "under Canadian influence."

December 31, 2008 7:14 AM  
Blogger Jean-Simon DesRochers said...

I prefer to be a canadian under influence!

December 31, 2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Mike Laursen. It could happen, but not at all like this. This map looks as though it were made by someone who's only seen the US on maps, not someone even remotely familiar with US culture.

That Arizona would be in a group that includes Washington and Idaho rather than New Mexico is of course ludicrous. And why on earth would the part of the US that joins the EU extend so far south? South Carolina in the EU? That'll be the day.

December 31, 2008 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing of course is the emotional response by the blog author (US, British or other?) and others here. Are we evaluating and examining the tentative theory of US splitting into 6 separate nations (according to the map) by 2010, or are we more interested in the fact that a Russian/ex-Soviet/former US-enemy "professor" claims this? Evidently Panarin hit a sensitive nerve, and achieved the only thing he was really looking for: provocative attention...

January 01, 2009 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada is composed of the 10provinces and 3 territories that didn't make the 50 state cut...then there are the uncounted US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico...

hold on, Britain is pretty damn American these days, I know they'd like to believe it's visa versa.

Colorado by all means would be a California state, and Utah would be a sovereign state of the Mormons.

Russians...reminds of a stripper at Scores who couldn't understand why we wouldn't pay her for a lap dance, she kept saying "But I'm Russian." in a very bad ascent. grumpy, cold, and not even attractive, working at scores...yes strip for the capatists Russia.

January 02, 2009 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been posted everywhere. I saw Panarin give a lecture with this VERY SAME premise at ARS Electronica back in 1998!

It was quite sad/funny because the audience nearly laughed him out of the room. Strangely, over 10 years later, this type of breakdown seems mildly plausible. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?

January 04, 2009 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say at least the russian included the U.P. on his map. It's also funny how Americans are little less likely to laugh this off at the current state of of insecurity, but I think this is clearly a case of paying more attention to lines on a map than the people who live there.

January 04, 2009 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome to me. I can't stand this country and if I had enough money to move somewhere else I would. This sounds like the second best thing, though.

January 08, 2009 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i promise you that if the united states dissolve, the state of utah will most certainly not be controlled by california, and while mexico may fall under the control of texas, texas will most certainly not fall under the control of el distrito federal.

January 14, 2009 8:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What if Californians get the Great "fire Wall" of China.

January 27, 2009 8:06 PM  
Blogger Sreejith said...

This is BS. How the hell would Californians learn Chinese and shit ? Impossible. And, it maybe right that America has different people which may lead to disunity.

But come here to India, take a 45-min drive from my house and you'll be dumb-struck when you see how much difference in culture a mere 45min can make.

India is made up of 1000 unofficial languages, 27 officially different cultures etc. But its still united. Unity in Diversity.

So would be the case with America. I'm confident that America would after-all be united. Atleast you guys talk the same language.

February 05, 2009 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" 'When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him,' says Prof. Panarin.""

Heh heh heh. And my predictions are: people will continue to see Bigfoot; California will drop off into the Pacific after a major earthquake; and China's population will grow, leading to tension in the east.

I guess I'm the next "authority", never mind that some predictions are inevitable.

February 10, 2009 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nations far greater than america have toppled over and all we have left of them are deserts and cities with no clout... maybe if a nations time is up, it is inevitable, that the nation drowns in its vanity, as did the great roman is america isnt an empire...great a nation as it may be, then it is possible...but not in 2010

February 16, 2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

As a Californian, I welcome the Chinese influence (hey, they're going to be our overlords anyhow...)

First, I can't imagine the US breaking up--we're like a family: we fight amongst ourselves, but if anyone outside the family comes after us, we band together.

Second, Alaska under Russian influence? Russia can't keep it's old satellites under their influence, but they're going to add more? Sounds like this dude is still really pissed they sold Alaska.

June 01, 2009 6:08 PM  
Blogger Michael Holloway said...

Sounds like the new Russia is on the verge of collapse as well. Sighting statistical variables such as the disintegration of rule of law - like copyright law and plagiarism.

No one seems to have noticed that the good Mr. Panarin has stolen his idea from the same author he uses to reference 'his' idea! Namely Emmanuel Todd author of the 2001 book "After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order"

Michael Holloway

November 10, 2009 2:53 AM  

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