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We must count ourselves lucky if anyone has leisure enough in 2012 to open this time capsule and care what is inside. In 2012 Americans will see the collapse of Imperial America, the Pan Americana, as having ended with our loss of national will and national selflessness in the 1970s.
Worldwide economic collapse will have cost America its dominant world role; but it will not result in Russian hegemony; their enemy is too dependent on the world economy to maintain an irresistible military force. A new world order will emerge from famine, disease, and social dislocations. The re-tribalization of Africa, the destruction of the illusion of Islamic unity, the struggle between aristocracy and proletariat in Latin America — without the financial support of the industrialized nations, the old order will be gone.
The changes will be great as those emerging from the fall of Rome, with new power centers emerging wherever stability and security are established. The homogeneity of Israel will probably allow it to survive; Mexico and Japan may change rulers, but they will still be strong. If America is to recover, we must stop pretending to be what we were in 1950, and reorder our values away from pursuit of privilege.