John Brennan Predicts the Dissolution of the Nation-State Structure

Rather than asking John Brennan challenging questions about the reform of CIA at Brennan’s Council on Foreign Relations event Friday, Charlie Rose instead asked John Brennan what he saw as the challenge to CIA’s analytical function over the next 15 years (around 39:50).

Here’s how Brennan responded:

The world is becoming more and more challenging. Nation-states are under increasing challenge and threat. More and more, we see individuals in different corners of the world who are identifying with sub-national groups and organizations. And so just the authority of nation-states and governments I think is being looked at in a different way than it did just 20 years ago. And so this is one of the things that we really have to be able to understand and anticipate and work with foreign governments because if you’re going to have basically the dissolution of the nation-state structure that we’ve had for centuries, it’s really going to be even a more chaotic world.

I don’t actually disagree with Brennan. I’ve been saying we’re headed for NeoFeudalism for over a decade.

That said, the policies of the US government are really fostering this change. Drones — as well as increased reliance on paramilitary forces — are one thing that contributes to this. So do trade agreements, especially the ones the US is trying to force on Asia and Europe right now. US demands that its corporations help the US spy in other countries is another factor.

Yet, nevertheless, the government is pursuing these policies even while recognizing that the dissolution of the nation-state system will bring much more chaos.

Brennan describes it like a bug, but US policy suggests it’s a feature.

Update: Take this prediction in tandem with James Clapper’s judgement that “Roughly half of the world’s currently stable countries are at some risk of instability over the next two years.”

9 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    The US has destroyed, or contributed to the destruction of, many national governments in the last twenty years alone. That includes: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine and Libya. Right now these clowns are working on Syria, Iran and Venezuela, plus others we aren’t even aware of. They are often called “stability operations.”
    Probably Brennan has been a large part of this, so when he says “work with foreign governments” just take it with a grain of salt. A reasonable course of action to take when government operatives speak is to assume that the truth is the direct opposite of what they are saying. So the “work with foreign governments” properly becomes “work against foreign governments”.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    Granted the US is a big (the biggest?) user of drones, but didn’t they exist beforehand? Wouldn’t they have ended up in everyone’s hands, weaponized or not, whether or not we first started banging away with them? If so, I don’t see how we can blame the US just for the use of drones per se, other than to say that we are advancing the rollout at most a decade or so.

    • emptywheel says:

      What’s important abt the US is only the US is powerful enough to operate drones regardless of the country’s wishes, which in key places has become a visible symbol of compromised sovereignty.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    “Yet, nevertheless, the government is pursuing these policies even while recognizing that the dissolution of the nation-state system will bring much more chaos.”
    Sometimes, unavoidable. E.g, if you are a manufacturer who, by offshoring your production, would put many of your workers out of jobs and as a result contribute to lower disposable income for your customer base, would you do it? Or would you let your company fold altogether when all your competitors do it? Many of the changes noted are, indeed, fostered by US policies and actions, and I’m glad you have pointed that out; but I suggest that they would still be happening, nonetheless, were the US not to take such actions at all.

  4. omphaloscepsis says:

    A synopsis of the nation-state concept:

    Seems to agree with Brennan on his “we’ve had for centuries” line, though it seems like quite a few break-ups have resulted from unwieldy mergers forged after the two world wars.

    Under the “Future” heading, Wikipedia agrees with Clapper’s speculation, but most of their cited references seem to be science fiction. Whatever that implies.

  5. wayoutwest says:

    The Western imposed nation states are crumbling as Brennan says and the US is responsible for this fracturing but chaos may not be the final outcome. This chaos has created the opening for a powerful idea of a united ME and possibly all of the Muslim World under the Caliphate.

    A fractured ME could be easier for the US to control in many ways but a united ME may be the true challenger to the Hegemon.

  6. jonf says:

    There is another factor that could destroy nation states and that is environmental chaos. As the planet heats up there will be changes in rainfall and draughts. That will lead to food shortages and famines. Hungry people may have other thoughts on their minds than the red light on the corner.

  7. Anon says:

    I disagree with your comment that “The government” is taking these actions. It would be better to state that the elected and appointed individuals who run it are advancing these policies because those the class that runs them wants neo-feudalism because they are stupid enough to believe that it will guarantee profits.
    The reality is of course that their wealth is predicated on the nation state structure and the absence of it, along with the overlapping conflicts that feudalism is characterized by will degrade that wealth.
    Lest we forget deeds, titles, and shares are only as good as the paper they are printed on and the nation state that backs them up.

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