China refuses to let her currency float lest she lose the trade surpluses that have enabled her to amass $3 trillion in cash reserves.
Protectionism is rising. Americans chaff at a new world economic order that has led to deindustrialization of their country. Congress is talking of defunding the U.N. as anti-Western and anti-Israel.
Why is the New World Order suddenly going in reverse?
A primary reason is the resurgence of nationalism. Nations are putting national interests ahead of any perceived global interests.
A second reason is the decline of a West whose project this was. We no longer dictate to the world, and the world no longer marches to our tune. The deficits and indebtedness of Western nations preclude more of the big wealth transfers in foreign aid that once bought us influence.
A third reason is demography. Not one European nation has a birth rate sufficient to replace its population. Europe's nations are aging, shrinking, dying. A depopulating Germany cannot carry forever the deficit-debtor nations of Club Med. The oldest nation, Japan, is on schedule to lose 25 million people by 2050, as is neighbor Russia.
Militarily, America remains the most powerful nation. But Iraq and Afghanistan have bled the country and left us without the certain attainment of our goals. Old allies like Turkey go their separate ways.
Ethno-nationalism also explains a disintegrating world order. Aspiring nations like Scotland, Catalonia, Padania, Flanders, Ingushetia, Dagestan, East Turkestan, Kurdistan and Baluchistan seek a place in the sun, free of the cloying embrace of the mother country.
The desire of peoples for nations all their own, where their own language, faith and culture predominate and their own kind rule to the exclusion of all others, is everywhere winning out over multiculturalism and transnationalism.
Through history there have been attempts to unite the world.
The Roman Empire. Catholicism. Islam. The West that ruled much of mankind from Columbus to the mid-20th century. Communism, which conquered half of Europe and Asia but arose and fell in a single century.
With the death of communism and the decline of the West -- in relative population and power -- Islam has become the largest religion, China the world's emerging superpower, and Asia the continent of the future.
Could this still be the Second American Century?
Not the way we are going.