History's third technological revolution is transforming national sovereignty, the world economy, and the military. The abundance of information challenges state power as more people demand the freedoms they see enjoyed in other parts of the world. Information increasingly replaces territory and material goods as the source of wealth and power. Computers allow simulation of battles and information warfare. The ability to adapt to these advances will determine which institutions and nations survive the coming decades.
Anti-Americanism and a stubborn Gaullist independence in foreign policy have often marked French political discourse. These traits are coming to the fore once again in France's wildly popular antiglobalization movement. Today, a complex mix of political, economic, and cultural reasons explains the French resistance to "Anglo-Saxon global capitalism." If sustained, France's stand could become a model for other countries seeking an alternative to the new, American-style world economy.
The nation-state may be obsolete in an internetted world. Increasingly, the resources and threats that matter disregard governments and borders. States are sharing powers that defined their sovereignty with corporations, international bodies, and a proliferating universe of citizens groups. The bond markets must be satisfied or capital will go elsewhere. International involvement in domestic crises is a growth industry. Activists fight battles in cyberspace for every imaginable cause-and the nation-state gives in. The ramifications of this power shift will be seismic.