In This Review

Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World
Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World
By Peter Zeihan
480 pp, Harper Business, 2020
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This quick-paced tour of today’s fragmenting global order ominously warns that more chaos and conflict is on the way. According to Zeihan, the post-1945 era of peace and prosperity was a historical aberration, made possible by a U.S.-led system of trade and alliances. This hegemonic system—what he calls “the Order”—provided the foundation for decades of progress in education, health, prosperity, security, democracy, and human connectivity. The bad news, according to Zeihan, is that the Order was a historically unique, never-to-be-repeated anomaly, and its demise will spark chaos and disorder on an epic scale. The Trump administration is speeding up the process, but the Order has been weakening for decades. Zeihan offers a gloomy picture of collapsing markets, deteriorating global norms, escalating conflicts over energy and food, and the return of great-power struggles over maritime supremacy and territorial borders. Scholars who debate the consequences of hegemonic decline will find this tale familiar.