“A hundred years ago globalization was ... the world order of the day ... And in 1914 this first age of globalization ended with a spectacular bang, because of an act of terrorism in Sarajevo.
In the mayhem of world war an extreme anti-capitalist sect gained control over Russia and her empire. In the succeeding decades three diabolical dictators - Stalin, Hitler and Mao - rose to rule over vast tracts of the great Eurasian land mass that stretches from the English Channel to the China sea. Their totalitarian regimes, and the pseudo-religions they espouse, were responsible for literally tens of millions of deaths. Could something similar befall the second age of globalization in which we live? Could the war of the world replay itself in the twenty-first century?
To avoid history's repeating itself, we need to understand the root causes of the last hundred years war. The twentieth century revealed that despite unprecedented ethnic intermarriage, racial harmony was not guaranteed. Indeed, it was in precisely the places where assimilation had been greatest that some of the worst ethnic conflicts occurred. Ethnic disintegration happened in 1930s Germany, it happened in 1990s Bosnia, and it tended to happen when times were hard, for it's in periods of economic volatility that ethnic minorities are most likely to be resented. And where did the worst violence of the twentieth century happen? It was on the fault lines where declining empires and rising empire-states came into conflict. It was no coincidence that the worst killing fields of the century were in places like Poland, Cambodia, and Bosnia, all lands on the edges of empire.
... it was ethnic disintegration, economic volatility, earthquakes on imperial frontiers, that caused the greatest conflict and suffering in the twentieth century ... We'll only avoid another century of conflict if we truly understand the forces that caused the last one; the dark forces that conjure up ethnic conflict, and imperial rivalry, and negate our common humanity. They're forces that stir within us still.”