Document Type



Politics and Economics (CGU)

Publication Date



Defense and Security Studies | Military and Veterans Studies | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The United States has been less affected by this process than most other Western nation-states; we seem to prosper despite such challenges. However, the breakdown of the family, increased drug use among our children, the growing specter of gang violence, and other forms of social terrorism suggest that our own institutions are not immune to a degree of chaos. Ralph Peters, in an earlier Parameters article, stated succinctly that we are witnessing "a struggle to redefine human meaning."[3] Regardless of the state of the revolution to which he referred, the struggle he describes is far from ended. If the examples of Western history are any indication, we may expect increasing chaos during the shift from what has been called the "modern" era to its successor.[4] Much like a chemical process in a crucible, the deconstruction likely to accompany change can be the process by which existing forms of social and political organization are burned away and new forms emerge to take their place. This article examines two periods of similar transition, and analyzes characteristics of contemporary values and institutions which suggest that the Western world may face a period comparable to previous epochal shifts in warfare.

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© 1997 Robert J. Bunker

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