For Washington architects attempting the construction of a brave new unipolar world, the end of Henry Luce’s American Century is not even faintly clouded by the suspicion that America (meaning what was reorganized in 1789 as the United States) has virtually ceased to exist, after a mere 200 years. And if America isn’t America anymore, how can the 21st century possibly be American—even in the attenuated, globalized sense the Henry Ford of the magazine biz had in mind?

Ironically, the party fond of arguing that the United States is and always has been a proposition nation is now half right at least, thanks to the self-fulfilling power of persuasive prophecy. In place of what began as essentially an Anglo-British civilization giving way after two-and-a-half centuries, we now have—owing to our immigration policy of the last half century—what amounts to no civilization at all but simply a vast political (and politicized) entity, an aggregation of deracinated peoples from all over the world closely regulated by a jealous, suspicious, and restrictive federal government driven by Progressivism, Inc., America’s very own answer to Godless International Communism. No culture either, Hollywood movies, Manhattan books, Reebok, and McDonald’s being products not of America’s indigenous self but rather of corporate boards, mass markets, advertising, and Wall Street investment firms. To have a government, any ragtag assortment, however large, of frightened, lost, and confused people need only pay the exorbitant taxes required to sustain it and timorously abide by its increasingly tyrannical laws. To lasso a century (especially such a maverick as the 21st one promises to be) and put a brand on it, a civilization is required: a country with strong cohesive identity of its own, and a purpose beyond mere money, ersatz culture, ideology, and power.

Meanwhile, American society, unsupported by civilization, continues to crumble, the Littleton massacre and copycat attempts counterpointing President Clinton’s bombing campaign in Yugoslavia as violent anarchy at the bottom level of the social order continues to ape, as well as to reflect, chaos at the top. In such a place as the United States has come to be, moral dysfunctionalism produces a more general breakdown to the point where, as in countries of the Third World, nothing works at all—the utterly incompetent NATO military campaign, masterminded by Washington, being a case in point, since an aggressor too cowardly to risk casualties on its own side can scarcely be expected to excel in effective warfare. The creation last spring of the Balkan Action Council, urging NATO to send ground troops into Kosovo and otherwise pressing total victory at any cost, is in fact a panicked response to the prospect of military defeat in Yugoslavia, an end to American omnipotence and with it our “deterrent” power, meaning our capacity to bully on behalf of ourselves and our allies every country in the world that dares to break from our international progressive goose step.

America, which in less than 200 years evolved from the Hope of the World into the Leader of the Free World, appears to have the Universe, Geroge Washington having been succeeded in due course by Macbeth. With Kosovo, we have finally overreached ourselves, through NATO, by what amounts to our leadership in an international coup. The world, however (including even some of the 19 NATO countries), cannot be expected to overlook our hubris and our arrogance—or forget, or forgive it. Somewhere out there—in the sands of Arabia Deserta, on the steppes of Russia or the Mongolian plains—an unsuspected counterforce is likely taking shape already, like Macduff’s army of fir trees moving against Dunsinane. By the Yugoslav war, the American elite has almost certainly wrecked the New World Order it set out to enforce, complete, and direct; and if, early in the 21st century, the unregenerate Old World system doesn’t come crashing down on their heads—and ours—we can all count ourselves very, very lucky.