As for the European Union under German-French leadership, it tends to assume the shape of a post-modern, neo-medieval empire if we are to hear Adrian Pabst in an as yet unpublished 2010 article, with ""overlapping jurisdictions, horizontally diffuse sovereignty and vertically arranged, concentric circles of integration".
Thus those ancient empires are renascent, though in a modern form which Pabst defines as marked by --more or less -bureaucratic capitalism and authoritarian plutocracy. The independent or more or less autonomous nations or states which are either outside or within those empires are in turn struggling to enforce their writ, no less centralized and bureaucratic (we can think at random of Croatia, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay or Honduras) on territories and people which they regard as inalienably theirs.
In both empires and nations there is a strong archaic component which is not on the wane but rather threatens to trigger many long-term or recurrent, low or high intensity wars, of the kind recently or currently seen in Georgia, North Western Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Turkish Kurdistan, to name only a few.
2-Ideological Frameworks and Political Utopias
Political and economic projects and blueprints that hark back to old models are multiplying and at least some are gaining strength. In particular the vision of an Islamic Khalifate embracing much if not most of the Muslim majority areas is providing a powerful incentive for hundreds if not thousands to take up arms in a "holy war" while countless others provide active or passive support. More limited and realistic is the campaign behind the spread of Islamic financing and banking from Europe to the Americas and East Asia.
In years to come, Islamic political and economic concepts and practices will remain a force to be reckoned with and a serious effort must be made in all societies to engage in a dialogue with their promoters in order to avoid increasing recourse to extremist goals and violent methods which have already created a situation of dangerous confrontation in many parts of the world.
While the rise or rather the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism is controversial, due in part to a long history of inter-religious wars, the growing strength of Hinduism as a source of political and economic principles and institutions, in India and in other countries where there is a Hindu presence, is to be seen mostly as a factor of stability and tolerance, just as the return of Confucianism and Buddhism in China has a moderating and humanizing influence on the harsh legacy of Maoism as well as on the state-driven capitalism embraced by the Communist Party.
Christianity, which for centuries decisively regulated and shaped political and economic institutions when the sway of its followers was nearly universal, seems to be in an advanced state of decline; especially in Europe which has not been able to agree on the notion that it is the seat of a historically Christian civilization.
The United States where Christians, and particularly Born Again Protestants or Evangelicals are the most numerous and yield considerable clout, is also secularizing fast, as a result of ideological and technological transformations that partly reflect the rapid influx of other religions and ways of life. The supremacy of consumeristic materialism has played havoc in recent decades with the Old American Bible-based Creed which has also, paradoxically been challenged by a dominant Jewish agnostic lobby that does not always hide its hostility to Christianity and its preference for an atheistic or at least multi-cultural society devoid of religious identity.
Russia is perhaps the only major state, on the level of a world power, which acknowledges the founding role of its national Church because even the USA has no official denomination and equally recognizes many different forms of "Bible-based" faith while Britain, Germany and Brazil are drifting away from their traditional state creeds in the name of agnosticism, pluralism and individual freedom.
Under that label, seemingly coined by French futurist and "dissident thinker" Guillaume Faye, we can regroup all those socio-political and economic projects which borrow from the past and try to integrate it with the current realities and especially the scientific and technical breakthroughs that are reshaping reality in an transformed planetary and intellectual context. Thereby we can also avoid the pitfall into which the votaries of "deep ecology" fallby becoming biocentric to the point of sacrificing the survival of civilization and even most of the human species to the supremacy of wild and unspoilt nature.
Archaeo-Futurists can claim to be true realists since the present is nothing but the immediate end-result of the past which constantly absorbs the future. Thus we have no choice but to blend what we have kept or wish to retain from before with what is coming into our lives that we cannot or do not wish to reject.
Bill Joy, the inventor of Java wrote in a widely commented article in Wired Magazine (April 2000) that three technologies are the most critical and the most threatening for our future: biotechnology, nanotechnology and robotics. Indeed in the decade that has almost passed, they have made phenomenal advances and a country like Japan, for one, has focused much of its R & D on the promises enshrined in those three very young disciplines. Their synthesis can lead to the creation of entities that will be both machines and living beings on a gigantic scale as on a microscopic one.
Even more than transforming our biosphere, they are already beginning to transform us, physically and mentally and many are predicting the birth in the coming years of an Internet of Things, - as an outgrowth of the Internet of Data that is coming of age - which we have trouble conceiving because it would entail the ability to "manifest' or create all sorts of goods, and not only services, on demand through the wizardy of nanotech.