Minnesotans may need to practice up on ending their sentences with a Canadian-style "eh" if a nutty Russian foreign policy Nostradamus actually turns out to be right.
Igor Panarin, a former KGB employee and dean of a Russian Foreign Ministry academy, is predicting that the U.S. will splinter apart into six pieces about a year from now. The state media in his country is having a field day with this, according to a Wall Street Journal story. Panarin, 50, is an author and expert often interviewed on TV. His ideas are actually getting aired in some serious places, such as the country’s most prestigious international relations school and its biggest daily newspaper. There’s also tremendous Internet buzz.
At the heart of Panerin’s theory is that economic problems and moral rot in American culture will soon result in a civil war. In 2010, foreign powers swoop in to pick up the pieces. Minnesota will join the rest of the Upper Midwest in becoming a quasi-Canadian province called the "Central North American Republic, ’’ while much of the East Coast joins the European Union. Texas and states around it become Mexican holdings; California and environs fall under Chinese influence. Alaska, naturally, becomes part of Russia.
Many Russian foreign policy wonks dismiss Panarin’s predictions, saying the popularity of his views simply reflects growing anti-American sentiment in the country after the worldwide financial meltdown. That sounds about right. So does state media coverage reflecting the wishful thinking of its bosses versus reality.
As far as the United States’ future as a nation, we like our odds. Panarin’s track record is a bit spotty in predicting national collapses. He missed a big one that happened right under his nose: the disintegration of his own Soviet Union.