MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.
Personally, I won't say that a prediction that the current central state called "The United States of America" will break down and collapse in the not-too-distant future is out of the question. If you'd told me in 1979 when Soviet tanks and troop transports were rolling into Afghanistan that the Soviet Union would collapse in 11 years, I'd have laughed at you. So, I'm not going to say it can't happen and it may well one day.
On the other hand, I think this guy probably had just a wee bit too much vodka when he came up with the regional divisions he's made. I mean, Utah and California together, seriously? New Mexico and Georgia? I don't think so. In addition, he's parceling out these regions to other countries seems a bit unrealistic. Given that he predicts Alaska to go back to Russia, I think it's more an ultra-nationalist "Boundless Russia" wet dream than anything based on intelligence reports.
Still, it's an interesting mental exercise to think how various political unions would reforge from a federal collapse. What sort of map would you envision in such a (maybe not so) hypothetical future?