When Is A Political, Economic Or Military Surge No longer A Viable Surge?

Life forces are a lot like a great wave rolling up a wide, shallow beach. Having spent many a summer at the Jersey Shore sprawled upon the fine, warm sand, watching wave upon wave slide up and down the beach, one notices the pattern is always the same.

The massive bulk of the wave crashes upon the sand, rolling father and father up the beach, becoming thinner and thinner. So that as it happens, long before the wave has reached its greatest inland penetration most of its volume has already slide back into the sea to become part of the next wave.

Life’s trends are quite the same. We see what we think is a surging trend without noticing that the energy behind the trend has long since dissipated. We just haven’t noticed that the depth of the trend has become razor thin. For example in the world of technology My Space gives way to Face Book before we realize what has happened.

So how can we know for sure when a great nation is in drastic decline or that another is truly on the rise? The surge seems easy to see but its depth and resilient power not so much.

Is the surge of Donald Trump and political populism a tsunami about to wipe away all that has come before them, or have they already become razor thin so as to be of no lasting impression? Is Brexit the start of a European decline or has an underlying decline already been under way for many months within the European Union?

Or even worse yet, has technological change become so rapid and the world’s population grown so huge that humanity has become like a redlining engine about to explode into a spent mass? Our inherent bias of hope would say no, but….

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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