From Sao Paulo, Brazil to Baghdad, Iraq to Nuevo Lardeo, Mexico to Quetta, Pakistan to Port Harcourt, Nigeria to Narathiwat, Thailand... globalization is melting the map. The reason is that the hyper flows of the new minimalist global platform are centrifugal in nature and not centripetal. As people connect outward onto this platform, they see both threat or promise. In response, they look inward for sources of strength to support them going forward, and in most cases find it wanting. Their states (and corporations) can't or will not provide them that strength.
The result is an almost pandemic drive towards ethnic/religious identity -- and -- the increasingly muscular granular forces of clan, sect, gang, and tribe. To get a sense of what I mean, you should take a moment to read an excellent Ralph Peters essay on a redrawn Middle East per ethnic and religious identity for The Armed Forces Journal (the weblog The Coming Anarchy follows this thread and provides a similar redrawn map for Central Asia). They detail mechanisms that have put our maps into flux and which will gain momentum.
The big differences between this struggle and those of the past is that first, it will be never ending. Big states, even those drawn along ethnic, religious, or national identity, may never provide the level of support required by those contained within their borders. The drive for a valuable identity, one gives as much as it gets to every member the group, may be a race to the bottom. There is no inevitable equilibrium point.
Second, the competitive advantage is rapidly conferring to the revisionist group, no matter how small. These groups can, and will, continually gain strength (economic, technological, and influential) through interaction with an increasingly open global platform. The acceleration of technological progress will only make this process faster. As these groups move to challenge the state for control over identity, they will in many cases opt to fight. To fight, they will increasingly use a new method of war -- the systems disruption and open source warfare that I detail here on this site -- that leverages the power of networks to undermine the functioning of their larger, more cumbersome competitors.The stage is set. History has started again.