Empires, like adolescents, think they’ll live forever. In geopolitics, as in biology, expiration dates are never visible. When death comes, it’s always a shock. "At the beginning of the great unraveling, in 2015, I was still a young man. Like everyone else, I didn’t see this coming. Today, in 2050, fewer and fewer people can recall what it was like to live among those leviathans... Thirty-five years and endless catastrophes later on a poorer, bleaker, less hospitable planet, it’s clear that we just weren’t paying sufficient attention. Had we been listening, we would have heard the termites. There, in the basement of our common home, they were eating the very foundations out from under us. Suddenly, before we knew quite what was happening, all that was solid had melted into air."