When nations arrive at a state of paralysis, they do not recover their former resilience. Instead, they endure shocks that produce undemocratic or hyperdemocratic results.
China, Russia, and Cambodia went Communist. They lacked a developed industrial base, so peasant uprisings behind Communist vanguards succeeded in taking over the apparatus of state. Russia later endured a second paralysis after its Communist period and went Fascist under Putin – after fracturing into 15 nations. China is enduring paralysis right now, but I cannot determine if it will go Fascist or break apart into smaller units. I should note that Communism is not an option for a developed nation. The big threat to developed democratic and liberal ideals are national dissolutions or fascist movements. India has a decent shot at going Communist because of its massive rural population. China, too, could have a second Communist revolution. Russia won’t be going back to Communism: it’s too industrialized.
Mexico in 1910 went in a leftist direction, not entirely Communist. In the 1990s, paralysis gave Mexico a rightward shift that was incomplete: drug lords have now fractured the Mexican state.
Weimar Germany, postwar Italy, and 1930s Spain endured paralysis that produced fascist states.
Yugoslavia’s paralysis produced a fractured state, as did Czechoslovakia.
Iran’s paralysis under the Shah led to a fascist-religious state under the Ayatollahs. It is enduring another round of paralysis. Arab states emerging from recent revolutions are also leaning towards fascist-religious states after paralyzing secular fascism. Syria is fractured and Lebanon perennially fractures under the stress of paralysis.
Japan’s paralysis in the 1930s gave them militaristic fascism. They are also enduring another phase of paralysis.
European nations and the USA are also in paralysis, to one degree or another. Spain and Italy look set to fly apart: Greece is capable of anything. Other nations’ situations are developing.
So, whither the USA? Fascism or dissolution? I think the lessons of 1861-1865 are clear and that dissolution is not a viable scenario, except in the case of an extreme sequence of events. Fascism is already nascent, with interest groups exerting influence on both the major parties favorable towards a fascist setup. The Tea Party is a vanguard of American fascism – it truly is, even though not all Tea Party supporters are fascists – and the rest of the Republicans are impotent in opposing their influence. By turn, the radical elements in the GOP produce a more radicalized Democrat party, which compounds the paralysis of government.
That paralysis is ultimately to the benefit only of Fascist movements.