The first uprising in Tunisia provoked vast international interest, but the presidential coup in the same country last Sunday scarcely registered on the news agenda. This is a mistake even from the most nationally egocentric point of view because a great band of human misery now stretches more than 3,000 miles from Kabul to Tunis and 2,000 miles from Damascus to Mogadishu. This vast zone of deprivation, dictatorship and violence may regenerate Isis or lead to the rise of new al-Qaeda-type organisations. It will certainly produce great surges of refugees once again heading for Europe because they see no future for themselves in their own countries.
The collapse will come from the periphery. For some time, what the center will notice primarily will be the refugees.
Civilizations have always collapsed. Globalization means that this time the phenomenon will be . . . global.
The ongoing and worsening refugee problems mark the beginning of the process.