Hindsight is 20/20. When future historians discuss the period of instability and unrest the world would be entering into as it approached the second decade of the 21st century they will point to numerous warning signs; evidence showing that the crisis that followed was all but inevitable. The underlying economic, geopolitical and social forces which precipitated the great collapse are well documented; written in the headlines of mainstream news. School children reading of these events in history books will marvel that so few saw it coming.
It has been said that any nation is 3 meals away from a revolution — sharp economic downturns and civil unrest go hand in hand — however the social fabric of western civilization was already fraying long before living conditions began to deteriorate. The onset of real physical hardship would strike like a match on gasoline.
Though Trump’s legal difficulties, erratic behavior, and trade war with China served as catalysts (and dominated media narratives), ultimately it would be the tightening of monetary and credit policy by central banks around the world which deflated the largest asset bubble in history, setting the stage for the economic collapse which followed.
In January of 2018 U.S. military doctrine officially pivoted from the war on terror to a focus on ‘great power competition’. This meant that rather than toppling non-compliant regimes in the Middle East, the U.S. would now be channeling its energy towards a war with Russia and China.