Off the cuff, as I sit here at work, 33 years old, let me present to you the geopolitical history of my life.
Desert Shield and Storm
The First Wave:
The Scorched Flag of Hungary (The "Trabi" Revolution?)
The Wall is Breached
The Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia
The German Reunification
The Romanian Revolution
Baltic and Caucasian Independence
The Wars Against Milosevic:
The Slovanian Withdrawal
First Balkan War
Second Balkan War
The Serbian Revolution
Tianenmen (sp?) Square
Rwanda and the plight of Sub-Saharan Africa
The Afghan Invasion and Restoration
The Iraqi Invasion and fall of Hussein
The Rose Revolution
The Orange Revolution
The Cedar Revolution
The Tulip Revolution
The Return of the Lion (Iran)
Morocco? (reforms from above!)
There are some things I'm not 100% sure how to fit in... for example, the Chechen revolution was one thing, and then another, and now a third. West and Central Africa have not been success stories, by and large. And Eritrea/Ethiopia? I don't have a clue how whether that fits the pattern. Similarly for the Caucasian border conflicts.
But I think it's safe to say that within my lifetime, there is an overarching theme: more people on this planet are free from tyranny than at any point in human history. And to a great extent, that march towards freedom is what has been determining the scope of our current conflicts. It can't be understimated. China threatened to NUKE hundreds of American cities this week. Because we were poised to invade China or North Korea? Nope. Because they feel threatened by our airbases in Central Asia. Nope again. Merely because we stand for, and are willing to fight for, the freedom of 22 million Taiwanese underneath the polite veneer of the "One China" policy.
I think that this needs to be taken as a whole, understood as a whole. However suspicious one might rightly be concerning historical dialectics, this seems to be precisely what we have in motion. On again, off again, cold and hot... is it melodrama, or reality, to call this the Great Freedom War?