Top Russian diplomat Igor Panarin has been predicting for more than 10 years now that the United States will break up into six separate pieces that will become client states of China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. Alaska will revert to Russia, although Sarah Palin will surely have something to say about that.

Now he’s come up with more specifics. There will be economic and moral collapse this year, followed by martial law and civil war, with the breakup coming next year.

Russia and China will lead a new world order. (You can just hear Beijing saying, "What do you mean ‘we’?") The catastrophically plummeting ruble will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and Moscow will become the financial capital of Eurasia.

This could be dismissed as the delusions of somebody gone seriously off their meds except that Panarin is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s school for diplomats and enjoys patronage in the Kremlin, where the leadership seems to take comfort from his visions. According to the Associated Press, the ministry "pointedly" invited it and the other foreign media to attend his lecture.

Russian critics of Panarin says his gloomy forecasts may more accurately describe their own country than the United States. In any event, by 2011 we’ll know.

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