"What do I care about law? Hain't I got the power?"
-Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt
It is axiomatic that the fewer people who wield power (either coercive), the greater the liklihood violence (typically "legal" in the strict sense of the word) will be used as a tool of diplomacy.
I have been incessently studying the relationships between Church, State, society, and public order for some time now, and while I completely disagree with Niall Ferguson's delusions that the U.S. is headed for disaster, I certainly cannot be as sanguine about Europe, specifically Eastern Europe.
Democracy has had a very good run in that part of the world, and the mechanisms that should auto-correct the problem (such as the pendulum like swing of the U.S. election cycle) are showing signs of fracture.
If Nature "abhors" a vacuum, Power seeks it. Vanderbilt himself conducted a war in Nicaragua to protect his financial interests. There will be a new Holy Roman empire before there is the United Secular Europe envisioned my Monnet and his ilk.