The circumstances under which nation states were formed have differed throughout history, but every nation was and is sustained on the same three immutable pillars, and every successful nation state is ultimately successful or fails because of these same three:
(1) national sovereignty;
(2) national security and defense; and
(3) national economy.
These pillars are more than just characteristics of success, they are operational identities that emerge and continue while playing in the competition for survival against external rivals and internal dissent. When the aggregate strength of the pillars of various nations is compared, the result shows the international balance of power. A weak or deficient pillar will cause the other two to weaken, thereby affecting the international power balance, and ultimately may cause end stage atrophy. Complete removal of any of the pillars and the nation collapses. Such has been the case throughout the history of civilization, and there are no exceptions. The three pillars model may seem to be an oversimplification of varying historical circumstances, evolving cultures, and specific historical circumtances, but it holds up to scrutiny nonetheless.
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