The political phenomena of our time are accompanied and complicated by a change in scale without parallel, or rather by a change in the order of things. The world to which we are beginning to belong, both as men and as nations, is not a replica of the world with which we were familiar, The system of causes which governs the fate of us all, extending from now on over the whole globe, makes all of it resound with each concussion: there are no more local problems, no more finite questions to be dealt with on the spot.

History, as it was formerly understood, was presented as a series of parallel chronological tables with accidental transversals indicated here and there between them. A few attempts at synchronization gave no results other than a sort of demonstration of their futility. What was going on in Peking in Caesar’s time, or in Zambesi in Napoleon’s, was going on on another planet. But melodic history is no longer possible. All political themes are entangled and every event that takes place immediately assumes a multitude of simultaneous and inseparable meanings.

— Paul Valéry