© MMVIII v 1.0.6
The State is the zenith of power. State-level civilization emerged in the Bronze Age and replaced Stone Age chieftainism.
Around the Mediterranean, Greek city states, Troy, the Kingdom of David, Carthage, Etruscan civilization, early Egypt, and others appeared then. Sumer was established in Mesopotamia. Early kingdoms in China and India developed in the Bronze Age too. As states developed new military organizations and iron (as steel) weapons, they conquered rivals and ushered in the Iron Age. Alexander the Great  and the first Chinese emperor  created huge empires with these advantages. The Romans were always frustrated trying to equal the achievements of Alexander.
Today, the Iron Age has given way to the Silicon Age and things may be changing.
State structure is pyramidal: a tiny élite controls everyone else and appropriates their product. The emperor is supported by his court, which includes his family and friends, a priest-hood along with a bureaucracy (mandarins) and the military which is the instrument of power. The main purpose of The State, since it was created about 5,500 years ago, is plunder. The State is a criminal enterprise.
Man's proudest achievement, The State, is mirrored in nature by the army ant — which evolved legionary behaviour millions of years before man.
Today's "democratic" states are essentially identical to Egypt, or Imperial Rome. In the United States of America, 545 people control over 300 million people — many of whom think their sovereigns work for them! The U.S. military enforces a world-wide empire. Plunder is its main purpose. Talk of "spreading 'democracy'", "human rights" or "defence" is just baloney created for domestic consumption.
Barack Obama was elected POTUS by millions of Americans who were outraged by the excesses of George W. Bush and the Republicans. But as Obama prepares for the transfer of power, we see the same old Democrats will be moving in to replace the Republicans. Obama campaigned for CHANGE. But, in fact, not much will change. Different hogs will be feeding at the trough. Many were there before the Republicans took control of Congress in 1995 after 40 years of Democratic control.
Change may be in the works anyway: 3rd generation military aggression is no longer working against 4th generation stateless military defence (Iraq and Afghanistan); the U.S.A. is bankrupt and has lost its mojo; the losers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries (especially India, Japan, Germany and China) are becoming the winners in the 21st century.
Those who are first soon will be last, for the times they are a-changin'.