Can the United States fade gracefully from power?

It is an inevitable fact that any and every empire must fall. Whether it falls 15 billion years from mow due to the heat death of the universe or if it falls next tuesday due to a bloodless coup by Saddam’s Republican Guard.

Can the US manage to survive this fall without the usual bloodshed and reversion to dark ages?

I think the only example of a graceful fall I can think of would be that of Britain. It still maintains its place as a seperate country with its own unique identity yet it only has a fraction of its former glory.

All the previous empires, Chinese, Roman, Persian, Babylonian, Egyptian etc. either got absorbed into a new empire or was destroyed.

However, Britain has been the most recent empire which might be a good sign.

I guess Communist Russia could be said to be still surviving but I would hardly call it graceful.

Um, the fall of the French empire around the same time as the British wasn’t exactly a cataclysmic event. The same with the Dutch and Belgians. The Spanish had a fairly bloody loss of its empire, but it didn’t cause a reversion to the dark ages or anything. China is still a separate country with its own unique identity, same with Japan.

I don’t recall us being an empire.

(military power && economic influence) != empire

No matter how much you wish it were so, the United States of America is neither an empire nor out to subjugate the world.

Communist Russia did not survive. First off, it was the communist Soviet Union that collapsed. Secondly, the Russian Federation is not a communist country.

I can take none of your theses seriously as you are postulating as truth that which is contrary to fact.

Sure it is, Monty. Even ignoring foreign policy, just the idea of a collection of territories (or states) under a single controlling and supreme government (even if te controlling government is limited to an extent) is an empire. The US has been technically an empire since it’s very beginning. One does not need to conquer to be an empire, although that tends to be the most common way to go about it.

Two people using two different definitions of Empire. Only a few oddballs live in the United States and don’t want to. We force no one to live here who doesn’t want to (well, convicted criminals aside). We have no interest in conquest; our borders are a free and permanent association. All we really want is to be left alone and to make money, preferably with the help of international trade.

Now, because of our freedom, hard work, and economic prowess, we have attained the status of global superpower. yet, we remain less interested in using that power than any major force ever seen. Only when threatened, directly or indirectly, by hostile foreign forces do we deploy our war machine. On occaision, we’ve been known to use our military to try and do good works in the world.

But like I said, you are using that word differently from how I use it.

Agree the US is not an empire by nearly any realistic definition of the term.

Also, have to point out Egypt as yet another empire who’s fall was not particularly bloody nor the harbinger of a dark age.

Actually I think ONLY the Roman empire precipitated that sort of event (and that ONLY in WESTERN europe).

I’d say the norm is for a declining hegemony (better than empire I think) is that it’s a relatively slow and non-cataclysmic process. Maybe a nasty battle or two near the end, but that’s about it.

I don’t know, the whole guillotine period, Napoleon, and the constant change of Emperors and Kings was pretty violent.

I’d have to posit that the napoleonic wars were a primary CAUSE of the fall of France from significant power, not a symptom.

My mistake, Neurotik. I was under the impression you might actually know what you’re talking about. Your last posting showed that you’re just making up new meanings for English words, and those meanings to serve your deluded purpose.

They weren’t even a CAUSE. France was a significant power until after WWII. It’s colonies included:

Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, parts of Southern China, Djibouti, Madagascar, Comoros, large chunks of West and Equatorial Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Chad, etc), Syria, Lebanon, Guiana, various Caribbean and Pacific islands. By 1914 they had 4 million square miles of territory and 60 million subjects. That increased after WWI.

They may not have been the top power, but they weren’t far behind and still very much a significant power. They lost significant power the same reasons the British did…they just couldn’t afford it anymore.

Ah. I see, you can’t actually counter with facts. Keep pounding the table. yawn

We don’t know how the ‘fall’ of the U.S. might happen, because it’s not even close to its peak as of yet. The U.S. is still growing in power economically, and it’s growing faster than the world average.

The countries that really need to be worried about declining power right now are the socialist EU countries, which are all growing at slow rates, have high unemployment, and are losing their vibrancy.

The big worry is whether the U.S. can prevent itself from becoming an empire. A troubling development in the world today is that it looks like other powers in the world are starting to ally in opposition to the U.S., as a check on its power. How will the U.S. respond to that? What will happen if the U.S. invades Iraq without the U.N.? How will the world respond?

Counter what with facts, Neuro? I countered your assertion that the United States of America is an empire with the fact that it isn’t. You then responded with a made-up definition of the word empire.

Um, no. I got that definition from Mirriam-Webster. Nothing about it was made up. Please provide your own definition of an empire if you wish to continue this.

Last I checked, Neurtok, approximatley 10 seconds ago, the United States of America was a representative democracy with no emperor and it was not bent on world subjugation.

Now, if you have any valid citations to prove otherwise, have at it.

I don’t know if you’re telling lies to yourself or you just don’t know how to parse the English language, Neurotik. Here’s the definition from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

Since the United States of America divides its sovereign authority between the federal and state governments, definition 1a(1) doesn’t apply. Since there is no emperor for this country, the “especially” portion definitely doesn’t apply. Since the United States of America doesn’t have single domination or control of its assembled governments, definition 1a(2) doesn’t apply. Since there is no emperor, definition 2 doesn’t apply.

Which part of Merriam-Webster’s definition are you pretending applies? The invisible definition 3 which isn’t printed there?

The US may not have an emperor now, but it used to.

I disagree. The USA may divide its sovereign authority between federal and state governments, but only to a limited extent. If a national and state law contradict each other, national law generally trumps. The states are not allowed to do a great many things…most notably they are not allowed to leave the union, etc. The notion of the federal government deriving it’s power from the states is only in practice in theory. While I think that is a bad thing, and I think that the clock should be turned back in this instance, the fact that remains is that the federal government has numerous means to coerce the states into doing what it wants.

So, what you’re saying is that you disagree with the reality of the matter, said reality being something of which you admit you are fully aware. That’s called delusion in most books.