Histories of empires and why the US must fall.

Because they all do eventually.

I was reading a review of and a few excerpts from Simon Schama’s A History of Britain: The Fate of Empire, 1776-2000 (here’s an on-line review) where the author makes the case that one of the reasons for the shrinking of the British Empire was the great gulf between it’s stated goals. Winston Churchill wrote “give peace to warring tribes, administer justice were all was violence, to strike chains off the slave” to which Schama counters “There was an awful lot of hanging around the club, pending the accomplishment of these great goals.” This so strongly reminded of the Superpower in which I live that I began to wonder if this same hubris mixed with an enormous sense of entitlement will the be downfall of the US.

All of histories great Western Empires fell sooner or later. The cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia, was the center of the world until the world outgrew it. The Greeks organized itself into the world power until the Romans overtook and overshadowed them. The Romans stretched themselves so far for so long that it was inevitable that they would snap back into their original lands.

How long will the United States status as “superpower” last and what will bring about its inevitable loss of influence?

How long? Beats me. I don’t know enough about economics and economic indicators to tell. Because that is what will undo the United States. As it has every other super power.

I’m an idiot. I ment to put this in GD.

There is a book mentioned in the OP. . …

Yea, it shall be Written, that the Downfall of the Empire Began with Citizens failing to Read Forum Descriptions.

You might find this interesting:

Or, Alternately, with Embarassing Simulposts.

What empire?

I do not see a political subjugation of other nations. Economic and cultural hegemony, yes, but Americans seem uninterested in administrating vast areas of the world.

Administering? No. Having them bend to its will? Hell yeah.

Like the impressive results the US had in bending world opinion to its will in a very recent military action?

Yes, exactly like that. World opinion was most definitly against them. The fact that the US went ahead and did it (and knowingly using falsified documents as part of their justification) with nary a sanction or reprimand just proves my point.


I admit to being rather thick sometimes. Perhaps I am using an outdated definition of “empire.”

Despite the fact that we could not get support from anyone other than Great Britain and Togo, we still somehow have a hold on the governments of other nations strong enough to be an “empire?”

Yep, you are. You need to think of this empire – unlike all predecessors - in the context of capitalism, democracy and free flow of capital (begetting globalisation). That’s the context of this empire; the first where military might/gunboat diplomacy is not the primary means of gaining power and influence (over others), but rather the ‘back up to the exertion of economic influence to gain advantage, dependence, etc . . . all the traits of empire but achieved within a capitalist framework.

It’s fairly anachronistic to use the word “empire.” Empires are soooooooo 19th century. You might as well talk about the Reserve Army of the Unemployed and the Free Coinage of Silver while you’re at it.

Since this is Cafe Society, I suggest the mods rename this thread to “History of empires and why decadent US rock and roll must die.”

Another interesting book on the subject was one that came out about 10 years ago, Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Who looks also at the cyclical nature of empire.

As for me : [Brockman]I am eagerly awaiting the rise of our future Liechsteinteiner overlords[/Brockman]

But Simon, Todd is French. It would be unpatriotic for him to not predict the fall of the US within the next decade.

BTW, I left out a few words in the second paragraph of my OP. It should read:
I was reading a review of and a few excerpts from Simon Schama’s A History of Britain: The Fate of Empire, 1776-2000 (here’s an on-line review) where the author makes the case that one of the reasons for the shrinking of the British Empire was the great gulf between it’s stated goals and actual actions.

Posted by Biggirl:

What “stated goals”? My understanding was that the British acquired their empire “in a fit of absent-mindedness.”

We need to remember, Biggirl, that the word “empire” has been used to mean several things, including a very large national territory. Let us not forget that the United States, like China and Russia, and unlike Britain, is a continental power, a vast enough nation to be ranked as an “empire” just within its own borders. At present, we also have an “empire” in the sense of being able to dominate or influence foreign nations (within limits much stricter than Bush seems to have anticipated). If we lose or give up that “empire” in the future, the U.S. will still be here and will still be a superpower – unless we lose our empire the way Germany and Japan did, by means that involve our home territory being conquered and occupied by foreigners. And even then we might survive and reemerge as a nation, even a great nation, as Germany and Japan did – and if so, unlike Germany and Japan, we will still be a continental-scale power.

So what exactly do you mean, when you assert the American “empire” is destined to “fall”? Do you mean loss of foreign influence and military predominance? Conquest of our home territory by foreigners? Or do you mean the Union fracturing into smaller regional states, as the Confederates tried to accomplish?

Thank you, I thought I was losing my mind.

BTW, all of this would have been news to inhabitants of the Central Kingdom, AKA All That Lies Under Heaven, AKA China . . . which, by the way, is still around 5,000 years later.

I guess you could argue that the ‘fall’ of a major power isn’t so much the obliteration/breaking up of that power, but just its fall from being #1.

I don’t think it will neccessarily happen as soon as many people think. Things aren’t so hot right now, but that what elections are for.