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Thread: Rotting Empire vs. Inept Enemy

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Rotting Empire vs. Inept Enemy

    7 May The Australian commentary - Rotting Empire vs. Inept Enemy by Matthew Parris.

    Writing in The Spectator three weeks ago, David Selbourne - the distinguished essayist, author and thinker - had sniffed the wind and concluded that it is all up for what he calls the US imperium. Islam has been Washington's undoing, he believes, and after six short decades as top dog of the world, America is already stumbling and set to lose its predominance.

    It's a fascinating thesis. Selbourne is right about one thing. The American empire has passed its zenith. More disputable is his implicit suggestion that the US and the world are heading for some kind of nemesis. And he is mistaken, I reckon, to conclude that Islam will prove that nemesis...

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    Interesting article, thanks. I agree with him that the nihilism of Al Qaeda-style Islamism offers no real future to its adherents.

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default This could be a problem

    "The American empire has passed its zenith."

    This statement has a whole lot of issues associated with it. Anyone care to examine it?

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    - traverse the heartland, hundreds upon hundreds of miles from north to south, east to west of rich food producing land where one man using modern equipment can feed thousands - we have not reached our zenith of power and influence, not by a long shot

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    'Globalization,' technology and China would be the end of "US Imperialism" ... not Islamic terrorists.


    Resource-rich developing countries has found a peer trading partner in China that could stand on equal ground with (more or less) and less dependent on the US; technology expanded knowledge-based job market for any country; 'globalization' allows goods and services to be more easily traded in a market of 6.6 trillion people.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Didn't China just execute its former head of their version of the FDA. They may have the buying power in a year 2000 economy, may have the Olympics, may be spending like crazy on their military, but they have a 1950s style government, and have modernized so fast they are bound to have growing pains they have not begun to contemplate. Which I think is what makes them dangerous - ever see ole Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk - not the grey smart one, but the emotional green one?

    I'd have to agree with Goesh, there is vast unrealized potential in the United States, and I think we have a better sense of ourselves then any other state with like potential. We live in a truly amazing country where hope and possibility abound.
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 05-30-2007 at 12:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Didn't China just execute its former head of their version of the FDA. They may have the buying power in a year 2000 economy, may have the Olympics, may be spending like crazy on their military, but they have a 1950s style government, and have modernized so fast they are bound to have growing pains they have not begun to contemplate. Which I think is what makes them dangerous - ever see ole Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk - not the grey smart one, but the emotional green one?

    I'd have to agree with Goesh, there is vast unrealized potential in the United States, and I think we have a better sense of ourselves then any other state with like potential. We live in a truly amazing country where hope and possibility abound.



    I was refering to the notion of American "Empire" or "Imperialism" and adventures outside America's borders that the article was about.


    In no way do I think that China is becoming the new "Empire," I'm just saying that it's going to be harder to have hegemony over regions in the world as we have had for the past 60+ years. More and more countries are becoming part of the global economic system with or without the US.

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    "The American empire has passed its zenith."

    This statement has a whole lot of issues associated with it. Anyone care to examine it?
    At the risk of getting flamed I will take a shot.
    This all depends on when you consider America to have been at its strongest. I would argue 1945 (over 100 aircraft carriers in the bay of Toyko, only country which can make nukes, controls much of worlds production) but many others would suggest right after the fall of communism. Until the fall of communism America had always had another superpower to compete with. Now America is the lone superpower. It is clear that for at least 20 years China will not be able to touch America in terms of military power.
    In terms of economic power the situation America was in in 1945 will never be repeated. There is zero chance America will control that % of the worlds industrial production. Read the first few pages of Bill Brysons "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (2006)" (Not the most academic source but the way he writes about American economic power is amazing).
    Just because America has most probabaly passed its zeinth (only future historians will know) does not mean that all it lost. It can continue to be the strongest country in the world but other countries will catch up faster than America can advance (it is harder to lead, just look at Ger, the US, and Jap catching up to the UK in the indy rev).

    All this being said the biggest threat I see to America is economic. They need to get their house in order.

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    Default Till and Control

    Agriculture remains the foundation on which any civilization exists. Any and all manners of economic exchange are based on that foundation and all the complications of human interaction stem from the inherent contradiction of our genetic hunting, predatory nature being dependent on food production and not on hunting and gathering. Sedentary life styles that evolved from raising crops and domestic animals gave us religion, economics and civil laws to regulate such an existence. The principle strength of America from a longitudinal, evolutionary perspective is the unified code of Law, Federal and State, that governs and controls immense swatches of food producing soil, our heartland. As we entered a form of technological saltation post-WW2 and much of the world lagged behind, it became necessary to idle tens of thousands of acres of farm land and farmers were paid for leaving land idle. This was the Soil Bank Program of the 1950s and early 1960s. Famine is man-made, not a product of the environment. There is more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone though how long this holds true is open to debate. One farmer on 1 section of land (640 acres) can produce 1,600,000 loaves of bread. One family of 4 can live 10 years off the bread produced by 1 acre of wheat: http://www.clover.okstate.edu/fourh/...eat.html#bread
    One farmer with modern equipment can prep and seed that section of land in about 4 days time or less. The truly big operators will knock that much out in 1 day easy. The long term and critical factor in looking at wheat production across the planet is political stability. We have the proverbial ace in the hole here in N. America given our stability and uniformity of Law controling our heartland, plus we are not bordered and surrounded by potentially unstable neighbors.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
    Nothing is over until we say it is!"


    Beyond the satirical quote, America hasn't taken a real blow and the world has not yet seen America's real strength. Political quislings and opportunists obsfucate our daily news, military-industrialists scramble for profit and the population believes the Greek chorus "we're doomed!" in between Paris Hilton updates.

    Let's see what happens when we take 100,000 casualties. Historically, our nation has always had a two-steps-forward, one-backwards pace and we've generally muddled forward based on the efforts of a few stalwart individuals.

    Of course, if you believe the spirit of those who stood at places like Trenton, Monmouth and Yorktown no longer lives in a significant minority of Americans, then I guess we are all well and truely ####ed.
    Last edited by AdamG; 06-11-2007 at 05:08 PM. Reason: ah kan't spel.

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