by Richard – Flexible Reality – Oct. 23, 2003
There are two dominant perspectives for the so-called “American Empire”, one that views America in decline, and one in ascension. Politicians and pundits from the Left and Right agree there are major problems we face which they assert should be addressed before our Republic collapses under the weight of unresolved issues. Clintonians point to the progress achieved during the 90’s in the technological and economic realms; but seem incapable of accepting the reality that corporate greed came to full fruition during theses years. Reaganites claim they were responsible for the demise of the USSR, and the results of their economic plan lead directly to the capital explosion of the past twenty years; but will not consider that Russia collapsed primarily from internal pressures, or that during the Reagan years supply-side economic policy created such huge deficits that one of the largest single non-military component of our Federal Budget for several years was simply servicing that debt.
The culture wars bring us today to the spectacle of the U.S. Senate passing a law, previously passed and twice vetoed by President Clinton, outlawing “partial birth abortions” which at most directly affect less than 0.025% of the population, while approving the Administrations request for a supplemental expense of $86b dollars to ameliorate what is considered by the international community as an illegal occupation of a foreign country. And then have the President threaten to veto the appropriation because it includes some attempt to add accountability of how the money is spent. The media outlets gave equivalent space to the two stories; but it appears to other nationals that America is now either adrift in another of their silly phases at best, or no longer worthy of respect and consideration at worst.
Empires have been phenomenally important in the advance of civilizations around the globe; but when they come apart, no one escapes the repercussions, nor can historians usually point to a specific action that caused it to fail. The HRE, Ottoman Turk, Han and Song Dynasties, Spanish, French, Prussian, British, and Russian versions came apart to be replaced by mostly democratic models. Let’s hope that process continues when it’s our turn to come unglued.