The Empire’s Dying Days

From today’s Reese column:

“What we are witnessing is the beginning of the end of Euro-American domination of the planet. When the emperors start being idiots, the empire is on the way to the ash heap of history. If you have any grandchildren, you might suggest that they study Chinese.”

Here are some similar missives I have quoted in this space:

“There is also, just for the record, the cold comfort of knowing that all empires crumble when hubris and militarism alienate even their closest allies, distant wars entangle them in bloody conflicts, and popular leaders are exposed as self-serving frauds.” -Mark Kingwell, The National Post, March, 2003

“An empire is at its weakest when it appears to be at its strongest because it is at that moment when the Rumsfelds of history are tempted to reach for too much too quickly. This is one such moment in the history of the American Empire.” -James Coghlin, letter to The National Post, Mar 18, 2003

What does it all mean? I once asked in this space if 9/11 and the subsequent two wars in Central Asia were indicative of either the solidification –or unmasking– of Imperial America, or the last gasps of a dying, bloated Imperium. I suspected the latter, and now I am sure of it. The American treasury is all but bankrupt, kept solvent only through enormous infusions of borrowed cash from the superpowers of tomorrow, Japan and China. The fist of the empire has been revealed as porous and weak: it cannot sustain military control over Iraq while simultaneously conducting operations in Afghanistan, not without substantial cooperation and donations from allies.

A true empire must be able to conduct several frontier wars simultaneously, but the bloated American military is too expensive for that in today’s climate. Like the Romans did in their waning days, frontline American military might now relies on proxy armies comprised of “barbarians” and mercenaries. Their technology remains overwhelming and humbling, as is their unrivalled air and space power. But for how much longer can the bleeding American economy afford to sustain such investments?

The US dollar is overvalued. With Iranian oil increasingly being shipped eastward instead of Westward, and with Latin American oil remaining an unpredictable quantity, the petrodollar of the 21st century will be either the Chinese yuan or the Euro; in either case, this translates to devastating American inflation and monetary devaluation. Like the 15th century Chinese, who were the world’s most advanced and powerful society, internal corruption and economic failure will rot the American empire from its core, finally forcing it to retreat to its purer and saner Washingtonian republican roots.

When President Gore takes office in 2009, he will inherit quite the mess.