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Friday, August 20, 2004


This is one axiom that you can't get around. Another is that as things fall apart, the center does not hold. Rome lasted about 700 years. Things move a bit faster today. The Brittish lasted about 400 depending on where you put your start date, I use the founding of North American colonies, but you could argue that it began in 1066 with William the Conquereor, which would add another 500 hundred years, but since the English held French counties kept trading hands for 400 of that 500, I put it in the 1500's. Anyway, in both cases, as with the Hapsburgs, the empires couldn't stand thier own weight in the end. As I said, things move faster today. The American Empire began with the expansion into the former Spanish colonies, and hit the ground running after the second world war. Since then we have used our position as a super power to expand into foriegn markets via economic imperialism. We don't hold the citizens of these countries bound to us by any alegiance other than that of the almighty dollar. We use economic blackmail to influence policy in foreign markets. American companies commonly exploit foreign workforces, which in turn devalues the american labor force. Jobs move overseas, unemployment rises, and our economy suffers. Meanwhile world opinion, and with that comes our credibility, suffers from both sides of this equation. Contempt over our abuses, followed by a crippling of our ability to influence creates an unstable international position. Couple that with the insanity of an overly bureaucratic society and you have a recipe for the decline of an empire.

So gloom and doom. I half expect to see you throwing a chair through a Starbucks window at the next G8 summit. So much of America's global economic influence is positive that the areas needing improvement pale in comparison. Save this for the college student/dropouts who are lemming like enough to buy into the whole American economic axis of evil thing. Hell, American tourism in France even had a banner year.

Do like your historical stuff though. Makes me regret having filled my electives with religion course work vs. history.
I think Rome lasted 1,000 years. The scary thing here is we are the first empire that can take every other nation out with us when we go. Never in history has the dominant power been more powerful than the sum of their counterparts, we are.
No need to worry about any radical acts of violence. I am resigned to play this out either way it goes. I'm just trying to put it all in perspective. Our billions in foriegn aid is not strictly philanthropic, it's an investment, equity if you will, done for our own benefit.
1000 years if you put the Republic and the Empire together.
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