Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Game of Empires?

Let us play a game, shall we?

What declining historical unit are we?

Are we the Roman Republic, falling prey to greater and greater dictators, frittering away our power for bread and circuses?

Are we the Roman Empire, economically failing and geographically rent apart?

Are we Byzantium, ultimately facing attacks from both our enemies and our supposed friends?

Are the Latin States of the East, a bridge too far, unwilling to play the games we need to survive yet always insisting we come back to war?

Are we the Austro-Hungarian Empire, finally rent apart by nationalisms too fierce to be subsumed in the larger unit as they were before?

Are we another one - something you know and I do not (as you will note, my history is largely Western European centric)?

You note that I assume that we are, in fact, a declining historical unit.  A quick read on any of these will, interestingly enough, point not only to the waning power of the unit but usually to the unfortunate financial and economic circumstances they found themselves in.  Economic instability, it seems, ultimately ensures a state cannot weather the tides of its time.

My guess?  Call me old fashioned, but I will go with the Roman Republic.  We seem to more and more find ourselves in the position of having less and less power to influence our society, swept aside (ultimately) by the dictates of fewer and fewer individuals (in my mind, both major parties have abandoned us to this fate.  It is not one or the other - nor was it in the Republic.  If it would not have been Caesar, it would have been Crassus or Pompey, had they survived).

Rome, of course, ultimately survived.  The Roman Republic, of course, did not - except in name only.

10 comments:

PeteForester1 said...

Regardless of the fallen empire, the death of trust was ultimately the death of the empire. Ours will be no different. Trust is not a "brick in the wall" of a society; it is the cornerstone; the linchpin. Ask yourself; Is there ANYONE in a position of power in our country you can honestly say you trust?...

...Uh-huh...

Josh Elliott said...

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/webcontent/0010/559/285/cn10559285.jpg

LindaG said...

I agree. I am afraid that will indeed be us. America, yes. United States, a power for good, not so much. I am afraid to see just how far we will sink.

Be safe and God bless.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Wow. What a salient point. It is true. In a sense it is the foundation of Rousseau's Social Contract. Without trust, nothing else will hold.

And no. I do not think there is anyone I would trust at any level of power at this point.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

You know, you are not the first one to make that association. And it is well founded - behavior we would have decried as oppressive and totalitarian even 60 years ago we now seem to consider as no big deal (as demonstrated by the current crop of candidates).

Thanks for stopping by!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

The scary part of course is not only what happens to us, but what happens to the international order. International politics, just like nature, abhors a vacuum...

Glen Filthie said...

I think this is something entirely new Toird.

What we are doing is premeditated, deliberate cultural suicide. We let the losers and the liers shame us and mock us. We let people like the Obamas rule us when they aren't fit to shine our shoes. We're going to vote for Hillary because the other guy is talking about paying the bills, sending the free loaders home, and restoring sanity. Most of us have thrown away faith and our morals and ethics with it.

I say let it burn. We can't vote our way out, or spend our way out or make those that are killing us. Whaddya gonna do?

LindaG said...

I think ISIS, the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and North Koreans are all vying to fill that vacuum. Or to carve up the world, as Berlin and Germany were carved up after the 'War to End all Wars'.

I am ashamed at how we have thrown that by the wayside. I feel for the few vets still alive from those wars. How disappointed they must be at what we have frittered away, what they fought and died for.

Similar to how my son and the Iraq and Afghanistan vets feel about the wasted lives in their wars. Sad.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I have heard the same from more than one friend that fought in Iraq. Although at least in that aspect, I am sure that has been a lament of all soldiers for all time: Imagine how the Roman legionnaire felt having to abandon Mesopotamia after having walked most of the way there, or the Byzantine soldier Italy.

My guess is the same as yours: Globally Russia or China, regionally actors such as Iran, India.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

If I may interpret a bit, perhaps we as a society have given up on what we believe to it is to be American? If so, it is a deliberate form of cultural suicide. All states, especially those composed of multiple nations of people, fail the minute the nation becomes more important than the state.

At this point, I believe you may be right in that collapse is the only end game. As I try and point out to everyone - even my kids - $19.8 Trillion in National Debt and $100+ Trillion in unfunded liabilities is not going away no matter who wins in 3 weeks.