All empires decline in time. There is no exception to this law of social entropy. Amongst the widely known and extensive empires of the last two millennia, we can mention the Roman Empire, the United Provinces (Netherlands), the British Empire and the currently reigning one-the USA. The decline of Empires tends to accelerate in their twilight. Pronounced irrational policies employed to stop inevitable changes are the main reasons for Empires’ swift disintegration. Change is inevitable and all that can be done is ameliorate consequences. Instead of trying to adopt and ease their way into the new unfolding world system, empires tend to double down on their mistakes. The current one is no exception. One such repetitive mistake (of empires) is their cravings for wars. Declining empires push their luck by engaging in multiple unwinnable warfare, assuming they still have what it takes to prevail over all of them, no matter whom they are fighting against!
Hegemony is one of the defining characteristics of an empire. When this supremacy is shaken because of emerging reality, it would be wise to rethink old positions. Developing a more agile and accommodating posture could make the inescapable transition manageable. On the other hand, the refusal to adapt to changing realities; whether they are brought about by intensified and unexpected social reordering from within or by a more competitive emerging political economy on a global scale or by creative destructions that render the overall economic status quo unfitting or even by the new phenomenon of collapsing ecosystems; will only lead to chaotic collapse! Just like the empires of yesteryears, the US Empire, willy-nilly supported by the vassal states of Europe (to use a phrase coined by a French foreign minister) is fracturing; economically, socially, politically, culturally, etc.
Maintaining dominance only by leveraging hard power, i.e., military power might give the impression of hegemony, but it is not the case at all. In fact, it might well be a sign of creeping weakness. When legitimacy is lost and every issue seems to require the use of raw power to settle it, then we cannot talk about hegemony. Once an Empire starts to lose legitimacy, integrity and truth are the first ones to be thrown out of the window, so to speak! Just before the collapse of the Roman Empire the values that created the empire were significantly diluted and were gradually replaced by mediocrity and corruption. Fictitious/mercenary soldiers, manipulated specie/currency, (to the extent of diluting the composition of the specie, gold & silver coins), psychopathic tendencies dominating governance, all rounded cultural decay, etc., etc., took over the Roman Empire in its dying days. We can easily say ‘ditto’ to all the above in regards to the current reigning empire. Understanding and accepting what prevails on the ground is very difficult to those who are used to having their ways. Unfortunately, even mere discussions along these lines invite criticism if not more!
During the accelerating phase of decline, it is usually unenlightened entrenched interests that influence policies and sway state power, to the detriment of all and sundry. These characters tend to be very deficient in integrity and honesty. They are, by any measure, closed to new ideas reflecting the changing reality on the ground! Don’t forget; politicos, at the service of dominant interests, are always for stasis, not change! What lying politicos will do and are good at is give the sheeple (human mass) in the crumbling empire a false hope of potential renewal, which for all practical purposes, will not be forthcoming. It is mostly the doubling down of one dumb policy/idea after another that will finally do empires in. Once again, amongst these misguided policies, continuous wars feature prominently. The sheeple, as usual will end up becoming the proverbial cannon fodder!
“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – Albert Einstein. Good Day!