Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Fall Of The American Empire

San Carlo at the Four Fountains in Rome

Atlantic Monthly correspondent Robert D. Kaplan writes in today's New York Times:

Everyone keeps saying that America is not an empire, but our military finds itself in the sort of situation that was mighty familiar to empires like that of ancient Rome and 19th-century Britain: struggling in a far-off corner of the world to exact revenge, to put down the fires of rebellion, and to restore civilized order. Meanwhile, other rising and resurgent powers wait patiently in the wings, free-riding on the public good we offer. This is exactly how an empire declines, by allowing others to take advantage of its own exertions.

Kaplan believes that China and Russia get the real benefit as we continue our fruitless land war in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, he argues for an increase in troops because to do otherwise would demoralize our troops, show that we can't be counted on, and that we lack resolve. This is crazy. I think a few of our war mongering generals would be demoralized, but the troops would probably be glad as hell to get out of there. As for our resolve, we should have the resolve to do the right thing for ourselves rather than be trapped in another Vietnam-like land war. It is true that we can no longer be counted on to be the world's policeman and nation-builder extroadinaire. Our feckless president shold take command and get us out of Afghanistan as quickly as he can while shifting the focus to defeating terrorists and keeping America safe. Injecting further troops into a nine year old unwinable land war in Afghanistan is not the way to go.


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