The Rutherford Institute

tells us what too many don’t want to hear.

Finally, and inevitably, military empires collapse. The war bell is tolling, and it tolls for us. As Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome? and editor-at-large of Vanity Fairwrites:

A millennium hence America will be hard to recognize. It may not exist as a nation-state in the form it does now–or even exist at all. Will the transitions ahead be gradual and peaceful or abrupt and catastrophic? Will our descendants be living productive lives in a society better than the one we inhabit now? Whatever happens, will valuable aspects of America’s legacy weave through the fabric of civilizations to come? Will historians someday have reason to ask, Did America really fall?

The problem we wrestle with is none other than a distorted American empire, complete with mega-corporations, security-industrial complexes and a burgeoning military. And it has its sights set on absolute domination. Yet at the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise, and it is feared that America, by repeating Rome’s mistakes, is headed toward a similar collapse. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts, “the United States will within a very short time face financial or even political collapse at home and a significantly diminished ability to project force abroad.”

Moreover, the so-called American empire faces a violent contradiction between its long republican tradition and its more recent imperial ambitions. As Chalmers Johnson writes:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

I would suggest that what we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome. It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 with its shadowy, totalitarian government–i.e., fascism, the union of government and corporate powers–and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world. And as we have seen with the militarizing of the police, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad affects the basic principles upon which American society should operate. 

http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=719

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