Perils of Empire: The Roman Republic and the American Republic

Perils of Empire: The Roman Republic and the American Republic

Perils of Empire: The Roman Republic and the American Republic

Perils of Empire: The Roman Republic and the American Republic

Excerpt

History is a vast early warning system.

—Norman Cousins

The word Empire is back. The term first went out of fashion when the empire building competition between the European powers led to the prolonged bloodletting of World War I, and then into hiding as colony after colony achieved independence in the period after the Second World War. By 1975 the United Nations, with more than 170 sovereign members, was living, quarrelling proof that the time of empires was gone forever.

Then the Berlin Wall was toppled and the Cold War ended. Regrettably, the “peace dividend” never really developed because, even as the Russian military disintegrated and the Chinese army remained focused on maintaining domestic order, new, small-scale disturbances seemed to call for an American ability to project military power into far corners of the globe. The unwillingness of a Democratic president to reduce the American Republic’s military arsenal was overshadowed by the phenomenon known as “globalization.”

Symbolized by the World Wide Web, the real focus of the 1990s was on the linking of nations through the miraculous evolution of technology and the expansion of world trade. Many people saw globalization as a phenomenon that would move the world beyond empires, imperialism, and cold wars.

1 Cousins, Norman, Saturday Review, April 15, 1978

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