Decline of the American Empire? Is this true, why or why not?
This response is attached as well. I also attached a relevant article to support the argument.
1. Decline of American Empire? Is this true, why or why not?
It is somewhat controversial and subject of great debate. For example, an expert on geopolitics (Charles, K. Kupchan) says forget Islamic terrorism -- the real future threat to America's supremacy will come from Europe. Kupchan (2002) argues in his book titled, "The end of the American Era", things the above statement is true and argues that every great empire has a beginning and ending, including the American Empire.
According to Hansen (n.d), in "The End of the American Era," Kupchan compares the current world situation to past turning points in history -- the end of World War I, the federation of the American colonies, the Great Depression -- to suggest ways in which the world might transform itself. In some of his most illuminating passages, Kupchan disputes the predictions of such optimistic leading thinkers as Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman, who perceive democracy and globalization as great panaceas (arguing against the decline of any great empire, including the American Empire), and pessimists such as Samuel Huntington who foresees a "clash of civilizations" (who argues that all civilizations will clash). Instead, Kupchan's global map resembles that of the 19th century, when the reigning empire, Great Britain, gave the rising United States entree as a world power. This time, Kupchan says, it's America's turn to make room for Europe. (Hansen, n.d.) (See attached article)
What fits best with your understanding and readings? I attached an article on Kupchan's view, which seems like a reasonable argument. Mainly, that the American Empire remains, but looses its supremacy to the European Union. It seems likely that put simply, sooner or later all great empires will fall. Perhaps not to the extent as we have seen in the past (e.g., Roman Empire), but Kupchan's idea about the European Union becoming the great super power of the next era is tantalizing.
The decline and fall of the American empire
An expert on geopolitics says forget Islamic terrorism -- the real future threat to America's supremacy will come from Europe.
By Suzy Hansen
Pages 1 2 3 4
December 2, 2002 | The title of Charles A. Kupchan's new book, "The End of the American Era," sounds grim, but after a year of terrorist violence, "spectacular" attack warnings and ominous analyses of fundamentalist Islam, his argument is almost refreshing. According to Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, it isn't radical Islam that we should be most concerned about. It's our friends across the Atlantic, the European Union, that pose the greatest threat to American primacy.
In "The End of the American Era," Kupchan compares the current world situation to past turning points in history -- the end of World War I, the federation of the American colonies, the Great Depression -- to suggest ways in which the world might transform itself. In some of his most illuminating passages, Kupchan disputes the predictions of such optimistic leading thinkers as Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman, who perceive democracy and globalization as great panaceas, and pessimists such as Samuel Huntington who foresees a "clash of civilizations." Instead, Kupchan's global map resembles that of the 19th century, when the reigning empire, Great Britain, gave the rising United States entree as a world power. This time, Kupchan says, it's America's turn to make room for Europe.
Kupchan spoke to Salon from his office in Washington, D.C.
I know historians and scholars hate the word "inevitable," but you imply that sooner or later all great empires will fall. Is that right?
If there's any trend that keeps coming back, it's that great powers come and go. No one stays at the top forever. Rome was a great empire with a huge territory under its weight for probably 300 to 400 years, which is a pretty long time. Some have come and gone much more quickly.
One of the reasons that America's moment at the top will be short-lived is that history is moving much more quickly than it used to. The countries that get into the digital age go into fast-forward. If you take a snapshot of the world today and say, "A-ha! This is what the world's going to look like for the next century," it's very dangerous. Tomorrow could look very different.
Which empire do we compare most to? Is it Rome?
Two analogies come to my mind as most insightful to the present. First, the Roman case. The split that we're now seeing between Europe and America reminds me of the split between Rome and Byzantium that occurred in the end of the third century and into the fourth century. You had a unitary imperial zone divided into two, and once you had two separate capitals, Rome and Constantinople, you immediately had rivalry rather than unity. The same thing is happening between Washington and Brussels.
As far as the nature of our empire, I'd say the British probably comes closer to ours. The Roman empire was more contiguous. We have a more far-flung empire that relies on offshore balancing, which is what the Brits did: Send troops abroad but more to keep the balance than to occupy. You could almost call it Empire Lite. That's more or less how we run the show. One of the benefits of that is that Empire Lite is cheaper and it also provokes less resistance.
But one of the real dangers that we face at the moment is that Empire Lite might become Empire Heavy and rather than reassure others, we'll alienate them. Rather than appear as a benign hegemon, we appear predatory. We appear to lose our legitimacy as a great power, which is probably our most precious commodity. If that happens, then all bets are off. Then you really see countries run for cover and join arms against the United States.
What mistakes do historians and scholars make when they say that America is different, that for some reason American primacy will last indefinitely?
Part of it stems from looking at what I would say are the wrong indicators. They look at the GDP and the military capability of the United States vs. other countries. If you do that, it doesn't look like anybody is going to come close for many decades. I agree with that. But Europe is no longer a group of sovereign countries; it's coming together just like [the United States] did [in the 18th century]. That's why you have to talk about Europe as a collective entity and its ability to serve as a counterweight to the United States.
Also, oftentimes historians and particularly political scientists tend to look at the world structurally. They say, "Forget about what's going on inside states and just look at the relations among states." The end of America's dominance will to some extent be made in America. It will come from America's domestic politics, its own ambivalence about empire and its own stiff-necked unilateralism, which alienates others. In that sense, a lot of where we go as a country will come from ...
This solution assist in analyzing the notion of the decline of the American Empire in terms of truth, why or why not. Supplemented with research articles. References are provided.