Saturday, 16 August 2008

Decline of the Empire?

As pointed out on the blog, 'Twilight of the Weimar Era', the Pentagon recently released a study called 'Military Advantage in History' which sought to examine empires across history in order to learn how to increase the longevity of the American Empire (the whole silly enterprise is explained here). You can download the article if you have time to spare and need a giggle or two.

I was reminded of this sorry episode when I read Juan Cole's brief note on the impending demise of the Musharraf Presidency. One commentator noted, "you can measure the demise of the Empire by the rate at which its satraps are falling and wringing their hands".

Personally I tend to find all this talk about the impending demise of Empires overwrought. I know the idea is extremely popular in Pakistan amongst the elite classes. Searching for signs of the coming decline of America verges on a national obsession. Still, there's something amusing about puncturing the pompous Imperium-nostalgia of certain American political scientists and foreign policy wonks by turning their own terminology of Empire against them. And with the events in Lebanon earlier this year and in Georgia more recently, one can't help but feel that at least some of the Empire's satraps are indeed in trouble.

No comments: