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Needed: A Positive Vision of a Post-Imperial America

 Do you remember the fundamental changes that were happening to the world around 1990, when the Soviet Union rode off into the sunset?  President George H.W. Bush used to acknowledge the "vision thing" problem that he had.  (People criticized him for not providing leadership for what America would be like without the Soviet bogeyman.)

The same thing seems to be happening now, except that this time it is the American Empire that is falling apart.  Will anyone emerge during the next election who provides real leadership about what post-Imperial America should be like?  I have my doubts: for the most part they will just provide a vision of perpetual war abroad and authoritarianism at home.  For a time I thought RFK Jr. might provide that kind of leadership.  But he has shown himself to be a craven ass-kisser of Israel.

America still has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.  Nobody in the world really has a blue water navy besides us.  So it is not like we are really in any serious danger.  But the apparatchiks of Washington DC are in danger of becoming less important than in the past.  They will do 'whatever it takes' to preserve their power and prestige and budgets.

Does the national ego need to be the Big Cheese on planet earth?  Aren't there many things that happened before the imperial age began in 1945 that Americans can be proud of?  Freed of imperial burdens, we could work on many challenging projects.

Look at another example, that of France.  They were preeminent in Europe in the late 1600s and throughout the 1700s, until the battle of Waterloo in 1815.  Since then they have been a second-rate power.  Why does that term sound so derogatory or uninspiring?

Take the single example of Louis Pasteur!  There have been many other famous French scientists, musicians, and innovators.  I was shocked once to learn that one of the first modern department stores, Bon Marche', started the trend of using fixed prices in a store.  Until then you had to haggle with the salesman like you still haggle with a street vendor in a third world country. 

I wish somebody would write a book about the demise of empires and how the countries developed after that.  Let's hope that could inspire Americans to look forward to their post-imperial age.

I have no idea of who Vendantu is, but an image search came up with this visual metaphor for the "vision thing".



Comments

Ed said…
The demise of empires:

Reinventing Collapse by Orlov, Dmitry
How Democracy Ends by Runciman, David
After the Empire by Todd, Emmanuel
Disintegration by Martyanov, Andrei
Why Nations Fail by Acemo─člu, Daron & Robinson, James A.
Decline and Fall by Greer, John Michael

These are some of the books that I have read during the past couple of years that speak to that topic. There are a lot of books written about the rise and fall of empires; these may not be the best but were interesting reads.
Anonymous said…
"The Fall of Empires: A Brief History of Imperil Collapse" by Chad Denton
anything written by Cormac O'Brien

There are too many "fall of empires" bokks to list and read!