Two Different Views on the Decline of the American Empire
There has been debate over the past few years, beginning with the economic crash of 2007-2008 that the once mighty and strong American Empire that dominated international relations throughout the 20th Century was beginning its inevitable downfall. Here are two articles that outline two different arguments about America’s crash:
Stephen Walt - Foreign Policy Magazine
Walt tries to make the point that perhaps the moment that began America’s decline was the First Gulf War of 1990, which was a decisive victory for American troops. Yet, he argues that it began a chain of events that brought America into the costly Iraq War.
“Thus, Bush’s decision to topple Saddam in 2003 led directly to two losing wars, not just one. And these wars were enormously expensive to boot. Combined with Bush’s tax cuts and other fiscal irresponsibilities, this strategic incompetence caused the federal deficit to balloon to dangerous levels and helped bring about the fiscal impasse that we will be dealing with for years to come.”
Niall Ferguson - Newsweek Magazine
Ferguson makes another point that empires don’t slowly decline, but rather, they crash and burn. He believes America will be able to “reboot” and make a comeback. He uses his “Western Civilization Killer Apps” that he coined for his book Civilization: The West and the Rest. In Ferguson’s view, America needs to rid itself of its “viruses”, reboot these “apps”, and download new “software” from other functioning and thriving nations.
I refuse to accept that Western civilization is like some hopeless old version of Microsoft DOS, doomed to freeze, then crash. I still cling to the hope that the United States is the Mac to Europe’s PC, and that if one part of the West can successfully update and reboot itself, it’s America.