America’s Decline as a Great Empire

“I think future historians will put the beginning of America’s decline as a great empire in the year 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq,” said a French historian at dinner last night.

The summer is an idyllic time in the French countryside. Parisian intellectuals return to their ancestral estates and invite you to dinner. We dined al fresco, under the stars, next to a large lake.

“Hear the frogs croaking?” asked our hostess. “The noise is much louder in June. These are love songs…quite a racket. But now what we’re hearing is just the old frogs remembering what a good time they had a few weeks ago. These are the nostalgic frogs…”

“I would put the beginning of the decline a bit earlier,” we had protested, “to the crash of the speculative bubble on Wall Street. That was really when the markdown of U.S. assets began. Of course, you could put it almost at any time. It’s not a precise moment…but a whole series of things…and we don’t really know what it means, not yet. This might not be the top of U.S. power at all. There could be hyperinflation to wipe out the debts…a revolution or coup d’etat to get rid of the bureaucracy…who knows?”

Nobody knows. But our guess is that the great empire is on a downward slide. So much the better, in our opinion. We liked it better as a humble republic. Empires can be great. But they are rarely good.

“No…when you talk about empire,” she continued, “you are talking politics, not economics. Political power, not purchasing power. And it was with the invasion of Iraq that the United States lost its political position in the world. When the Twin Towers came down, America was still at its peak of power and prestige. The rest of the world was sympathetic and eager to get behind America’s campaign to rid the world of terrorists. But then, with this military adventure in Iraq, America’s political capital began to drain away. People lost their faith in American power and American judgment.”

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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I am confident the extraterrestrials will intervene just in time. I’ve bought shares in rectal probes.


More to the point, America realised there was a limit to its’ military capability. Being the most wealthy and militarily resourced nation on Earth did not mean it was right and that it could dictate the shape of things. Its’ influence has wained because it has lost confidence in itself and its’ ability to influence.
As for economic confidence. Well this has been shattered because too few are earning too much from too many for providing no or little added value. As a U.S senator commented last week. Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.

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The American Empire is already in decline. Hordes of poor, unemployed Americans are dining on handouts under the stars by the world’s fourth largest lake in what is now the Rust Belt.

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