I am somewhat astonished by the parallels between Ancient Rome and the United States. Both started as Republics and both were the military power of their day. Rome became an Empire spanning a large portion of the then known world, mainly Europe and the Mediterranean. Rome as we know fell to both internal corruption and external threats. In its’ heyday few could stand against the might of Rome, that is with the exception of the Parthians, (Persians), the eastern Germanic tribes and the Picts of what became Scotland. In the case of the Picts, Rome built a wall across Britain to keep them out and as to the Germanic tribes, they hired them as mercenaries to help defend the Empire. Which in the end proved to be a rather large mistake. I digress as this is not a posting about the History of Rome rather it is my attempt at comparison.
Rome went from a Monarchy to a Republic,and finally to an Empire. The United States went from a Monarchy to a Republic and as some would say is on the road to Empire. This latter stage has a germ of truth in it. Its’ imperial desires are fueled by its’ insatiable hunger for oil. It’s involvement in the first Gulf war and the Iraqi War were all about oil although they tried to convince the world it was about democracy. Romes’ conquests were for spoils and taxes and they too disguised it as Pax Roma and the bringing of civilization. There is an adage that states “an empire must expand in order to survive” and when Rome stopped expanding it died. The U.S. is still in its’ early stages of expansion. Admittedly it has hit a bump in the road at this point with its’ economy in trouble but them Rome also had its’ early setbacks. Romes solution was war which led to conquest which led to more riches for the empire. Is it possible that America will follow that pattern? Some say yes and point to the expansion of China as an irritant and of course China likes to rattle its’ sabres now and then as shown with the arguments over the South China Sea. There is another bone of contention simmering in the discovery of large oil reserves under the Arctic Ocean and with the ice receding each year access to it is becoming easier.
Militarily and technologically the U. S. is the most powerful nation on the planet. The same was said about Rome in its’ prime. In the beginning Rome fought only defensive wars but soon realized that the best defense is a strong offense (“If you would have Peace,prepare for war”) and its defense soon became conquest. It will be interesting in the next decade to see what path the U.S. will take. My money is on Empire.