This essay Decline of the American Empire has a total of 4728 words and 21 pages.
Decline of the American Empire
In any era there are different protagonists, playing the same game on a similar board. Like a game of monopoly, there are nations competing to become the foremost leaders of their time. They amass great wealth, powerful armies, and political sway. When the influence and might of these countries transcends the confines of their boundaries, so that they become a presence throughout the world, they become empires. At times, it seems as though one of these empires wins the game, becoming the undisputed superpower in the world. Today, there is one such nation that has outlived all of its rivals in the great game, it is the United States of America.
This vast empire of political power, economic and military supremacy, exerts its influence over much of the world. It has risen from the obscurity of the New World, to a level of ubiquity unprecedented in history. America is more than the sum of its territories, it the sun around which the other powers revolve. Regardless of geographic location or technological development, American culture, economics and politics are concerns for the entire globe. In this age of instant communication and information, what preoccupies America, to some extent preoccupies the world.
America has become eponymous with the 20th century, we live in the American Century in a state of Pax Americana (American Peace). By the might of its armies and wealth of its economy America has created an imperial peace, ensuring that threats to world peace are put in check. The Pax Americana has also been a justification to impose American will on almost every part of the world, from Vietnam to Haiti. In order to exert such power, the United States has created a massive military apparatus, and has undertaken numerous foreign obligations. But as the American Empire grew more powerful, it also became more complicated, and eventually over-extended in its obligations; and hence, more difficult to sustain. It suffers from the ailments that inflict empires when they age: a loss of direction, fiscal excess, cultural degradation and a bloated military.
When a dominant empire declines, another empire emerges to replace it. It is a cycle that has held true throughout history. Rome replaced Carthage, Ottoman Turkey replaced Byzantium, Britain replaced France, America replaced Britain. Like past empires, America can neither sustain its power indefinitely, nor can it exist statically under the weight of its current difficulties. While America is racked by unprecedented domestic disunity and a sense of economic decline a resurgent Europe and an aggressively modernizing China stand to eclipse the American Empire. The close of the American Century may well be the beginning of the final twilight of the American Empire.
The United States of America rose to its position of prominence in the 20th century by filling the vacuum left by the waning powers of Europe. The old empires of Europe had grown too vast; the British Empire alone covered one fifth of the globe. Their economies lost the vigor of youthful growth, while the cost of maintaining their armies grew immense. The great powers of Europe finally self-destructed within the span of two world wars. Following the Second World War, the colonial empires disintegrated with the rise of independence movements. Consequently, Europe lost its easy access to foreign markets and sources of raw materials, leaving it further weakened, creating the opportunity for the emergence of a new economic and military power.
Due to geographic chance, and thanks to the opportunity created by the implosion of Europe, only the United States emerged stronger after the war. It had not endured fighting on its soil and its industries and infrastructure were undamaged. America, rejuvenated and inspired by its heroic feats, took up the duty of nursing Europe back to health. While Europe was convalescing, the United States was substituting for Europe throughout the post-war world. Thus, the Eurocentric world gave way to the American hegemony.
The United States inherited the bi-polar world that emerged after the Second World War. Countries aligned themselves either to United States or to the Soviet Union in a tense Cold War. America actually benefitted from the Cold War, as it was the undisputed leader of the alliance of Western countries. The Cold War era was an extension of the war period, with
Topics Related to Decline of the American Empire
International relations, Global politics, Politics, Military terminology, Superpowers, Political terminology, Great power, American Century, American imperialism, Sphere of influence, Cold War, JapanUnited States relations
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