All Empires Die

“HISTORY TEACHES THREE pretty clear messages. One is that all empires die. Second, empires take a long time to die. Finally, the citizens of the empire rarely recognize the warning signs for what they are.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Life Span of Empires from Sir John Glubb

Fate of Empires, Sir John Glubb
Had Sir John Glubb (PDF) lived, he would have added the USSR to his list. The USSR was a destructive and dysfunctional empire that did not even last a century. If not for massive US aid during and after WWII, the USSR would not have survived that war to become a transient industrial and military powerhouse.

Today, Russia is full of pride, but low on achievement. Its very real resources and potential are slipping through its fingers at an accelerating pace, day after day. By refusing to let go of the mythical past, Russia is squandering its chances for a decent future. More

Like an aging starlet, Russia is grasping to hold onto its former allure and power to dominate. But like plastic-surgery-gone-wrong, Russia’s attempts to regain her former standing only makes her more pathetic.

… a dog carrying a bone encounters its own reflection in a body of water. Thinking its reflection to be another dog, it attempts to seize the reflection’s bone. But when the dog opens its mouth to do so, its own bone drops into the water and sinks away.

Instead of two bones, the dog is left missing the one it once held. The tale is a lesson of greed and envy – and the inability to appreciate what one already possesses. It is a tale Russia should take to heart… __A Dog and Its Bone

Modern Russia can hardly be called an empire, or even a “superpower.” Almost overnight it lost its place in the world’s top ten economies, and is rapidly losing its ability to control the vast expanses of its Siberian territories. What will become of Russia without Siberia?

Russia Just Don’t Get No Respect
[caption id="attachment_3802" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Just Don't Get No Respect! Just Don’t Get No Respect!

Russia constantly portrays itself as a downtrodden nation: no one takes its priorities into account; the Americans don’t want to recognize its global significance; it’s been reduced to regional-power status and yet its “legitimate” rights to its former colonies and satellites are still not recognized.

Russia constantly asserts that it is the victim of aggression. Meanwhile, the former republics that gained their independence seem to feel much better about their situation. The Ukrainian victims of Russian aggression, for example, are experiencing a renewed sense of dignity, while the aggressor (Russia) bemoans its humiliation. In today’s political context, this victim discourse takes on particular significance. __ Mikhail Iampolski

Everyone around Russia suffers from her temper tantrums, but we constantly hear that “Russia just don’t get no respect!”

Letting Go of the Mythical Past And Living With What Is

Russia is running out of hard currency for bailing out its banks and industries. Even insiders with close links to Putin are being forced to scale back.

There are as many policies for dealing with a feisty — but diminished — Russia as there are political analysts.

Russia cannot go back to its fantasies of former greatness. But Russia could provide a decent living for its people if it learned to live with its neighbors and trading partners in a peaceful manner, without bloody destructive invasions and conquests.

Western Sanctions Are Not Working

Western sanctions are not working, but then, they do not have to. Russia herself is doing everything necessary to diminish her own power, status, and international goodwill.

Russia’s unilateral redrawing of Ukraine’s borders has refocused minds in Germany. Putin’s annexation of Crimea, his lies that Russian troops were not involved, and his covert war in eastern Ukraine have eroded trust in the Kremlin. Germany’s political elite — unlike the isolationist, latently anti-American population at large —has no illusions that Putin’s actions are posing the greatest danger to European security since the Cold War. __ Germany Rethinks Russian Actions

Of course, “Germany” is not a person. German views on Russia are multiple and varied, depending upon one’s upbringing, history, and what side his bread is buttered. But there is nothing like a bloody criminal feud near one’s borders to cause one to begin re-thinking one’s delusions about someone who turns out to be violent and unscrupulous after all.

Russian rulership has always been barbaric and generally uncultured. One could easily blame such tendencies on the Mongol Khans that once ruled there, or the soul-killing empire of the Soviets. Regardless of the multiple origins of Russian barbarity, thanks to Putin and his KGB criminal mobocracy, it looks as if that is how the nation will slowly die.

An important note for Russia observers: Do not trust the vital statistics coming out of Putin’s Kremlin. When long-running population trends mysteriously “stop on a dime” and reverse course, be very sceptical.

Russia Parceled

A Slowly Developing Awareness of Loss of Empire

The Backfiring of Putin’s Great Ukrainian Adventure

Russian navy is a joke

We are dealing with a delayed reaction to the collapse of empire.

… Russia constantly asserts that it is the victim of aggression. Meanwhile, the former republics that gained their independence seem to feel much better about their situation. The Ukrainian victims of Russian aggression, for example, are experiencing a renewed sense of dignity, while the aggressor (Russia) bemoans its humiliation. In today’s political context, this victim discourse takes on particular significance. __ Whining, Aggressive, Brittle Russia, post-Empire

Russia is falling apart

The Soviet Union was never the superpower it was cracked up to be

Now, Russia can never “catch up”

Nextbigfuture: Russia’s outlook is dim

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6 Responses to All Empires Die

  1. Abelard Lindsey says:

    The U.S. empire (and we really are an empire) is also showing signs of decay. However, I think we do have a good 4-5 decades left in us, if not more. The fracking revolution, later to be followed by nuclear energy (Thorium fission, LENR, plasma fusion) coupled with the automation manufacturing revolution (enhanced with 3-D printing and later nantechnology) will give the U.S. empire another 50 years or so of life. Nevertheless, all empires end sooner or later. If we consider 1890 or so to be the start of the U.S. empire, it ought to last into the 2nd half of this century. Historical precedent suggests it cannot last beyond 2140 (250 years max) with 2190 being the likely end of the U.S empire (200 years is historical average for empire lifetime).

    • alfin2101 says:

      The US is either an empire or a “bimbledook,” depending upon how either is defined. 😉

      Semantics is a killer! By some definitions of empire, the US became one the instant it began taking over the native lands of indigenous tribes. Rather than argue over definitions, I prefer to settle on one and work from there.

      As you say, the US is showing signs of decay. But since the main competitor to global hegemony is a criminal jumble of warlord fiefdoms loosely held together by a fantasy ideology (the CCP), the US is not likely to be displaced in that regard. China would like to shove Russia into an all-out war with NATO, and kill two birds with one stone, but it is not clear that Russians and Russophiles are truly stupid enough to go along with that.

      It is not necessary for the US to be “replaced,” however. The global hegemon can crumble on its own, leaving decades or centuries of global quasi-anarchy behind. Such a thing might happen in the face of a 4-way large scale nuclear exchange (NATO, US, Russia, China, — with a bit of Israel/Iran/N. Korea/Pakistan/India and motley others thrown in).

      The Earth is far more anti-fragile in the face of nuclear war than is commonly thought, but it is likely that most of the foundations for global civilisation would be taken out in that scenario.

      Humans would need to learn to improvise in order to survive and rebuild.

  2. Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:

    I take issue with the Roman Empire ending in 180 AD. The empire didn’t end with the death of Aurelius. There was an empire after him and Commodus. Severus almost ruled as long as Aurelius and also died of natural causes. The Crisis of the 3rd Century didn’t start on until 235 AD. Rome was pretty intact until then and bounced back after some more capable emperors took the throne. If you want to get real technical, Romans (Byzantine is a modern description.. they called themselves Roman) didn’t completely disappear until 1453 AD

    • alfin2101 says:

      There is plenty of room for disagreement as to “semantics.” Glubb’s 250 year rule was not hard and fast, but rather a general guideline heuristic.

      My personal inclination is to regard the western and eastern empires as separate after a certain point, say around the 4th century.

      Alexander, Napoleon, and Hitler never came close to Glubb’s “limit.” Putin may want to contemplate the downfall of the latter two before he takes his war against Europe much farther.

  3. Dan says:

    Russia is doing tolerably economically, as this satellite map from space shows. Russia looks decidedly like the developed world and not like the backwater areas. Russia does not light up as much as western Europe but that is to be expected, having maybe 1/4 of the population of the other parts of Europe.

    Russia is far below the level of the West, but that is not a proper comparison. The proper comparison is earlier versions of itself. Communism and its aftermath left it with hardly a stone upon another. In relation to the 1990s, Russia has come a very long way. Good for them.

    The vast majority of Crimeans were apparently absolutely delighted that they were annexed. Hardly the horrors of war. And this is not Putin-controlled press, either:

    The above shocking only if you don’t know the history of Crimea which is that it always been intensely patriotic toward Russia.

    As for Russia’s ‘demographic nightmare’, what European country is not in a similar demographic boat?

    Somehow we need to all hate Russia really loudly now? I have never been one for groupthink. Indeed if John McCain is against Russia that is a great reason to be for Russia. McCain has a track record of being wrong exactly 100% of the time. Motto, if it ain’t broke, break it. Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya. It is rare for someone to have such a perfect track record, and I know not bet against a sure thing.

    • alfin2101 says:

      People who write such comments should perhaps move to Russia, talk to the people, and travel the back roads for a few months or years. In Russia, almost all roads are back roads, but that is another story. A bit of first hand contact with one’s object of adoration can sometimes bring one down to Earth.

      Mark Adomanis finally took my advice and he has been tempering his formerly “glowing reports” of Russia significantly. Living in Russia for the honest and outspoken means risking the fate of previous Putin critics, rest their souls.

      Talk with some of the many Crimeans who are not so delighted with the second illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia (the first was by Catherine).

      You may want to read some of Bruce Charlton’s writings on the topic of beliefs and delusions., but I recommend studying the subject at first hand.

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