Current events and the fall of the Roman Empire

This author is talking about the gluttony of the the USA government and the corresponding decline of the country's influence in the world:

I cannot put my finger on it exactly, but there is something very "Decline and Fall of Rome"-ish about the trend of current events. In Rome, too, as things began to go downhill from its days of heroism and glory, the lawsuits multiplied (with results just as random and unpredictable as they are today), the troops were brought home to be safe as the barbarians made things rough on the frontiers, productive businesses were taxed and taxed to pay for the emperors' extravagances until people were put out of work, farms went fallow and food had to be brought in increasingly from greater and greater distances, and the citizens of Rome partied on as though there were no tomorrow.

No one at the top could bring themselves to describe the bad news as it was happening; instead, a few messengers who brought ill tidings were put to death. And so, guess what? Nobody brought any news to Rome about the barbarians advancing toward the gates, until it was too late.

From HERE.

What do you all think? Is the decline of the USA (and the West in general) like or unlike the decline of the Roman Empire? Specifically, how are the two different?


Drew said…
I think this is very much the case, and in this instance the similarity is between the U.S. and the Roman Empire as the author states, and not the Republic as is sometimes thought. I actually wrote a 25-page long paper in college on this very issue.
Abu Daoud said…
What year were you writing, if I may ask.
Drew said…
Summer of 2004.
Abu Daoud said…
How much hve things changed since then, if any?
Drew said…
It's hard to tell, but for the most part, I would say very little. As with the Roman Empire, so with us, it's a complex set of issues, and knowing how they all interact is very difficult. I know that maintaining enormous military establishments and fighting unprovoked wars all over the world is not a good sign. There's also a very real chance that we could become "balkanized" within the next few decades. The government is spending itself into oblivion, to the extent that some economic experts believe the U.S. gov't will not be able to pay back the interest (let alone the principal) on its own debt as early as 2019. When that happens, our currently will be controlled by the IMF or the World Bank just like any other Third World country, and that's not good news for the dollar as the reserve currency. So, all in all, it's not a very good time for America. And just like Rome, our leaders in both parties would prefer burying their heads in the said than dealing with the problem head-on. That's my take, anyway.
Jeff said…
Thomas Madden, the wonderful historian of the Crusades, was bugged by the fact that he kept hearing this comparison made and wrote a book about of the best books I've ever read in fact:

Empires of Trust: How Rome Built -- And America Is Building -- A New World, 2008, Dutton/Penguin

America is VERY similar to Rome in many fascinating ways, he concludes. But we are not on a similar path of decline.

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