Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
Translation: To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace. -- From: De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, Publius Tacitus, Roman lawyer, senator, orator, one of antiquity's great historians.
...[W]e're all hegemons now. -- From : "Doctrine of [the] Big Enchilada", Max Boot, Council of Foreign Relations, October 15, 2002.
The Empire Peculiar
Although most people of a more liberal bent might disdain his purported social-Darwinism views, one suspects many - along with even a few folk of a more conservative predisposition - would agree with the American sociologist and classical liberal William Graham Sumner's following observation in respect of imperialism, to which he was implacably opposed:
"The thirst for glory is an epidemic which robs people of their judgment, seduces their vanity, cheats them of their interests, and corrupts their consciences."
With Sumner's unambiguous assessment of empire in mind, by history's chronological benchmarks alone, and scarcely before it even got into top gear, the demise of American Empire is imminent -- the imperial equivalent of the dead man walking.
By any objective measure America's position in the current geopolitical firmament, and the pathways it has traversed to get there, along with the rationale used to justify the 'journey' taken, can rightly be described as an insatiable "thirst for glory". Like all previous empires, America was and is a nation founded on, sustained, and even 'nurtured' by, conflict, savagery, war, corruption, disenfranchisement, expropriation, profit, exploitation of, and dominion over, others. Which is to say, the 'robbing', 'seducing', 'cheating' and 'corrupting' bit. And that's not just on, from, and of its indigenous peoples, its imported black slaves, or its own 'poor, tired and hungry' masses.
There can only be one outcome for a nation so exceptional and so manifestly destined -- the inevitability of which even those with all but a passing knowledge of history will struggle to refute. That a nation so considered greater than the sum of its parts and supposedly more resilient and durable than any of history's earlier examples has turned out to be much less than that "sum", is something to behold! That it might be much less enduring than the elusive, chimerical construct known as the "American Dream" has long suggested, will be for those who believed in this most cherished of the nation's myths -- a heavy cross to bear once that realisation reaches critical mass.
Which is to say that all signs point to the American Dream having gone the way of the American Republic.
Abraham Lincoln -- arguably America's most lionized president -- in one sense may have been right after all, yet in another, dead wrong. In 1865, Senator Charles Sumner had the following to say about the Gettysburg Address -- Lincoln's (and many would say, America's) most enduring and endearing oration. In his eulogy to the fallen president, after calling the speech a "monumental act", [Sumner] said Lincoln was mistaken that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Rather, the Senator remarked,
"The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech."