Monday, June 12, 2006

It's AD 476 all over again

The top strategist for the British military recently made a splash by saying that we are facing a situation eerily similar to the one facing the Western Roman Empire at its end. The article can be found here. His speech touches on several of my beliefs about world affairs. Firstly, rather than compare the U.S. alone to the Roman Empire (a mistaken analogy in my view), it is better to compare Western Civilization as a whole to the Roman Empire. In this case the old half of the West, Europe, would be the Western Roman Empire, and the newer more powerful half of the West, America (plus Canada and Australia if you like), would be the Eastern Roman Empire. The speech also involves another one of my beliefs that much of the world is collapsing and we need to do what we can to limit its effect on us and on whomever else wants to help us fight it. The post before this one discusses my view of the international system as a whole, and the two before that are parts 1 & 2 of a series on the alliances needed to combat the future challenges we will face.

I would highly recommend reading the entire article yourself but I’ll mention a few of his points. Firstly, he compares Europe today, though not the U.S., to the Western Roman Empire near its downfall,

"future migrations would be comparable to the Goths and Vandals while north African "barbary" pirates could be attacking yachts and beaches in the Mediterranean within 10 years. Europe, including Britain, could be undermined by large immigrant groups with little allegiance to their host countries — a "reverse colonisation" as Parry described it. These groups would stay connected to their homelands by the internet and cheap flights. The idea of assimilation was becoming redundant, he said."

This is one reason why we shouldn’t expect anything more from Europe in our alliances (I write about another reason here). He goes on to say that the world power structure is rapidly shifting and will be a challenge to the U.S. (he doesn’t mention Europe, though I’m guessing it is because like me he thinks Europe will be fighting just for survival). The article says,

“He pinpoints 2012 to 2018 as the time when the current global power structure is likely to crumble. Rising nations such as China, India, Brazil and Iran will challenge America’s sole superpower status.”

Aside from including Iran in the list of countries capable of challenging the United States, this is exactly my point about the new global order. We need to do everything to keep Japan as a full ally, keep India at the least neutral if not allied, and do everything possible to keep Brazil from succumbing to anti-American socialist virus spreading throughout Latin America. Lastly, I would point to his belief that far from abating, wars will possibly explode in the near future,

“The competition for resources, Parry argues, may lead to a return to "industrial warfare" as countries with large and growing male populations mobilise armies, even including cavalry, while acquiring high-technology weaponry from the West.“

I expect this also and write here about the need to resist the temptation to declare an end to history and go to sleep. Since Europe will be lucky just to hold its own against its rising immigrant communities, we are the ones who must prepare to carry the burden of civilization during this time. At the very least, like the Byzantines, we need to be ready to simply keep the flame of civilization burning. It may well be all we can do.

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