When Empires Fade
Simon Black tells of an invasion of Ukraine that signaled the end of an empire 700 years ago
I have been writing for years about the end of the American empire.
Sunday after Mass, a friend told me my dark posts are disturbing, but hold up well over time. I appreciated her observation, but I was surprised she said they were “dark.” To me, the end of the empire is neither dark nor light but merely obvious.
I remember, at one point, attaching strong emotional weight to the idea of America’s waning power and influence. Negative emotional weight. But over time the ebbing of my country’s primacy in the world became so obvious that emotions seemed pointless. Now, it’s simply an observation.
Simon Black sees what I see. His article of February 28 is worth a read. It’s the story of a bold incursion into Ukraine in 1326, a slap in the face to the Mongolian Empire.
That empire—the superpower of its time—had become mired by internal divisions and factions, intolerance, inflation, and plague. Like America today, the Mongols were tired of leading.
These short paragraphs of Black’s sound like paragraphs I’ve written in the past four years. Here they are:
I take no pleasure in this conclusion; Putin is acting like a deranged lunatic, and it’s sad that the risk of provoking America is no longer a suitable deterrent.
But facts are facts, and it’s important to remain objective.
Future historians will undoubtedly opine about the end of America’s dominance, and precisely when it happened; they may point to the Afghanistan retreat, or the COVID-19 pandemic in which Faucist bureaucrats took over the nation.
Perhaps they’ll point to the day that the US national debt hit $30 trillion. Or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Or they may point to some other event that hasn’t taken place yet.
But it should be obvious that the decline is happening. And that’s reason enough to have a Plan B.
Like Black, I take no pleasure in reporting the obvious. But it’s time for Plan B for all of us.
And, on this Ash Wednesday, let us remember that nations are man’s creation, therefore no greater than man.
And we are dust, and into to dust we shall return.