Author Topic: Decay of the US Empire  (Read 243 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Sceptic

  • Guest
Decay of the US Empire
« on: January 02, 2011, 04:22:12 PM »
Networks Of Empire And
Realignments Of World Power

By James Petras
1-2-11

Imperial states build networks which link economic, military and political activities into a coherent mutually reinforcing system. This task is largely performed by the various institutions of the imperial state. Thus imperial action is not always directly economic, as military action in one country or region is necessary to open or protect economic zones. Nor are all military actions decided by economic interests if the leading sector of the imperial state is decidedly militarist.
 
Moreover, the sequence of imperial action may vary according to the particular conditions necessary for empire building. Thus state aid may buy collaborators; military intervention may secure client regimes followed later by private investors. In other circumstances, the entry of private corporations may precede state intervention.
 
In either private or state economic and/or military led penetration, in furtherance of empire-building, the strategic purpose is to exploit the special economic and geopolitical features of the targeted country to create empire-centered networks. In the post Euro-centric colonial world, the privileged position of the US in its empire-centered policies, treaties, trade and military agreements is disguised and justified by an ideological gloss, which varies with time and circumstances. In the war to break-up Yugoslavia and establish client regimes, as in Kosovo, imperial ideology utilized humanitarian rhetoric. In the genocidal wars in the Middle East, anti-terrorism and anti-Islamic ideology is central. Against China, democratic and human rights rhetoric predominates. In Latin America, receding imperial power relies on democratic and anti-authoritarian rhetoric aimed at the democratically elected Chavez government.
 
The effectiveness of imperial ideology is in direct relation to the capacity of empire to promote viable and dynamic development alternatives to their targeted countries. By that criteria imperial ideology has had little persuasive power among target populations. The Islamic phobic and anti-terrorist rhetoric has made no impact on the people of the Middle East and alienated the Islamic world. Latin America's lucrative trade relations with the Chavist government and the decline of the US economy has undermined Washington's ideological campaign to isolate Venezuela.The US human rights campaign against China has been totally ignored throughout the EU, Africa, Latin America, Oceana and by the 500 biggest US MNC (and even by the US Treasury busy selling treasury bonds to China to finance the ballooning US budget deficit).
 
The weakening influence of imperial propaganda and the declining economic leverage of Washington, means that the US imperial networks built over the past half century are being eroded or at least subject to centrifugal forces. Former fully integrated networks in Asia are now merely military bases as the economies secure greater autonomy and orient toward China and beyond. In other words the imperial networks are now being transformed into limited operations' outposts, rather than centers for imperial economic plunder.
 
Imperial Networks: The Central Role of Collaborators
 
Empire-building is essentially a process of penetrating a country or region, establishing a privileged position and retaining control in order to secure (1) lucrative resources, markets and cheap labor (2) establish a military platform to expand into adjoining countries and regions (3) military bases to establish a chock-hold over strategic road or waterways to deny or limit access of competitors or adversaries (4) intelligence and clandestine operations against adversaries and competitors.
 
History has demonstrated that the lowest cost in sustaining long term, long scale imperial domination is by developing local collaborators, whether in the form of political, economic and/or military leaders operating from client regimes. Overt politico-military imperial rule results in costly wars and disruption, especially among a broad array of classes adversely affected by the imperial presence.
 
Formation of collaborator rulers and classes results from diverse short and long term imperial policies ranging from direct military, electoral and extra-parliamentary activities to middle to long term recruitment, training and orientation of promising young leaders via propaganda and educational programs, cultural-financial inducements, promises of political and economic backing on assuming political office and through substantial clandestine financial backing.
 
The most basic appeal by imperial policy-makers to the "new ruling class" in emerging client state is the opportunity to participate in an economic system tied to the imperial centers, in which local elites share economic wealth with their imperial benefactors. To secure mass support, the collaborator classes obfuscate the new forms of imperial subservience and economic exploitation by emphasizing political independence, personal freedom, economic opportunity and private consumerism.
 
The mechanisms for the transfer of power to an emerging client state combine imperial propaganda, financing of mass organizations and electoral parties, as well as violent coups or 'popular uprisings'. Authoritarian bureaucratically ossified regimes relying on police controls to limit or oppose imperial expansion are "soft targets". Selective human rights campaigns become the most effective organizational weapon to recruit activists and promote leaders for the imperial-centered new political order. Once the power transfer takes place, the former members of the political, economic and cultural elite are banned, repressed, arrested and jailed.
 
A new homogenous political culture of competing parties embracing the imperial centered world order emerges. The first order of business beyond the political purge is the privatization and handover of the commanding heights of the economy to imperial enterprises. The client regimes proceed to provide soldiers to engage as paid mercenaries in imperial wars and to transfer military bases to imperial forces as platforms of intervention. The entire "independence charade" is accompanied by the massive dismantling of public social welfare programs (pensions, free health and education), labor codes and full employment policies. Promotion of a highly polarized class structure is the ultimate consequence of client rule. The imperial-centered economies of the client regimes, as a replica of any commonplace satrap state, is justified (or legitimated) in the name of an electoral system dubbed democratic ­ in fact a political system dominated by new capitalist elites and their heavily funded mass media.
 
Imperial centered regimes run by collaborating elites spanning the Baltic States, Central and Eastern Europe to the Balkans is the most striking example of imperial expansion in the 20th century. The break-up and take-over of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc and its incorporation into the US led NATO alliance and the European Union resulted in imperial hubris. Washington made premature declarations of a unipolar world while Western Europe proceeded to plunder public resources, ranging from factories to real estate, exploiting cheap labor, overseas and via immigration, drawing on a formidable 'reserve army' to undermine living standards of unionized labor in the West.
 
The unity of purpose of European and US imperial regimes allowed for the peaceful joint takeover of the wealth of the new regions by private monopolies. The imperial states initially subsidized the new client regimes with large scale transfers and loans on condition that they allowed imperial firms to seize resources, real estate, land, factories, service sectors, media outlets etc. Heavily indebted states went from a sharp crises in the initial period to 'spectacular' growth to profound and chronic social crises with double digit unemployment in the 20 year period of client building. While worker protests emerged as wages deteriorated, unemployment soared and welfare provisions were cut, destitution spread. However the 'new middle class' embedded in the political and media apparatuses and in joint economic ventures are sufficiently funded by imperial financial institutions to protect their dominance.
 
The dynamic of imperial expansion in East, Central and Southern Europe however did not provide the impetus for strategic advance, because of the ascendancy of highly volatile financial capital and a powerful militarist caste in the Euro-American political centers. In important respects military and political expansion was no longer harnessed to economic conquest. The reverse was true: economic plunder and political dominance served as instruments for projecting military power.
 
Imperial Sequences: From War for Exploitation to Exploitation for War
 
The relations between imperial military policies and economic interests are complex and changing over time and historical context. In some circumstances, an imperial regime will invest heavily in military personnel and augment monetary expenditures to overthrow an anti-imperialist ruler and establish a client regime far beyond any state or private economic return. For example, US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, proxy wars in Somalia and Yemen have not resulted in greater profits for US multinational corporations' nor has it enhanced private exploitation of raw materials, labor or markets. At best, imperial wars have provided profits for mercenary contractors, construction companies and related 'war industries' profiting through transfers from the US treasury and the exploitation of US taxpayers, mostly wage and salary earners.
 
In many cases, especially after the Second World War, the emerging US imperial state lavished a multi-billion dollar loan and aid program for Western Europe. The Marshall Plan forestalled anti-capitalist social upheavals and restored capitalist political dominance. This allowed for the emergence of NATO (a military alliance led and dominated by the US). Subsequently, US multi-national corporations invested in and traded with Western Europe reaping lucrative profits, once the imperial state created favorable political and economic conditions. In other words imperial state politico-military intervention preceded the rise and expansion of US multi-national capital. A myopic short term analysis of the initial post-war activity would downplay the importance of private US economic interests as the driving force of US policy. Extending the time period to the following two decades, the interplay between initial high cost state military and economic expenditures with later private high return gains provides a perfect example of how the process of imperial power operates.
 
The role of the imperial state as an instrument for opening, protecting and expanding private market, labor and resource exploitation corresponds to a time in which both the state and the dominant classes were primarily motivated by industrial empire building.
 
US directed military intervention and coups in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973), the Dominican Republic (1965) were linked to specific imperial economic interests and corporations. For example, US and English oil corporations sought to reverse the nationalization of oil in Iran. The US, United Fruit Company opposed the agrarian reform policies in Guatemala. The major US copper and telecommunication companies supported and called for the US backed coup in Chile.
 
In contrast, current US military interventions and wars in the Middle East, South Asia and the Horn of Africa are not promoted by US multi-nationals. The imperial policies are promoted by militarists and Zionists embedded in the state, mass media and powerful 'civil' organizations. The same imperial methods (coups and wars) serve different imperial rulers and interests.
 
Clients, Allies and Puppet Regimes
 
Imperial networks involve securing a variety of complementary economic, military and political 'resource bases' which are both part of the imperial system and retain varying degrees of political and economic autonomy.
 
In the dynamic earlier stages of US Empire building, from roughly the 1950's ­ 1970's, US multi-national corporations and the economy as a whole dominated the world economy. Its allies in Europe and Asia were highly dependent on US markets, financing and development. US military hegemony was reflected in a series of regional military pacts which secured almost instant support for US regional wars, military coups and the construction of military bases and naval ports on their territory. Countries were divided into 'specializations' which served the particular interests of the US Empire. Western Europe was a military outpost, industrial partner and ideological collaborator. Asia, primarily Japan and South Korea served as 'frontline military outposts', as well as industrial partners. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines were essentially client regimes which provided raw materials as well as military bases. Singapore and Hong Kong were financial and commercial entrepots. Pakistan was a client military regime serving as a frontline pressure on China.
 
Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Gulf mini-states, ruled by client authoritarian regimes, provided oil and military bases. Egypt and Jordan and Israel anchored imperial interests in the Middle East. Beirut served as the financial center for US, European and Middle East bankers.
 
Africa and Latin America including client and nationalist-populist regimes were a source of raw materials as well as markets for finished goods and cheap labor.
 
The prolonged US-Vietnam war and Washington's subsequent defeat eroded the power of the empire. Western Europe, Japan and South Korea's industrial expansion challenged US industrial primacy. Latin America's pursuit of nationalist, import ­ substitution policies forced US investment toward overseas manufacturing. In the Middle East nationalist movements toppled US clients in Iran and Iraq and undermined military outposts. Revolutions in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Algeria, Nicaragua and elsewhere curtailed Euro-American 'open ended' access to raw materials, at least temporarily.
 
The decline of the US Empire was temporarily arrested by the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the establishment of client regimes throughout the region. Likewise the upsurge of imperial-centered client regimes in Latin America between the mid 1970's to the end of the 1990's gave the appearance of an imperialist recovery. The 1990's however was not the beginning of a repeat of the early 1950's imperial take off: it was the "last hurrah" before a long term irreversible decline. The entire imperial political apparatus, so successful in its clandestine operations in subverting the Soviet and Eastern European regimes, played a marginal role when it came to capitalizing on the economic opportunities which ensued. Germany and other EU countries led the way in the takeover of lucrative privatized enterprises. Russian- Israeli oligarchs(seven of the top eight) seized and pillaged privatized strategic industries, banks and natural resources.
 
The principal US beneficiaries were the banks and Wall Street firms which laundered billions of illicit earnings and collected lucrative fees from mergers, acquisitions, stock listings and other less than transparent activities. In other words, the collapse of Soviet collectivism strengthened the parasitical financial sector of the US Empire. Worse still, the assumption of a 'unipolar world' fostered by US ideologues, played into the hands of the militarists, who now assumed that former constraints on US military assaults on nationalists and Soviet allies had disappeared. As a result military intervention became the principle driving force in US empire building, leading to the first Iraq war, the Yugoslav and Somali invasion and the expansion of US military bases throughout the former Soviet bloc and Eastern Europe.
 
At the very pinnacle of US global-political and military power during the 1990's, with all the major Latin American regimes enveloped in the empire-centered neo-liberal warp, the seeds of decay and decline set in.
 
The economic crises of the late 1990's, led to major uprisings and electoral defeats of practically all US clients in Latin America, spelling the decline of US imperial domination. China's extraordinary dynamic and cumulative growth displaced US manufacturing capital and weakened US leverage over rulers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The vast transfer of US state resources to overseas imperial adventures, military bases and the shoring up of clients and allies led to domestic decline.
 
The US empire, passively facing economic competitors displacing the US in vital markets and engaged in prolonged and unending wars which drained the treasury, attracted a cohort of mediocre policymakers who lacked a coherent strategy for rectifying policies and reconstructing the state to serve productive activity capable of 'retaking markets'. Instead the policies of open-ended and unsustainable wars played into the hands of a special sub-group (sui generis) of militarists, American Zionists. They capitalized on their infiltration of strategic positions in the state, enhanced their influence in the mass media and a vast network of organized "pressure groups" to reinforce US subordination to Israel's drive for Middle East supremacy.
 
The result was the total "unbalancing" of the US imperial apparatus: military action was unhinged from economic empire building. A highly influential upper caste of Zionist-militarists harnessed US military power to an economically marginal state (Israel), in perpetual hostility toward the 1.5 billion Muslim world. Equally damaging, American Zionist ideologues and policymakers promoted repressive institutions and legislation and Islamophobic ideological propaganda designed to terrorize the US population. Equally important islamophobic ideology served to justify permanent war in South Asia and the Middle East and the exorbitant military budgets, at a time of sharply deteriorating domestic socio-economic conditions. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent unproductively as "Homeland Security" which strived in every way to recruit, train, frame and arrest Afro-American Muslim men as "terrorists". Thousands of secret agencies with hundreds of thousands of national, state and local officials spied on US citizens who at some point may have sought to speak or act to rectify or reform the militarist-financial-Zionist centered imperialist policies.
 
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the US empire could only destroy adversaries (Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) provoke military tensions (Korean peninsula, China Sea) and undermine relations with potentially lucrative trading partners (Iran, Venezuela). Galloping authoritarianism fused with fifth column Zionist militarism to foment islamophobic ideology. The convergence of authoritarian mediocrities, upwardly mobile knaves and fifth column tribal loyalists in the Obama regime precluded any foreseeable reversal of imperial decay.
 
China's growing global economic network and dynamic advance in cutting edge applied technology in everything from alternative energy to high speed trains, stands in contrast to the Zionist-militarist infested empire of the US.
 
The US demands on client Pakistan rulers to empty their treasury in support of US Islamic wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, stands in contrast to the $30 billion dollar Chinese investments in infrastructure, energy and electrical power and multi-billion dollar increases in trade.
 
US $3 billion dollar military subsidies to Israel stand in contrast to China's multi-billion dollar investments in Iranian oil and trade agreements. US funding of wars against Islamic countries in Central and South Asia stands in contrast to Turkey's expanding economic trade and investment agreements in the same region. China has replaced the US as the key trading partner in leading South American countries, while the US unequal "free trade" agreement(NAFTA) impoverishes Mexico. Trade between the European Union and China exceeds that with the US.
 
In Africa, the US subsidizes wars in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, while China signs on to multi-billion dollar investment and trade agreements, building up African infrastructure in exchange for access to raw materials. There is no question that the economic future of Africa is increasingly linked to China.
 
The US Empire, in contrast, is in a deadly embrace with an insignificant colonial militarist state (Israel), failed states in Yemen and Somalia, corrupt stagnant client regimes in Jordan and Egypt and the decadent rent collecting absolutist petrol-states of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. All form part of an unproductive atavistic coalition bent on retaining power via military supremacy. Yet Empires of the 21st century are built on the bases of productive economies with global networks linked to dynamic trading partners.
 
Recognizing the economic primacy and market opportunities linked to becoming part of the Chinese global network, former or existing US clients and even puppet rulers have begun to edge away from submission to US mandates. Fundamental shifts in economic relations and political alignments have occurred throughout Latin America. Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries support Iran's non-military nuclear program in defiance of Zionist led Washington aggression. Several countries have defied Israel-US policymakers by recognizing Palestine as a state. Trade with China surpasses trade with the US in the biggest countries in the region.
 
Puppet regimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have signed major economic agreements with China, Iran and Turkey even while the US pours billions to bolster its military position. Turkey an erstwhile military client of the US-NATO command broadens its own quest for capitalist hegemony by expanding economic ties with Iran, Central Asia and the Arab-Muslim world, challenging US-Israeli military hegemony.
 
The US Empire still retains major clients and nearly a thousand military bases around the world. As client and puppet regimes decline, Washington increases the role and scope of extra-territorial death squad operations from 50 to 80 countries. The growing independence of regimes in the developing world is especially fueled by an economic calculus: China offers greater economic returns and less political-military interference than the US.
 
Washington's imperial network is increasingly based on military ties with allies: Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan in the Far East and Oceana; the European Union in the West; and a smattering of Central and South American states in the South. Even here, the military allies are no longer economic dependencies: Australia and New Zealand's principle export markets are in Asia (China). EU-China trade is growing exponentially. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are increasingly tied by trade and investment with China as is Pakistan and India.
 
Equally important new regional networks which exclude the US are growing in Latin America and Asia, creating the potential for new economic blocs.
 
In other words the US imperial economic network constructed after World War II and amplified by the collapse of the USSR is in the process of decay, even as the military bases and treaties remain as a formidable 'platform' for new military interventions.
 
What is clear is that the military, political and ideological gains in network-building by the US around the world with the collapse of the USSR and the post-Soviet wars are not sustainable. On the contrary the overdevelopment of the ideological-military-security apparatus raised economic expectations and depleted economic resources resulting in the incapacity to exploit economic opportunities or consolidate economic networks. US funded "popular uprisings" in the Ukraine led to client regimes incapable of promoting growth. In the case of Georgia, the regime engaged in an adventurous war with Russia resulting in trade and territorial losses. It is a matter of time before existing client regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Mexico will face major upheavals, due to the precarious bases of rule by corrupt, stagnant and repressive rulers.
 
The process of decay of the US Empire is both cause and consequence of the challenge by rising economic powers establishing alternative centers of growth and development. Changes within countries at the periphery of the empire and growing indebtedness and trade deficits at the 'center' of the empire are eroding the empire. The existing US governing class, in both its financial and militarist variants show neither will nor interest in confronting the causes of decay. Instead each mutually supports the other: the financial sector lowers taxes deepening the public debt and plunders the treasury. The military caste drains the treasury in pursuit of wars and military outposts and increases the trade deficit by undermining commercial and investment undertakings. 


Source: http://www.rense.com/general92/netwrk.htm

Offline Sue

  • Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 19731
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • Thumbs Up
    • View Profile
Re: Decay of the US Empire
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 01:14:30 PM »
Nothing lasts forever!!! Thanks for posting the article, Sceptic.

Seven Signs of a Falling Nation

By Bruce A. Ritter ~ September 10, 2007

Source

No government, kingdom or society lasts forever. Here are seven factors that contributed to ancient Rome’s demise—warning signs that exist today within the nations of the American and British peoples.

In an interview with the Financial Times, U.S. Comptroller General David Walker stated that the United States government “is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon…”

The article added, “Mr. Walker warned that there were ‘striking similarities’ between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including ‘declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by central government.’”

He added, “I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call.”

History reveals that all governments, empires and kingdoms of men, no matter how grand, no matter how powerful, ultimately fall. It happened to ancient Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. Even Rome was not exempt; though it dominated much of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of the Near East, and lasted for 500 years, the Roman Empire ultimately fell.

There is an old and popular saying: “Rome was not built in a day.” Likewise, the Roman Empire did not fall in one night; its decline was gradual. Not long after it rose to world dominance, several factors were already at work contributing to the empire’s ultimate demise.

Similarly, these factors are at work among the societies of the American and British peoples—and serve as warning signs of a civilization destined to fall.

The Family Unit

Few understand that the family unit is the basic building block of every thriving society. Within the family, young minds are first taught the importance of building character, controlling one’s emotions, setting worthwhile goals, striving for excellence—or at least this should be the case, as it was generations ago.

At the start of the Roman Empire, fathers took seriously their role in properly instructing, training and educating their sons, and mothers taught their daughters as well. The example of strong and active parents daily ingrained into children the importance of obedience, deference to civic authority and respect for the laws of the land.

But as new generations came of age, the family weakened and fractured. Husbands and wives gave in to the pulls of human nature to engage in widespread adultery, inevitably leading to increasing rates of broken marriages. Divorce for virtually any reason became legal; wives only had to say to their husbands three times in succession, “I divorce you!” to bring it to pass.

Also, parents came to spoil their children, who then grew up to become lazy adults who were irreverent, disobedient to authority and had little respect for the elderly or the “old paths” of social norms and values.

Likewise, the family unit in America, Britain, Australia, Canada and other sister nations of the West is under constant assault. Broken marriages and fractured households are now the norm.

Few fathers exercise a strong hand in teaching, guiding and correcting their young, often leaving mothers to fill both parental roles.

Children are growing up pampered and catered to, never learning to accept and recover from setbacks—never being taught to “rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man” (Lev. 19:32), which is connected to fearing God—never instructed to think of others before themselves.

They live in a fantasy world in which they “must” have cellphones; they “need” their privacy; they “have rights.”

As with ancient Rome, the British and American peoples (like their forefathers, the ancient Israelites) ignore God’s counsel: “Stand you in the old ways, and see, and ask for the old paths” (Jer. 6:16).

The birthright nations of today respond the same way as did their forefathers, ancient Israel: “We will not walk therein” (same verse).

Modern parents believe they know better than their Creator, and thus ignore important biblical instruction such as, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15) and “Correct your son, and he shall give you rest; yes, he shall give delight unto your soul” (vs. 17).

The result? A generation of children who oppress and rule over their parents and show no respect for their elders (Isa. 3:4-5, 12).

Education

The Roman Empire began with an educational system that emphasized developing character, morality, patriotism and social values in young lives. The goal was to develop the whole person.

But this was eventually replaced by an emphasis almost exclusively on academics, with no moral or ethical absolutes defining right and wrong.

Similarly, character development, patriotism and civic duty are seldom taught in the public schools of the West, where God and the Bible are banished, and morally unchecked “creative expression” is encouraged.

Because the modern house of Israel rejects God’s Word, the foundation of all true knowledge, God declares, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). He describes them as blind men groping around in spiritual darkness (Isa. 59:9-10).

Religion

The Romans were pagan idol worshippers who took the gods of the Greeks and gave them Roman names. Accompanying the assortment of false gods was lascivious religious rituals and customs. Temple prostitution, drunkenness and other vices that appealed to the flesh were common across the empire. Similar to the Greeks, the Romans worshipped mythological figures who freely gave in to carnal desires—deceiving, stealing, getting drunk and committing fornication, adultery, even rape!

Today, millions of Americans, Britons and others claim to worship only one deity, the God of the Bible—yet their actions scream something quite different!

The word worship means to “regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.” Do the British and American peoples truly worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Or do their actions show they revere manmade “gods”?—celebrities who by word and example influence shallow minds to copy their irresponsible behavior. Politicians who are forgiven for reckless conduct as long they raise the banner of political correctness and “progressive” (read: permissive, radical) causes, and proudly proclaim that their personal, moral, religious or “spiritual” beliefs will never stand in the way of pleasing the masses.

Millions within America’s religious community are quick to proclaim their religious fervor. But among them are those leading hypocritical lives, speaking out against sexual immorality, yet secretly engaging in it. Among priests, preachers and other prominent religionists are child molesters, closeted homosexuals and serial adulterers.

Pagan worshippers of ancient Rome sought an endless plethora of gods—but their religious beliefs were shallow, lifeless and without true meaning. Followers were left without direction, seeking spiritual purpose but never finding it.

It is the same in modern times. The hypocrisy of religious leaders has jaded millions, and their message of a God without laws—who does not hold followers to a higher standard of conduct and thinking—a “prosperity gospel” without expectations from believers—is ultimately empty. The result is a spiritual wasteland of human ideas that may sound appealing, but are not of the Bible—and has nothing to do with the true gospel (literally “good news”) that Jesus Christ preached: the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15).

The religions of Rome, which encouraged and empowered the people to live a life of excess, contributed to the empire’s death. The religions of the West, especially in the U.S., are no better.

Pleasure-Seeking

The Romans were masters of extreme pleasure-seeking. They entertained themselves with gladiators (rock stars of the day) and gambled on who would live or die. They enjoyed the sight of Christians, Jews and other enemies of the state being eaten alive by wild animals shipped from exotic regions. Residents were proud of their lavish villas, imported cuisine and fine attire. They thrilled themselves with plays, bathhouses, indoor pools and drunken parties held in the honor of Bacchus, the false god of wine and sensual pleasures.

Similarly, the modern descendants of the “lost” tribes of Israel entertain themselves, with mindless “reality” television programs driven by deception and gratuitous sex. With superstar athletes who proudly show off their tattoos and pride themselves on their multi-million-dollar contracts—yet are void of prudence, judgment and character.

Advertising, news media and Hollywood promotes materialism and covetousness. A society that loves to emulate wanton lifestyles portrayed in movies and pursue sports, gambling, theater, music and other distractions over seeking true values is destined to collapse—as did Rome.

Economy, Government and the Military

Originally, agriculture and land ownership were Rome’s chief sources of wealth—and became the most heavily taxed. Over time, landowners who operated large farms on the backs of slaves eventually undersold smaller farmers, forcing them out of business. In addition, importing foods from both conquered lands and more easily accessible distant foreign ports also began to take its toll. Commercial trade in Rome created a massive consumer economy that focused on services rather than production and growth—just as in modern-day America and Britain.

As the Roman Empire expanded, so did the costs of operating it. Rapidly growing government bureaucracy became expensive to maintain. For instance, it took an army of officials to man and work the increasingly complicated “red tape” filing system, which faced demands from both government services and the military.

To compensate for inflation, Roman emperors in the second and third centuries produced more coins, but these were no longer made of silver and gold alloys, which had become scarce. Roman currency dwindled in value.

The citizenry strained under heavy tax burdens, as the government left no stone unturned in seeking potential revenue sources.

Today, Americans pay local, municipal, county, state and federal taxes before even receiving their paychecks, and contend with numerous consumer taxes: sales, gasoline, vehicles, property, licenses, pets, luxury items, airline flights—the list seems endless.

Taxes combined with inflation and a desire to maintain an unrealistic standard of living have driven a growing majority to live on credit and practice the materialistic principle of “live for today, forget about tomorrow.” Consumers survive paycheck to paycheck, partly due to wrong financial priorities and living beyond their means. A new car or home suddenly becomes a “necessity” based on the maximum amount of a “pre-qualified” bank loan, rather than actual needs.

British, Canadian, Australian and American consumers are strapped with debt, resulting in a staggering number of defaulted home loans and personal bankruptcies.

As in ancient Rome, strong belief in self-determination and self-reliance has been replaced with an attitude of expecting something for nothing. Government-run systems originally intended to assist those in genuine need are now considered an entitlement.

Americans want to have their economic “cake and eat it too”—to work less and play more—to “support the troops,” but have their family members and friends in the military stay home—to fight terrorism, but not raise taxes to support the military (which does the actual fighting)—to obtain better health insurance, but force employers to pay for it—to receive social security when they retire, but not increase how much they pay into it now.

Of course, how can the average consumer be expected to show fiscal responsibility when government leaders fail to do so? For example, when the Pentagon pays a small parts supplier $998,798 to ship two 19-cent washers to a U.S. Army base! Or when a Korean War veteran has to buy his own Purple Heart at a military surplus store because the Navy informed him the medal was “out of stock”!

And just as the Roman army was overstretched and overextended in foreign lands, so is the American military. Roman soldiers, once known for their precision in battle and rigid obedience to authority, eventually became demoralized. The same can be said of U.S. troops, among whom suicide rates have risen since the start of the war in Iraq—60 in 2003, 67 in 2004, 88 in 2005 and 99 in 2006. Desperate not to return to Iraq, one soldier paid someone $500 to shoot him in the leg!



A Kingdom That Will Never Fall

Family, education, religion, pleasure-seeking, the economy, government and the military. The failure of these and other factors have contributed to the death of men’s governments—and are at work in the birthright nations of America and Britain.

However, there is a future government that will be established by a perfect Leader, as foretold in Isaiah 9: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (vs. 6-7).

An incorruptible King, Jesus Christ, will direct His government—the kingdom of God—to teach true family values; place educational institutions upon the right foundation; empower true religion to provide guidance and purpose to empty lives; maintain a global economy that will never see a depression—or even a recession; ensure that government on all levels will be free of bureaucracy; and convert all weapons to a greater purpose (Isa. 2:4).

And this world-ruling kingdom will never fall!
"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is "not done".
...Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with.