Reject the Myths of Empire

Source: Eunomia
by Daniel Larison

“It is common to compare the American empire to Rome …. The more relevant cautionary tale, however, is that of Spain. Spain was an extraordinarily powerful and wealthy major power in the early modern period, and with its huge colonial possessions in the Americas and Asia it was close to being the superpower of its time. Because it had extracted vast wealth from its colonies, it was able to finance endless wars that make ours seem brief in comparison. The Spanish war with the Dutch alone went on in its fits and starts for eight decades, and the monarchy declared bankruptcy nine times despite its extraordinary resources. The outlays for its ruinous, desultory wars were so great that they exhausted the wealthiest state in Europe again and again. That is the path that the U.S. has been on, and getting out of Afghanistan is the first step in choosing a different path.” (09/09/21)