Like the Soviets at the end, the American empire is run by a collection of ossified geezers, clinging to a past for no other reason than they have no future. What happened to the Soviet Union thirty years ago is now happening to the American empire.
An important similarity is both sides were cosmopolitan in their structure, organizing their people around a set of ideas. Traditional empires were organized around the conquering people, who imposed their will on those they conquered. Both the Russian and the American empires sought to assimilate the people brought into their orbit through ideology, rather than force. The captive people of both empires participated in the maintenance and defense of the empire, often as equals.
An interesting point of comparison is that in the formation of both empires, Jews played an outsized role. Jews were a major part of the Bolshevik revolution. They were integral to the party and the formation of the Soviet state. It was only after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that Jews lost power. Stalin grew worried that the Jews would be more loyal to their ancestral homeland than the party. It was from the purge of Jewish intellectuals that we get the term “rootless cosmopolitan.”
Of course, Jews were right there at the creation of the American empire. By the time FDR and the New Dealers took office, Jews were entering the ruling class. After the war against the fascist, Jews were firmly established in the elite. …
Why cosmopolitan empires fail:
The cosmopolitan nature of these two empires is probably the reason both will have short shelf lives. The Soviet Union barely outlived its creators. The empire phase started after the war and lasted about forty years.
The American version has proven more durable, but the signs of collapse are everywhere. Washington has become a fortress city, because the ruling class now lives in terror. They are sure an insurrection will happen at any moment and they are probably right.
The problem with cosmopolitan empires is they erode the justification for empire in the effort to integrate the empire. If all peoples are the same, if nations do not really matter, then why is one people at the top of the system? The logic of cosmopolitan empire turns against the creators of it. In modern America, the Judeo-Puritan ruling class can no longer explain why they should be in charge. Like their Soviet analogs, the only reason is they like the perks that come from being at the top.
The demise of the Soviets may provide clues as to how the American empire eventually comes to an end. The Soviets quickly disaggregated into the constituent parts once it was clear the ossified ruling elite was no longer willing to defend itself. The end of the Soviet Union was like a great awakening or maybe a slave revolt. It was if all of a sudden everyone realized that the people in charge had no power. It was not a long bloody fight to uproot the old system. Like bankruptcy, it just happened.
For the Soviets, the triggering event was Afghanistan. The failure of Soviet leadership there was the final nail in the coffin. For the American empire, it could be the incompetent handling of the Covid pandemic. What should have been a routine public health emergency has been turned into the Vietnam of pandemics. They cannot explain how we got into this and they cannot come up with an exit plan. The many lies are starting to become a problem for the regime. …
In the end, cosmopolitan empire will prove to be the worst form of empire. Impersonal and transactional, it destroys the creator quickly, by robbing him of his reason to exist at the top of the empire. The empires of old never lost sight of who was in charge and why they were in charge. The great experiment in transnational cosmopolitanism, communism, and liberal democracy, is proving to be not much of a match for the realities of human biology. It is headed to the dustbin of history.