AEI: America Faces Same Global Threats of Roman Empire

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From Michael Auslin writing for the American Enterprise Institute:

Just over a quarter of a century ago, the liberal West celebrated triumph in the Cold War. Its victory was underpinned by an evolving strategy of containment, détente, proxy battles and rollback that defeated the Communist bloc without unleashing nuclear war. After unimaginable bloodshed during the 20th century, the fall of the Berlin Wall signalled a triumphal note for the beginning of the next one. Today, less than a generation after the “end of history”, such hopes are all but forgotten, as the global order cracks under a combination of strains either long ignored or wilfully dismissed.

The eight years of the Obama administration have seen only worsening risk and intensification of conflict around the globe. The pace of aggression continues to increase. Yet unlike the still familiar period of great power struggle against totalitarian ideologies during the 20th century, today’s threat to the liberal world comes from two different fronts: the seemingly permanent scourge of Islamist terrorism, and the rise of revanchist and revisionist major powers, such as Russia and China. The United States and its liberal partners have been challenged and found wanting, failing to eliminate or contain the threats. The next US president must do better, or run the risk that the next generation will be one of permanent global disorder.

Superpowers have faced great trials before. But in this particularly complex environment, America and its next leader will have to accept the uncomfortable fact that they face a challenge not unlike that which plagued the Roman Empire for centuries.

Read the rest of the story at the American Enterprise Institute.