Harvard University Press, , pp. It is now clear that the resultant U. See also Andrew Bacevich, American Empire: Instead of being a force for good-which they were no doubt intended to be-these incursions have devastated many societies and left them more vulnerable to further disasters of their own making. In this case, Smil states that the rapid ascendancy of China was a surprise to policymakers. This, of course, could translate as the continuance of exactly the type of imperial dominance that Kennedy is warning about.

Arguably, this was true of the Roman Empire , which was strong and effective in the first and early second centuries CE, despite a few setbacks Germany in 9CE; Scotland in the 80s CE but lost territories e. Both methods can be useful, as this essay will demonstrate, in explaining the reasons behind imperial decline. The second area in which the United States is overextending is the military. The parallels between America and other collapsed empires have also been explored by political scientist Jack Snyder, who noted similarities between the recent U. Nouriel Roubini, a well known economist and academic, recently commented that because over half of all US Treasury bonds were owned by non residents, America faced the real possibility of losing its hegemonic dominance to its competitors, who would use this situation to their advantage. This is not a new challenge to the study of international history, which naturally includes the interstate interactions inherent to the examination of all empires. The idea of imperial overstretch is not new to modern history.

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The text contains many comparisons of Britain at its heights to the U. Random House,pp.

define imperial overstretch thesis

This, along with the Sino-Soviet split, demonstrated that the monolithic power arrangements that had been solidified in the years following World War II up into the s would not remained fixed.

Email required Address never made public. A major opponent of this imperiwl was Walt Whitman Rostow, who argued against the inevitability of this change in power dynamics.

define imperial overstretch thesis

The other thedis issue in any exploration of the historiography of imperial overstretch is the methodology various authors have employed to describe it. Tesis overstretchalso known as Imperial overreachis a hypothesis which suggests that an empire can extend itself beyond its ability to maintain or expand its military and economic commitments.

Ferguson cites the pre-World War I British Empire, which declined as a result of distractions from policing old and new commitments in Asia and Africa, as a cautionary tale of empirical overstretch. Those who do not see the United States as threatened by imperial overstretch argue that several wars and far reaching military presence can be financially supported and are key to long term security.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Like Alexis de Tocqueville, who Kennedy could claim as a predecessor, he saw an emergent bipolar world, dominated by Russia and the United States.

The Danger of Imperial Overstretch | Foreign Policy Journal

Could military force abroad eventually have to be withdrawn because of bankruptcy at home? Or will nature disrupt America’s new world order?

define imperial overstretch thesis

imperiwl Might Washington, like Rome, fall victim to imperial overstretch? American Grand Strategy from to the Present Ithaca: Thus, a new historiography will likely come into view that reflects the current shift in global power, in which the U. This is an extremely difficult topic worthy of patient discussion.


Germany in Soviet Policy from Stalin to Gorbachev.

The Danger of Imperial Overstretch

Cornell University Press,pp. Notes [1] Kennedy, Paul. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In light of the financial data presented, this does not seem feasible unless a drastic reduction in either the number of wars, the number of troops, or the amount the United States is borrowing to maintain these fronts is dramatically reduced. He has over 10 years of experience at sea enforcing immigration, counter-narcotics, and environmental protection laws.

The current major issue in a discussion of American hegemony is the ongoing global economic crisis. Britain and the United States Surrey: The Realities and Consequences of U.

Imperial overstretch

Dacia and Mesopotamia after that and could not keep the Saxons, Huns and other ‘barbarians’ out in the 4th and 5th centuries. Both the twin fiscal and account deficits of the United States as well as the costs of its open ended military commitments abroad, have resemblances to other overstretched empires of the past.

I am happy to have finally pverstretch someone critical of applying Alex Tocquville.

American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors Boston: Rostow embeds this type of policy in the language of partnership particularly with Europe and balance of power rather than hegemony, avoiding the subtext of American dominance in such a relationship.

For many historians, a broad narrative incorporating many countries was appropriate.

You are commenting using your Google account. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: