On May 1st 2003, George Bush announced the "end" of "major combat
operations" in Iraq. At that point 139 Americans had died. Now, more
than 4 years later, 3,815 members of the American Military have been
killed in Iraq. The American death toll pales in comparison to the
number of dead Iraqis, what is significant is that peasant militias
have managed to kill 27 times as many Americans as Iraq's central
America is on the losing side of an arms race that has been going on through out history.
and empires are built on power disparity. War has always been the realm
of the elite. A privileged warrior class, well practiced and armored,
decided battles. Homer acknowledged this through the character
Achilles, who demonstrated the power that even a single one of these
warlords had in deciding the outcome of a battle and the importance of
their armor, something that only the rich could afford.
wealth disparity changed, so did war. Both the Greeks and the Romans
rose to power by fielding citizen armies. Their middle classes(built on
slavery) supplied large numbers of soldiers able to supply their own
weapons. This grew the warrior class and as war became more populist,
so did governance!
But with the accumulation of capital and the
march of technology that power disparity is ending. From Longbows to
Firearms to IEDs. From Agincourt to Lexington to Vietnam.
and chemistry have made natural strength meaningless to martial
prowess. And no longer does wealth disparity necessarily mean power
disparity, guns are cheap, plentiful, and require little training.
Where capital is plentiful, labor becomes relatively more valuable. The
wealthy seek to employ their capital to maximize their manpower, yet a
tank that can be destroyed by a homemade bomb is as relevant as knight
that can be killed by a peasant's musket. Guerrilla warfare continues
to increase in lethality.
As the State's dominance of warfare
has diminished it must depend even more on ideas to maintain its
existence. Only two empires survived the surge of nationalism and
firearms in the Post-World War II era, the US and the USSR. Both were
chimeras using populist rhetoric to justify state control.
American Empire's military supremacy over the world today is without
precedent. It could send its military any where in world (not to
mention completely annihilate it with nuclear weapons). The power
disparity between it and other militaries in the world is immense, yet
it has failed to successfully occupy the ex-colonies it has invade,
countries that had been governed by the Japanese, French, and English
empires only decades earlier.
Its very possible that by the time the American Empire falls no amount of military might will ever be able to recreate it.
If anyone has any feedback or relevant sources, I'd love to hear it.