In order to prepare some posts over at RedLetterLiving I have been studying some about the why the Roman Empire collapsed. Of course everyone seems to have an opinion about that. The anti-Catholic folks say it is the pope’s fault. The maker/taker folks claim it is because the empire became a welfare State. But I kind of align with a majority view that they just had to spend too much money to keep their armies spread out among most of the world. Their military expenses accounted for almost one-half of all their spending and that included building the coliseum and such!
I am a history guy so I like to claim that we can learn from the past in order to keep from making the same mistakes in the future. There have been a few other empires come and go since the Roman one but I don’t think anyone will disagree that the current world empire are us folks in the U.S.
Janette, who was part of an army family, is a frequent commentor on this blog. She is constantly telling me that she has lived in this and that country. It seems no matter which country I talk about she says she lived there. I don’t think she is one of those globe-trotting rich folks that cruise around the world in a yacht. I imagine she got all those travels in via her time within a military family. I’m sure she is not unique in this regard; there are probably a millions like her who have spent time in many different countries while serving.
I’m kind of slow once in a while but it did eventually hit me that like the Roman empire we seem to have our soldiers spread out all around the world. I know that we spend about half our discretionary spending on our military stuff whereas the Romans spent twice that much. But we do spend more on it than almost the rest of the world combined. I’m only a guy with a little more than an ounce of common sense but I wonder if we too will one day collapse under the weight of our military spending?
Here is some words about our current military deployments from a veteran friendly web site:
US Deployment Facts-How Many US Troops are Overseas?
The historical Byzantine, Ottoman, Roman & British Empires relied heavily on foreign military bases during their peaks of power. After World War II the United States created the most extensive network of military bases ever, allowing for the deployment of Air & Naval Forces in moments.
No military in the history of the world has been more widely deployed as the United States. Currently, the United States has military personnel deployed in about 150 Countries…This covers 75% of The World’s Nations.
Given that many folks think that extensive troop deployment is one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the Roman empire the above words sound kind of ominous don’t they?