I'm occasionally lambasted for noting the imperial overtones of the Mesopotamian occupation. And then we discover that the Pentagon itself commissioned a study in 2002 examining the experience of former empires for American primacy in the 21st Century. The net of analogies is cast far and wide:
The Mongols' military advantage was rooted in their "tactical and operational superiority"; the Macedonians' in the "exceptional leadership" of and "cult of personality" surrounding Alexander the Great; Napoleon's in "innovative operational concepts" and "information superiority"; and the Romans' in "robust tactical doctrine" and "strong domestic institutions" which were "designed to incorporate conquered peoples as the empire grew." In an extraordinary passage, the study cites the Roman experiencefrom over a millennium agoas a precedent for America's long-term dominance: "The Roman model suggests that it is possible for the United States to maintain its military advantage for centuries if it remains capable of transforming its forces before an opponent can develop counter-capabilities. Transformation coupled with strong strategic institutions is a powerful combination for an adversary to overcome."
Can you imagine what the Founding Fathers would have thought of this kind of imperial thinking? I think they'd expect it to correlate with mounting fiscal imbalance and constitutional monarchism at home. And they'd be right, wouldn't they?