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CHAT: World Powers

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Thursday, November 18, 1999, 1:26
Bryan Maloney wrote:

> On Tue, 16 Nov 1999, alypius wrote: > > > presence of different first languages. If history shows us anything, it is > > that multi-linguistic or multi-cultural states are inherently fragile--eg, > > Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia. On
Well, it all depends on the circumstances. The United States of today is probably one of the most multicultural (if not much multilinguistic) regimes of all time -- only rarely in history have so many different ethnic groups come together to live and work and think and act as a community. Why is this possible? Because the US has, since its foundation, always been held together by ideology -- powerful ideas like democracy and its economic correlate, capitalism, rather than geographic or ethnic unity (ideologies that reinforce national unity). If a state has that -- any state -- it can survive indefinitely, I'd say (ceteris paribus). Rome had that to a large degree, as did the successor states to Alexander's Empire. [Which is not to say that America's current status will equal or surpass theirs, relatively speaking. There's no way we can know that -- indeed, history would seem to indicate it's unlikely]
> Yeah, Rome only lasted 400 years as an empire until the West fell off. > Then it only lasted a mere 1,000 years after that.
More like 450 to 500 years as an empire, and about 250 more under the Republic. That was quite an astounding achievement, though -- there are *very* few worldpowers that remain worldpowers on that scale for long -- China remains the outstanding example of continuity, which was possible mostly just because of its isolation -- about 2000 years (though it's debatable whether that was one or many different Chinese empires).
> > I believe the reason for Helvetia's (Switzerland's) policy of neutrality has > > been to prevent itself from being torn apart by civil war in the event of > > Actually, the policy got adopted after they got their hats handed to them > but good by the Spanish.
Don't you mean the Austrians? It was the Austrian Habsburgs (not the Spanish Habsburgs) who made the most inroads on Swiss cantons for most of its history (when they did make inroads at all). ====================================== Tom Wier <artabanos@...> ICQ#: 4315704 AIM: Deuterotom Website: <> "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." Non cuicumque datum est habere nasum. It is not given to just anyone to have a nose. -- Martial ======================================