Sunday, July 01, 2007

As the Romans Did

As the Romans Did: "The Romans were a supremely successful assimilationist state in that they were able to absorb many different kinds of people into their polity and make them into Romans. But they weren’t particularly good at figuring out the mentality of people who were truly beyond the pale. The fact that they referred to them as “barbarians” is an indication. As a result, they did land themselves in trouble time and again by not understanding and then underestimating the capacity of people outside their borders.

Some historians argue that the Romans never really understood the extent to which the very existence of Rome as a power actually had a unifying effect on the barbarians. That turned into a real problem down the road. And it’s not hard to see that the United States is doing something similar. It’s having a unifying effect on what had once been a scattered, dispersed group of enemies."