Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, generally known as Glubb Pasha after his decades of service in Arab countries, wrote many books; but he may be best known for a 24-page monograph published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1976. It was titled "The Fate of Empires" (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).
John Dunn summarized Glubb's thesis as follows.
Is America another doomed empire? Can we avoid the decline and demise of empire that has been the pattern of the past? John Bagot Glubb, English scholar and former soldier, provides a historical analysis of the life history of empires (great nations) that is sobering and cautionary ...
Glubb, as a historicist, devotes his long essay to a study of patterns of empires that he defines as great or superpowers in history, from the Assyrian in 859–612 B.C. to Britain, 1700–1950 A.D. Glubb asserts that "(a) in spite of accidents of fortune and the apparent circumstances of the human race at different epochs, the periods of duration of different empires at varied epochs show a remarkable similarity. (b) immense changes in the technology of transport or in methods of warfare do not seem to affect the life expectation an empire." He says technical changes affect only the size and shape of an empire.
. . .
Glubb, in the monograph that is our point of discussion, undertook to demonstrate his hypothesis and the evidence that supports his assertion that empires pass through the following ages: Pioneers, Conquests, Commerce, Affluence, Intellect, Decadence.
The Age of Decadence he portrays as "marked by: Defensiveness, Pessimism, Materialism, Frivolity, An Influx of Foreigners, The Welfare State and Weakening of Religion."
Glubb Pasha posits that "[d]ecadence is due to: Too long a period of wealth and power-Selfishness-Love of Money-The loss of a sense of duty."
He points out that the way empires crash and burn varies because it is usually brought about by external forces.
Glubb's detailing of the character of a nation or empire in the various stages is compelling — he nails so many things down, and his essay is a rollicking good time at only 24 pages long. Even those who hate long papers will find this very to read — Glubb has a talent to write, and his subject is important to you and to me. The survival of our country is the consideration.
Glubb's essay is pertinent because the Age of Decadence is upon us. Glubb makes the case that empires run out of gas because of internal decline and decadence. The typical life expectancy of empires, according to Glubb, is 250 years — about ten generations. Without a change in direction, America will become another casualty to the process — a lesser player, suffering the "used to be" syndrome.
I'm not going to excerpt Glubb's monograph here, because it's only 24 pages long, and should be read as a single document rather than snippets here and there. Instead, I urge you to read the whole thing in full. It's worth your time.
As for whether or not we're at the end of the "American Empire" . . . that remains to be seen, but we can identify more than enough of the indicators Glubb describes to give anyone pause for thought. That includes the events of the past week in Washington D.C., which don't give us much reason for optimism.