The recurrent pattern in every civilization of which we have knowledge was for one state to unify the system under its imperial domination. The propensity toward universal empire was the principal feature of pre-modern politics. Historian Michael Doyle who undertook an extensive research on empires extended the observation into the modern era:. Empires have been the key actors in world politics for millennia.
They helped create the interdependent civilizations of all the continents Imperial control stretches through history, many say, to the present day. Empires are as old as history itself They have held the leading role ever since. Expert on warfare Quincy Wright generalized on what he called "universal empire"—empire unifying all the contemporary system:.
China is building the most extensive global commercial-military empire in history
Balance of power systems have in the past tended, through the process of conquest of lesser states by greater states, towards reduction in the number of states involved, and towards less frequent but more devastating wars, until eventually a universal empire has been established through the conquest by one of all those remaining.
German Sociologist Friedrich Tenbruck finds that the macro-historic process of imperial expansion gave rise to global history in which the formations of universal empires were most significant stages.
The overall conclusion was that the balance of power was inherently unstable order and usually soon broke in favor of imperial order. When this [imperial] pattern of political history is found in the New World as well as in the Old World, it looks as if the pattern must be intrinsic to the political history of societies of the species we call civilizations, in whatever part of the world the specimens of this species occur. If this conclusion is warranted, it illuminates our understanding of civilization itself.
Most states systems have ended in universal empire, which has swallowed all the states of the system. The examples are so abundant that we must ask two questions: Is there any states system which has not led fairly directly to the establishment of a world empire? Does the evidence rather suggest that we should expect any states system to culminate in this way?
It might be argued that every state system can only maintain its existence on the balance of power , that the latter is inherently unstable, and that sooner or later its tensions and conflicts will be resolved into a monopoly of power. The earliest thinker to approach the phenomenon of universal empire from a theoretical point of view was Polybius :. In previous times events in the world occurred without impinging on one another Fichte , having witnessed the battle at Jena in when Napoleon overwhelmed Prussia, described what he perceived as a deep historical trend:.
There is necessary tendency in every cultivated State to extend itself generally Such is the case in Ancient History As the States become stronger in themselves and cast off that [Papal] foreign power, the tendency towards a Universal Monarchy over the whole Christian World necessarily comes to light This tendency Whether clearly or not—it may be obscurely—yet has this tendency lain at the root of the undertakings of many States in Modern Times Although no individual Epoch may have contemplated this purpose, yet is this the spirit which runs through all these individual Epochs, and invisibly urges them onward.
Fichte's later compatriot, Geographer Alexander von Humboldt — , in the mid-Nineteenth century observed a macro-historic trend of imperial growth in both Hemispheres: "Men of great and strong minds, as well as whole nations, acted under influence of one idea, the purity of which was utterly unknown to them. Friedrich Ratzel , writing at the same time, observed that the "drive toward the building of continually larger states continues throughout the entirety of history" and is active in the present.
His seventh law stated: "The general trend toward amalgamation transmits the tendency of territorial growth from state to state and increases the tendency in the process of transmission. Two other contemporaries— Kang Yu-wei and George Vacher de Lapouge —stressed that imperial expansion cannot indefinitely proceed on the definite surface of the globe and therefore world empire is imminent.
Kang Yu-wei in believed that the imperial trend will culminate in the contest between Washington and Berlin  and Vacher de Lapouge in estimated that the final contest will be between Russia and America in which America is likely to triumph. This undoubtedly is the logical final stage in the geopolitical theory of evolution.
The world is no longer large enough to harbor several self-contained powers The trend toward world domination or hegemony of a single power is but the ultimate consummation of a power-system engrafted upon an otherwise integrated world. And the onrush of this trend may not come to rest until it has asserted itself throughout our planet The global order still seems to be going through its birth pangs With the last tempest barely over, a new one is gathering. The year after the War and in the first year of the nuclear age, Albert Einstein and British Philosopher Bertrand Russell , known as prominent pacifists, outlined for the near future a perspective of world empire world government established by force.
Einstein believed that, unless world government is established by agreement, an imperial world government would come by war or wars. Russian colleague of Russell and Niehbur, Georgy Fedotov , wrote in All empires are but stages on the way to the sole Empire which must swallow all others. The only question is who will build it and on which foundations. Universal unity is the only alternative to annihilation. Unity by conference is utopian but unity by conquest by the strongest Power is not and probably the uncompleted in this War will be completed in the next. Originally drafted as a secret study for the Office of Strategic Services the precursor of the CIA in  and published as a book three years later, The Struggle for the World The historical stage for a world empire had already been set prior to and independently of the discovery of atomic weapons but these weapons make a world empire inevitable and imminent.
A world empire "is in fact the objective of the Third World War which, in its preliminary stages, has already began". The issue of a world empire "will be decided, and in our day. In the course of the decision, both of the present antagonists may, it is true, be destroyed, but one of them must be. Today war has become an instrument of universal destruction, an instrument that destroys the victor and the vanquished At worst, victor and loser would be undistinguishable under the leveling impact of such a catastrophe At best, the destruction on one side would not be quite as great as on the other; the victor would be somewhat better off than the loser and would establish, with the aid of modern technology, his domination over the world.
The outcome of the Third World War This denouement was foreshadowed, not only by present facts, but by historical precedents, since, in the histories of other civilizations, the time of troubles had been apt to culminate in the delivery of a knock-out blow resulting in the establishment of a universal state The year this volume of A Study of History was published, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announced " a knock-out blow " as an official doctrine, a detailed Plan was elaborated and Fortune magazine mapped the design.
Another term applied by the strategists was "Sunday punch". A pupil of Toynbee, William McNeill , associated on the case of ancient China, which "put a quietus upon the disorders of the warring states by erecting an imperial bureaucratic structure The warring states of the Twentieth century seem headed for a similar resolution of their conflicts.
Chinese classic Sima Qian d. He did not use the term bacchanal but he coined on the occasion an associating word: "Gentlemen, you do not have a war plan. You have a wargasm! According to the circumscription theory of Robert Carneiro , "the more sharply circumscribed area, the more rapidly it will become politically unified.
Correspondingly, these are the three most circumscribed civilizations in human history. The Empires of Egypt established by Narmer c. German Sociologist Friedrich Tenbruck, criticizing the Western idea of progress, emphasized that China and Egypt remained at one particular stage of development for millennia. This stage was universal empire. The development of Egypt and China came to a halt once their empires "reached the limits of their natural habitat".
Carneiro explored the Bronze Age civilizations. Stuart J. Kaufman, Richard Little and William Wohlforth researched the next three millennia, comparing eight civilizations. They conclude: The "rigidity of the borders" contributed importantly to hegemony in every concerned case. The circumscription theory was stressed in the comparative studies of the Roman and Chinese Empires. The circumscribed Chinese Empire recovered from all falls, while the fall of Rome, by contrast, was fatal.
The ancient Chinese system was relatively enclosed, whereas the European system began to expand its reach to the rest of the world from the onset of system formation… In addition, overseas provided outlet for territorial competition, thereby allowing international competition on the European continent to He explained the durability of the European states system by its overseas expansion: "Overseas expansion and the system of states were born at the same time; the vitality that burst the bounds of the Western world also destroyed its unity.
In the nineteenth century, he wrote during the Second World War, imperialist wars were waged against "primitive" peoples. Since , however, this has no longer been possible: "the situation has radically changed". Now wars are between "imperial powers. For example, the more attention Russia, France and the United States paid to expanding into far-flung territories in imperial fashion, the less attention they paid to one another, and the more peaceful, in a sense, the world was.
How To Start An Online Business: Here's Foundr's Ultimate Guide
But by the late nineteenth century, the consolidation of the great nation-states and empires of the West was consummated, and territorial gains could only be made at the expense of one another. Herz outlined one "chief function" of the overseas expansion and the impact of its end:. Thus the openness of the world contributed to the consolidation of the territorial system. The end of the 'world frontier' and the resulting closedness of an interdependent world inevitably affected the system's effectiveness.
Some later commentators [ who? For some commentators, the passing of the Nineteenth century seemed destined to mark the end of this long era of European empire building. The unexplored and unclaimed "blank" spaces on the world map were rapidly diminishing The "closure" of the global imperial system implied The opportunity for any system to expand in size seems almost a necessary condition for it to remain balanced, at least over the long haul. Far from being impossible or exceedingly improbable, systemic hegemony is likely under two conditions: "when the boundaries of the international system remain stable and no new major powers emerge from outside the system.
The geopolitical condition of "global closure"  will remain to the end of history. Since "the contemporary international system is global, we can rule out the possibility that geographic expansion of the system will contribute to the emergence of a new balance of power, as it did so many times in the past. One of leading experts on world-system theory , Christopher Chase-Dunn , noted that the circumscription theory is applicable for the global system, since the global system is circumscribed. Given "constant spatial parameters" of the global system, its unipolar structure is neither historically unusual nor theoretically surprising.
Randall Schweller theorized that a "closed international system", such as the global became a century ago, would reach " entropy " in a kind of thermodynamic law.
Once the state of entropy is reached, there is no going back. The initial conditions are lost forever. Stressing the curiosity of the fact, Schweller writes that since the moment the modern world became a closed system, the process has worked in only one direction: from many poles to two poles to one pole.
Thus unipolarity might represent the entropy—stable and permanent loss of variation—in the global system. Chalmers Johnson argues that the US globe-girding network of hundreds of military bases already represents a global empire in its initial form:. For a major power, prosecution of any war that is not a defense of the homeland usually requires overseas military bases for strategic reasons. After the war is over, it is tempting for the victor to retain such bases and easy to find reasons to do so.
Commonly, preparedness for a possible resumption of hostilities will be invoked. Simon Dalby associates the network of bases with the Roman imperial system:.
That [military] presence literally builds the cultural logic of the garrison troops into the landscape, a permanent reminder of imperial control. Kenneth Pomeranz and Harvard Historian Niall Ferguson share the above-cited views: "With American military bases in over countries, we have hardly seen the end of empire.
Conventional maps of US military deployments understate the extent of America's military reach.