The cost of the war?
Other than worldwide credibility, hopefully is the end of the American Empire.
Difficult when their annual military budget is $450 billion is almost half of the combined worldwide budget is $850 billion.
COMPLETE WORLDWIDE MILITARY DOMINATION
excerpt from: The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies, by Richard Heinberg
The five strategies humans have adopted for capturing increasing amount of energy have permitted societies to grow in size, scope, and complexity. However, it is important to note that the ramp of history, rising upward from the simplest Paleolithic hunter-gatherer bands to the heights of globalized industrial civilization, has not been a smooth one. Many civilizations have expanded their scope and complexity dramatically, only to dissolve back into simpler forms of social organization.
The ancient Egyptians, Romans, Mayas, Greeks, Minoans, Mesopotamians, Harappans, and Chacoans provide a wealth of material for investigation. Why would a group of people intelligent enough to have built impressive temples, roads, and cities and organizing a far-flung empire suddenly lose the ability to maintain them?
The literature on the subject is voluminous and includes speculation on the causes of collapse ranging from class conflict to mismanagement. Undoubtedly, the best modern research on this subject was done by archaeologist Joseph Tainter, whose book 'The Collapse of Complex Societies' (198
is now widely recognized as the standard work on the topic. In his book and related essays, Tainter takes an ecological view of society as an energy-processing structure and concludes that complex societies tend to collapse because their strategies for energy capture are subject to the law of diminishing returns.
More complex societies are more costly to maintain than simpler ones.
Regarding the Roman Empire, Tainter writes:
...as the booty of new conquests ceased, Rome had to undertake administrative and garrisoning costs that lasted centuries. Major stress surges appeared that could scarcely be contained with yearly Imperial budgets. Dealing with stress surges required taxation and economic malfeasance so heavy that the productive capacity of the support population deteriorated. Weakening of the support base gave rise to further barbarian successes...
Western civilization from the Middle Ages to the present illustrates the theory in a somewhat different way as it has recovered and undergone at least two even greater growth surges due to its ability to find and exploit new energy subsidies at critical moments.
The discovery of fossil fuels, the greatest energy subsidy ever known enabled the transformation of civilization itself into a form never before seen: industrialism.
This does not mean, however, that industrial civilization is immune to the law of diminishing returns. Over time, the amount of energy that must be expended to find and extract each barrel of oil, or to mine each ton of coal, increases.
Tainter ends his book by drawing the following sobering conclusion: “However much we like to think of ourselves as something special in world history, in fact industrial societies are subject to the same principles that caused earlier societies to collapse.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: the similarities to the U.S. Empire are striking. The booty (oil revenues) from Iraq to pay for this occupation is half of what Wolfowitz promised.
The U.S. defence budget is $450m in 2003, yet the CIA's World Factbook 2003, comments, “The war in March/April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq shifted resources to military industries and introduced uncertainties about investment and employment in other sectors of the economy. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure ($1.3 trillion in investment needed), rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.”
The IMF expects the US budget deficit to exceed $550 billion over the coming years, a staggering five percent of America’s yearly economic output.