Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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America found itself in a completely new environment during the Nineties. It was now the world's only superpower after the total collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Many American economic and cultural trends that had been building since the Sixties began to converge in powerful ways during the Nineties. America had finally conquered the planet. Its culture was spreading to every corner of the world, yet the world was also now quietly conquering America from within.

The Third Wave was now reaching a mature phase, but it was getting more and more painful. America's post-industrial and post-modern landscape was beginning to show serious signs of an empire coming apart at the seams. Cultural divisions which started in the Sixties had now become bitter stand-offs and increasingly these cultural wars would eventually reflect even bigger tensions globally as the decade progressed. Crime and the collapse of family life accelerated as economic debts mushroomed at all levels of American society. America's population was aging and also living longer leading to new kinds of economic and medical problems. American civilization which was based on oil consumption was showing no signs of slackening in its hunger for oil at a time when oil reserves were now beginning to dwindle. America which constituted only five percent of the world's population continued to consume no less than twenty-five percent of its energy resources.

American history by the Nineties could no longer be separated from global history as the planet became more and more tightly integrated by global trade and global communications. This fragile web of international connectivity would become increasingly vulnerable to terrorism and ecological kinds of dangers. Also all economic booms and busts anywhere in the world would soon affect the entire planet like a rock thrown into a pond rippling out in new and powerful ways.

Parts of America were beginning to resemble areas of the Third World as Multinational Corporations shifted capital to cheaper labor markets without compensating American workers with new jobs. The American government became more and more ineffective in solving these problems because it too was running out of money for domestic programs already existing from earlier times and with no new funds to take care of new social problems that continued to rapidly emerge as the Nineties progressed

. The gap between rich and poor Americans continued to also widen despite yet another economic boom based on the growth of information technologies. As America's education system decayed further, so did its culture in general. A cultural flattening out began to occur as information in general was turned into an economic commodity that had to be sold quickly in smaller and more meaningless units. The American political scene increasingly became just an extension of the entertainment industry as the media culture invaded more and more the very psychological space that most Americans had once kept privately to themselves.


January 1991, the Persian Gulf. America's dependence on oil had slowly, but surely forced it to get involved more and more deeply in Middle East politics. The Iranian revolution had forced America to throw its support to Iraq during a long war between the two nations. But Iraq after the war ended with Iran was forced to invade Kuwait in desperation when it could no longer pay of its huge debts to the western banks. President George Bush immediately sent half a million American troops to drive out Iraq from Kuwait.

The Gulf War of 1991 was America's biggest troop deployment since the Vietnam war. The war ultimately accomplished little and would force America to commit itself to the Iraqi front well into the next century. American soldiers like those in Vietnam contracted war-related illnesses due to chemicals and other war toxins in the environment caused by oil well fires and depleted radium from tank shells. The American government refused to acknowledge to its war veterans that there was any problem at all and many soldiers died without legal or medical compensation.

America was also forced to go asking for financial aid from other countries in order to pay for the war. A war that was broadcast live on CNN as the first video war ever. The American people had little time to worry about foreign policy problems as the economic situation at home began to worsen. Riots broke out in African American areas of Los Angeles and President Bush soon was forced out of office in 1992.

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