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Is the U.S. on the verge of extinction?

Have you heard the news? The United States is on the verge of collapsing and going the way of all the empires of old, i.e. the Romans, the Greeks, the Babylonians, etc.

In March, the date was set. Igor Panarin, a Russian and former KGB agent and current professor in the ministry of foreign affairs, predicted that by July 2010 the United States will have disintegrated into six parts following a civil war, a result of the current economic situation and ever-declining morality. The six parts Panarin sees as follows:

The California Republic, the Texas Republic, Atlantic America, Central North American Republic, Alaska and Hawaii. Each republic, or independent nation, will be in the sphere of influence of another country. Alabama sits in the Texas Republic and will be influenced by Mexico; California will be influenced by China; the Northeast by the European Union, etc. Oh, and Alaska will flip back to the Russians.

It’s easy to dismiss Panarin’s theories the “crackpot” theories of a Russian nationalist, but he does make some interesting observations. The comparisons between the U.S. and the Roman Empire are eerily similar. Large debt, (the U.S. has saddled its future generations with massive amounts of debt to the tune of $11 trillion and increasing each second.) Declining morality, (The moral fabric of our country hasn’t just been ripped; it’s been shredded to threads and stepped on in the streets.) A weakened military, (we have overextended our army in both Afghanistan and Iraq and now North Korea is about to call our bluff.) Also, the spirit of cooperation has been replaced by a general feeling of divisiveness in the country, which begins in the nation’s Capitol, but is encouraged and supported by media bobble heads like Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, and Chris Matthews. Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to agree on anything other than their belief that the other party is wrong. If the United States is indeed on the verge of collapse, the two-party system’s vice grip on the halls of power could be viewed by future historians as a problem that led to the fall.

Of course, most thinkers and pundits have dismissed Panarin’s hypothesis, but what his “collapse” theory does do is open the door for questions that Americans – not just politicians and academics – need to be asking themselves. Is the United States on the rise as a nation? Or, are we in the downward spiral…a fall towards irrelevance on the world stage?