Ideology and the Fall of Empires: The Decline of the Spanish Empire and its Comparison to Current American Strategy
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Many factors influence the fall of empires. Even the same ideology that formed the basis of an empire can become the cause of its fall. The case of the Spanish Empire is a clear example of how the ideology that served to establish its roots was, some years later, one of the most important causes for its decline. The strong Catholic conviction of the Habsburgs was a fundamental factor in defining an imperial strategy that did not conform to the genuine interests of Spain as the core of the Empire. This strategy did not take into account that the capabilities of Spain were not enough to achieve its religious goals. Moreover, it pushed Spanish economic and industrial development into the background, and focused all of Spains national resources on spreading the Catholic religion all over the Empire. However, the purpose of this research is not to analyze in depth how religion influenced the decline of the Spanish Empire, but to establish a paradigm of how individual ideologies, whether they be religious or secular, can become a negative influence on national policies and promote the decline of nations. Once the paradigm is established, it will be necessary to compare it to similar processes to develop some conclusions regarding how ideologies influence national strategies. Over the last two decades, the desire to expand and promote democracy around the world became the dominant ideology of the United States. The influence of democracy as ideology in the evolution of recent American national strategies will serve as a valid comparison.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History