In the late 1970s, Newsweek magazine reported that the U.S. Defense Department had launched a curious study of the kind usually conducted by an academic institution: Why did the great empires in history such as the Romans, Mongol, British, etc. all fall? The cause, the study found, was an inflated budget for the defense of an over-extended territory.

There was no follow-up in the magazine, but I sometimes wonder if the conclusion drawn in the Pentagon study motivated Washington to start negotiating “host-nation support” with its allies thereafter.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.