The American Empire has had better months. In the war that was supposed to have been won to the point of virtually wrapping up a stable democracy, thanks to Bush's courageous "surge," violence has been rising. April was the most violent month in Iraq since March of 2008. Unfortunately, one response to this increase in violence will be pleas to keep U.S. military forces in Iraq a while longer, "just until things calm down again. The possibility that the very presence of U.S. troops is a contributory factor to the violence will get short shrift.
In Afghanistan, even before President Obama's "surge" is properly underway, things are deteriorating, with increased attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Pakistani government doing its Wicked Witch of the West routine -- "I'm melting, I'm melting" -- in the face of multiple challenges including its own sclerosis.
The likely result of these two situations is the commitment of even more resources the U.S. doesn't really have -- check out the deficits and projected deficits -- to military, quasi-military or "nation-building" to enterprises likely to involve years of strenuous effort with depleted resources with outcomes that are hardly likely to be favorable. Is this the way empires end -- not with a bang but a whimper of pain from taxpayers?