Rebalancing Ambitions, Resources, and Threats
Constant Reallocation to Prevent Overstretch and Financial Paralysis or Collapse
Napoleon Bonaparte said in 1805: “All empires die of indigestion.”1 In trying to amass ever more territory, they consume more than they can handle. Napoleon got indigestion himself in Russia. After the French invasion of 1812, he retreated from Moscow, returning with only 5 percent of his forces. His catastrophic loss tipped the balance of power away from France. Yale historian Paul Kennedy calls this “imperial overstretch.”2 Empires often grow weak, he writes, “not always by defeat in battle, but paradoxically by the ...