News Decoder
Is the U.S. superpower decaying as the Roman Empire did?

Is the U.S. superpower decaying as the Roman Empire did?

Primitive tribes helped topple the powerful Roman Empire. Did attacks on the U.S. by Islamist extremists 20 years ago augur the end of a superpower? The Statue of Liberty and New York City’s skyline as smoke rises from the ruins of the Twin Towers, four days...

We often hear that history repeats itself. A core tenet of News Decoder’s mission is to help students place current events in a broader historical context. Correspondent Gene Gibbons looks beyond today’s headlines all the way back to ancient Rome to show how pride, corruption, strategic overreach and other political mistakes have contributed to the decline of superpowers, then and now.

Exercise: Ask students to debate the question in the headline, providing evidence for their position.

I once saw Taliban take Kabul. Recapture is Western fiasco.

I once saw Taliban take Kabul. Recapture is Western fiasco.

The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan after another failed foreign intervention. Will they ease their hard line? And what lessons can be learned? Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s presidential palace, Kabul, Afghanistan, 15 August 2021 (AP Photo/Zabi...

The reconquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban is a fast-moving story, and the mainstream media is busy keeping us informed of the latest developments. It’s one of those stories that cries out for context, and Alistair Lyon delivers the goods in his tour de force, informed by his years on the ground in the South Asian nation. If those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it, then Lyon’s article might help young readers understand why the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was almost destined to fall short — and help them avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Exercise: Ask your students to compare U.S. involvement in Afghanistan with another foreign entanglement, and to elaborate on similarities and differences between the conflicts.

Terrorism