In short, the U.S. Army War College study team believe that the spread of ‘facts’ challenging the legitimacy of American empire is a major driver of its decline: not the actual behavior of the empire which such facts point to.
Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’
Nafeez Ahmed

This is a much more valid point than the author is willing to concede here. It isn’t corruption or incompetence that undermines power, but the public’s awareness of same that drives loss of confidence. Governments and cabals rely on information asymmetry + monopoly on violence, not “high integrity leadership,” to maintain their power. Too many examples of highly corrupt, incompetent dynasties lasting for decades or even centuries for a normative argument here.