Latte Lightweights

When a powerful country starts drinking good Java, down goes the empire

Will the 21st be yet another American century? Don't bet on it, for the American empire is doomed, and the cause is coffee. First, the facts. Denny's, the chain of 1,700 downscale eateries, is switching to freshly ground whole-bean coffee. Dunkin' Donuts is testing espresso in 200 outlets. 7-Eleven began to sell "gourmet blends" last year. So do various McDonald's around the U.S.

Alas, they do not know the iron law of history that says bad coffee fuels expansionism, machismo and the warlike passions while good coffee wafts with civility, pacificity and abandon.

Just take the great martial powers of modern...

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