from “Catch-22” (film)

Nately: America’s the strongest nation on earth. The American fighting man is the best trained, the best equipped, the best fed… Italy, on the other hand, is one of the weakest nations on earth and the ltalian fighting man is hardly equipped at all.
Old man: That’s why my country is doing so well while yours is doing so poorly.
Nately: That’s silly! First ltaly was occupied by Germans and now by us. You call that doing well?
Old man: Of course I do. The Germans are being driven out and we are still here. In a few years, you’ll be gone and we’ll still be here. Italy is a very poor, weak country yet that is what makes us so strong—strong enough to survive this war and still be in existence long after your country has been destroyed.
Nately: What are you talking about? America’s not going to be destroyed.
Old man: Never?
Nately: Well…
Old man: Rome was destroyed. Greece was destroyed. Persia was destroyed. Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you think your country will last? Forever?
Nately: Forever is a long time, I guess.