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These Colors Do Run? Is the USA No Longer a Superpower?


Is America place at the head of the class, finished? Well-known intellectuals, think tank thunkers, and MSM elite seem to think so.

Citing headlines from the Times asking "who shrunk the superpower?" to Fareed Zakaria's book, The Post-American World, and the French foreign minister saying of America's standing, “The magic is over . . . It will never be as it was before." It seems like a logical conclusion: The US Party of A is over. Take the streamers down.

But! According to this piece in World Affairs it's not the first time such talk has been bandied about, and it's hardly cause for panic.

The United States does contend with serious problems at home and abroad, but these prophecies of doom, which spread like a computer virus, hardly reflect a rational appraisal of where we stand. Moreover, it is not too difficult to see the ghosts of declinism past in the current rush to pen America’s epitaph. Gloomsayers have been with us, after all, since this country’s founding.

Though it sure seems like the drumbeat of America fading is a new millennial challenge, it's not. It reared up in the late-18th century from royalists, the 1920s and 30s from fascists, the 1970s from similar challenges to the ones the country is facing today (shored up by Jimmy Carter's malaise speech) and became terribly chic in the 1980s. Bashing America's standing is in like shoulder pads.

Are the "declinists," pointing to the Bush doctrine, over-stretched military, and squashed economy right — is the US out of first place? Or is history just repeating itself?

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