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Declinists Be Damned: Bet on America

The BriefGet Up To Speed

America owes $6 trillion to China, our sprawling military complex often appears helpless against disparate threats abroad, and the War on Terror has stripped us of the moral high ground. Washington is paralyzed by bitter partisanship, our children are falling behind their international peers, and our middle class is no longer the world'€™s most affluent. But we'€™ve been warned about America'€™s decline before. Remember Sputnik? Yes, times are tough, but America is recovering from the Great Recession faster than almost any other advanced country, an energy boom could add billions to the GDP, we'€™re still a leader in technological innovation, and our military strength and geopolitical advantages remain unrivaled. Are our best days behind us, or should the world still bet on America?


Questions about the health of America’s political institutions and the future of its global leadership have become rampant, with some citing partisan gridlock as evidence of America’s decline.

Monday, October 6, 2014
Joseph Nye

The United States has capital, food surpluses and physical insulation in excess of every other country in the world by an exceedingly large margin. So like the Turks, the Americans are not important because of who they are, but because of where they live.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The United States isn't in decline, but it is in the midst of a major rebalancing. The alliances and coalitions America built in the Cold War no longer suffice for the tasks ahead.

Monday, April 9, 2012
Walter Russell Mead

If a breakdown in the world order that America made is occurring, it is not because America’s power is declining—America’s wealth, power, and potential influence remain adequate to meet the present challenges.

Monday, May 26, 2014
Robert Kaplan

Despite gridlock in Washington, America is recovering from the financial crisis and combining enduring strengths with new sources of influence, including energy. Meanwhile, emerging powers are running into troubles of their own.

Friday, October 18, 2013
Ely Ratner and Thomas Wright

McKinsey research pinpoints five catalysts—in energy, trade, technology, infrastructure, and talent development—that can quickly create jobs and deliver a substantial boost to GDP by 2020.

Monday, July 1, 2013
McKinsey Global Institute

The new liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.

Monday, October 19, 2009
Charles Krauthammer

The U.S. strategy towards the Middle East since the Arab Spring has been defined by proactive disengagement and hesitance.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Andreas Krieg

Thirty years ago, the old deal that held U.S. society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
George Packer

For more than a century, the U.S. economy grew robustly thanks to big inventions; those days are gone.

Friday, December 21, 2012
Robert Gordon

We face a triple crisis in foreign policy, economics, and democracy. Here’s how it all went to hell.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Michael Lind

Political bungling at home and abroad is appalling. When his record is etched, Obama will go down as the worst, most damaging president, in American history until, perhaps, the next one.

Monday, March 24, 2014
Barry Shaw
Balancing of Power

America’s tenure on top is ending because much of the world is becoming more like America in many ways: richer, more democratic, more secure.

Friday, January 17, 2014
Charles Kenny

All that is happening, really, is that the United States is slowly and naturally losing its abnormal status in the international system and returning to being one of the most prominent players in the small club of great powers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Paul Kennedy
Country Comparisons

This report assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, which compose the Global Competitiveness Index. This 35th edition emphasizes innovation and skills as the key drivers of economic growth.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Klaus Schwab and Xavier Sala-i-Martin

The Social Progress Index looks beyond GDP and makes social and environmental measurement integral to national performance measurement.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Michael Porter

Data are in current U.S. dollars.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Among major advanced economies, growth in the U.S. rebounded ahead of expectations.

Monday, January 19, 2015
International Monetary Fund

In purchasing –power-parity terms, China is now the world’s biggest economy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
International Monetary Fund

The U.S., by far, is the greatest military spender ($640 billion) in the world. Rounding out the top five are China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and France.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Sam Perlo-Freeman and Carina Solmirano

Among major advanced economies, growth in the U.S. rebounded ahead of expectations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Amanda Macias

Among the 34 OECD countries, the United States performed below average in mathematics in 2012 and is ranked 27th. Performance in reading and science are both close to the OECD average.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

A ranking of higher education systems based on resources, environment, connectivity and output.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

A rising share of international migrants now lives in today's high-income countries such as the United States and Germany, while a growing share was born in today's middle-income nations such as India and Mexico.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Philip Conor

Majorities or pluralities in most countries now believe China either has surpassed or will in the future surpass the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower.

Monday, July 14, 2014
Pew Research Global Attitudes Project