July 12, 2007

American decline

The Washington Note: "I've just returned from Berlin and am scribbling a brief note from JFK Airport in New York.

One of the unavoidable impressions I got from Europeans and particularly Germans during this trip is that there is widespread regret that America has slipped off its pedestal as a largely benign superpower that promoted liberty and economic opportunity. The dollar's decline against the euro has only reinforced a widespread view that America can't afford its global pretensions any longer. While America remains important, it is clear to everyone that it is less so.

And the Germans are angry at Bush and America as a whole for so badly screwing up a number of collective efforts -- particularly on climate change -- but also in the Middle East. They are angry that Europe is not in a position to fill the void America is leaving and focus their frustration not on their own leadership problems but at the U.S. for undermining the dynamics of global order."

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