“Strong arms and strongmen cannot mask America’s relative decline, since they are the chief symbols of it.” – Parag Khanna
Khanna also says we’re not very smart at using the power we still have.
From New World Order at the Washington Post,
America’s impact is less in evidence almost everywhere, partly because our foreign aid budget is relatively small; as a result, the United States can still punish adversaries militarily, but its ability or willingness to reward allies and thus shape their behavior is rather limited. Our main flaw, however, is that we have not adjusted our mindset to the post-Cold War era. While we pursue a “global war” on terror, for example, the leaders of many other nations think we face a terrorist “challenge” that calls for a carefully calibrated economic and diplomatic — as well as military — response.