The suicide murders and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan sicken Americans. Soon-to-be nuclear Iran seems loonier than nuclear North Korea. American debt keeps piling up in China and Japan. And we think of angry Venezuela, the Middle East, and Russia every time we fill up -- if we can afford to fill up. Then listen to Al Gore on global warming. Or hear Jimmy Carter on the current president. The common denominator is American "decline."
Books by liberals assure us that our "empire" is kaput. Brace for the inevitable fate of Rome. Conservatives are just as glum. For them, we are also Romans -- but the more decadent variety, eaten away from the inside.
Anybody looking for evidence of the decline of America need only ask themselves: Would such an embarrassing column have been publishable fifty years ago, or even ten?