The Fading of America: Is American Dominance in the World Ending?

Every great civilizations fall. From the Romans to the ancient Mayans, history is littered with kingdoms and nations who "ruled the world" for a period of time only to descend into obscurity afterwards.

So, when I read this interesting Newsweek article by Fareed Zakaria, an excerpt of his book The Post-American World, I couldn't help but think: Is it America's turn?

Perhaps not: American technology, ideas, and economic powers are still very strong, but the rest of the world is catching up fast:

American anxiety springs from something much deeper, a sense that large and disruptive forces are coursing through the world. In almost every industry, in every aspect of life, it feels like the patterns of the past are being scrambled. [...] for the first time in living memory—the United States does not seem to be leading the charge. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people.

Look around. The world's tallest building is in Taipei, and will soon be in Dubai. Its largest publicly traded company is in Beijing. Its biggest refinery is being constructed in India. Its largest passenger airplane is built in Europe. The largest investment fund on the planet is in Abu Dhabi; the biggest movie industry is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Once quintessentially American icons have been usurped by the natives. The largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. The largest casino is in Macao, which overtook Las Vegas in gambling revenues last year. America no longer dominates even its favorite sport, shopping. The Mall of America in Minnesota once boasted that it was the largest shopping mall in the world. Today it wouldn't make the top ten. In the most recent rankings, only two of the world's ten richest people are American. These lists are arbitrary and a bit silly, but consider that only ten years ago, the United States would have serenely topped almost every one of these categories.

These factoids reflect a seismic shift in power and attitudes. It is one that I sense when I travel around the world. In America, we are still debating the nature and extent of anti-Americanism. One side says that the problem is real and worrying and that we must woo the world back. The other says this is the inevitable price of power and that many of these countries are envious—and vaguely French—so we can safely ignore their griping. But while we argue over why they hate us, "they" have moved on, and are now far more interested in other, more dynamic parts of the globe. The world has shifted from anti-Americanism to post-Americanism. - via reddit

Illustration: Joe Zeff Design / Newsweek

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

American Recession starting in 2008.....and uh oh! Whats this? Holy shit the WHOLE DAMN WORLD is in recession! Man thats wierd. That must mean, uhhh wait for it....our economy is pretty F'ing important!!! If someone destroys us by magicly taking out the best military in the world, they will have to deal with all the economic reprecussions...
The day our economy fails is the day the Middle East gets totally F'ed in the ass by wars we won't be interveining in. Its the day China and the EU go into depression, and the day all the countries with outsourcing and American owned countries wish America was still around.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The Cold sad truth is the most dominant country, the #1, is the one with the greatest military. If your rich, but I'm strong, I'm gonna kick your ass and steal your money. Face it. Although stronger economies do lead to greater militarys if they have the natural resources to support it.
Places in the middle east cannot, but China and America are basically the same in everyway geographicly, so would probably be one of the two that will emerge on top. No country in the Middle East will ever be #1. There isn't enough natural resources. Everyone sees Dubai and is like "oh shit thats where the money is going". Well all I see is a bigger city that will get fucked by global warming. The United States is always going to be a top power, maybe not #1 but always a top power.
And sometimes you don't even know who is the top power. We defeated Britain in 1812 and Britain was supposedly #1.
Taller buildings aren't a sign of economic dominance, just a bigger target.
All I'm going to say is don't doubt America.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
If the economy of America-in-debt ever crashes, expect a Katrina-like response on a massive scale. The people are asleep in their dreamland of useless "look-at-me-my-life-really-matters-read-it-on-my-vapid-blog", dvd & gameplaying escapes from reality, hell, most Americans believe history in fictional movies to be real. The people would awake from their sleep and see the mess of their country and what would they do with it?

We all know what happens to people when the electricy goes off for a few hours, they start to think and talk to one another and their neighbors again, until their power goes back on and they rush back to their imaginary worlds.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don't worry so much about America's dominance in the rest of the world so much as I worry about our stability within our own economy on our own soil.

When I see situations like the Katrina disaster and the whole mess that has created, along with the crash of the housing market, the growing cost of the average quality of life, and the actual possibility of having a female or ethic president for the first time in our great nation, it all signals very radical times for our great nation. It's scary but exciting at the same time. Sure, things have gotten pretty bad over the last eight years but maybe the next eight will be a time of positive growth.

The overall quality of life for the average American is still light years ahead of other countries. And we are still looked at as an important powerhouse in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Look at the Dafur situation for example. The fact that we haven't taken as big a step in helping fight that genocide makes us look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world..... because we are still looked as one of, if not the strongest country in the world.

Also, one quick side note:

What some people may not realize is that America plays a huge role in the development of the other countries that are "moving ahead of us." Like Dubai. A lot of American investors are why that place is what is it. Outsourcing is another example. My company tried to lay off some employees to an outsourcing company based in India...... owned by Americans.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
all i have to say is that nobody should really be surprised by this. it is called nature.. everything from truly organic to completely artificial goes through cycles and we can't *freak out* when we're on the downward. i think we have to give ourselves a little more credit as far as intelligence goes. yes yes, we've made some incredibly stupid judgments that are embarassing enough not to mention. but we've also made some HUGE strides, not just here in the US but all over the world. this is all just part of the redistribution of wealth and power, and i gotta say- we americans are exhausted. i'm GLAD other countries are taking the torch.. give us a vacation for a couple years and maybe our economy will bounce back a little bit. and then maybe we'll make the top ten list for completely new reasons. i just hope everyone keeps their head on straight and doesn't let the media and little articles like this one skew the perception that we're completely capable of living through what disasters we bring upon ourselves. human beings are the most adaptable animals on the face of the planet, and a little status change shouldn't have us running home to our mommies.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The Fading of America: Is American Dominance in the World Ending?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More