( In his State of the Union address on January 24, President Barack Obama argued, "Anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about." According to a Foreign Policy report, the president was influenced by the following article, which originally appeared in The New Republic.) 1. Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power? 2. The present world ordercharacterized by an unprecedented number of democratic nations; a greater global prosperity, even with the current crisis, than the world has ever known; and a long peace among great powersreflects American principles and preferences, and was built and preserved by American power in all its political, economic, and military dimensions. If American power declines, this world order will decline with it. 3. Much of the commentary on American decline these days rests on rather loose analysis, on impressions that the United States has lost its way, that it has abandoned the virtues that made it successful in the past, that it lacks the will to address the problems it faces. 4. Some of the arguments for Americas relative decline these days would be more potent if they had not appeared only in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. The United States suffered deep and prolonged economic crises in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1970s. In each case, it rebounded in the following decade and actually ended up in a stronger position relative to other powers than before the crisis. 5. As Yan Xuetong recently noted, military strength underpins hegemony. Here the United States remains unmatched. It is far and away the most powerful nation the world has ever known, 6. In sum: it may be more than good fortune that has allowed the United States in the past to come through crises and emerge stronger and healthier than other nations while its various competitors have faltered. And it may be more than just wishful thinking to believe that it may do so again. But there is a danger. It is that in the meantime, while the nation continues to struggle, Americans may convince themselves that decline is indeed inevitable, or that the United States can take a time-out from its global responsibilities while it gets its own house in order. To many Americans, accepting decline may provide a welcome escape from the moral and material burdens that have weighed on them since World War II. Many may unconsciously yearn to return to the way things were in 1900, when the United States was rich, powerful, and not responsible for world order. 7. Unfortunately, the present world orderwith its widespread freedoms, its general prosperity, and its absence of great power conflictis as fragile as it is unique. Preserving it has been a struggle in every decade, and will remain a struggle in the decades to come. Preserving the present world order requires constant American leadership and constant American commitment. In the end, the decision is in the hands of Americans. Decline, as Charles Krauthammer has observed, is a choice. It is not an inevitable fateat least not yet. Empires and great powers rise and fall, and the only question is when. But the when does matter. Whether the United States begins to decline over the next two decades or not for another two centuries will matter a great deal, both to Americans and to the nature of the world they live in." Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline - Brookings Institution A long article...but will be of interest to every student of history.