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The end of a superpower?
The financial crisis and what it means for the future of American dominance
F

oreign commentators have written with "ill-disguised glee" that the financial crisis spells the end of American dominance, said Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal. But don't believe it. Even before Monday's gigantic come-back, U.S. stock exchanges had weathered the downturn better than most—"when the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under."

That's not how things turned out for the Romans, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. They "tumbled into the trap of becoming overleveraged empire hussies," and that's exactly what we've done. Our "sand-castle economy" is washing away "under the tide of bad gambles and debts," and it's time for our "self-indulgent society" to wise up.

The U.S. economy will bounce back, said Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post online, "but in the long run, countries are likely to seek independence from an unstable superpower." America has to make some tough choices, economically and in the use of its power abroad. "We cannot keep preaching about democracy and capitalism with our house so wildly out of order."

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