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Reports of America's decline are greatly exaggerated

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3. To be sure, it has been stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it remains the strongest fighting force in the world.

As just one indicator of its high-tech advantage, it has mastered stealth flight, while the Russians and Chinese are still in the theoretical planning stages for such technology – far behind America.

4. . Russia and China are suspicious of each other. Iran is at odds with key Arab countries. North Korea is a pariah. Libya is still in political rehab. Syria is trying to find itself in a globalized world. Meanwhile, the US has cautious but real allies in NATO, the European Union, the G-7 industrialized countries, and elsewhere that help it meet its national and international goals.

5. . Slowly but surely, self-government, free enterprise, and individual liberty are gaining ground around the world.

Take democracy. A century ago, just 2 of every 10 countries scored a 6 or higher in Freedom House's democracy scale – which ranges from 10 (completely democratic) to minus 10 (completely autocratic). In 2007, nearly 6 in 10 did.

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