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Is America over? Not by a long shot.

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•It remains by far the world's leading magnet for immigrants, allowing it to draw on millions of bright, hardworking people. It's hard to exaggerate such brain power, which constantly helps renew the country.

•It has trustworthy allies in NATO, the EU, the Group of 20 industrialized countries, and elsewhere that usually help it meet national and international goals. Contrast that with, let's say, China and Russia. They suspect each other and often lack such global support.

•It benefits because most of its adversaries are largely constrained and less threatening than they used to be. North Korea is a pariah. Syria is on the ropes. Hugo Chávez is not well liked and is ailing. Fidel Castro is a has-been. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are dead. The Soviet Union is gone. Those are tectonic shifts in world politics that we rarely appreciate in full.•It possesses a military that is far ahead of its rivals, allowing the US to operate at great distances in unique ways. Difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan are not a commentary on its military capability, but on strategy and the challenges of nation-building.

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