My six year old daughter just penned and sent her first letter to Santa. The two things she asked for were a package of mint chewing gum [check!] and ALL the superpowers in the world... After some contemplation and careful consideration Santa wrote back to her - here is his reply.
The international system is shifting in ways not yet fully understood. Critics have pointed out the Obama administration's failure to articulate its vision for the U.S. role in a world evolving along so many dimensions. Yet the administration is not alone.
The U.S. has tried to act as the world's policeman while ignoring the mounting costs, our increasing divergence from allies, the growing ability of regional powers to resist our influence, and the increasing decay of our political institutions at home.
What, after all, are we to make of a planet with a single superpower that lacks genuine enemies of any significance and that, to all appearances, has nonetheless been fighting a permanent global war with... well, itself -- and appears to be losing?
For now, China is having its cake and eating it too. Hopefully and presumably, once China rises to the zenith of its power in the coming years, it will mature to the point where it will no longer want to be seen as both a developing and developed country.
Why won't I say that this is the greatest land on earth? For starters, because no land is the greatest land. Greatness is a pie that all have a piece of, but none can claim as their own exclusive possession.
Beneath the pomp and splendor of Obama's journey through Asia has lurked a far tawdrier vision -- of a much weakened president presiding over a much weakened superpower, both looking somewhat desperately for succor abroad.