Via reader Norm, I obtained a link to a long and interesting article on the state of the US by the staff of the German news magazine Der Spiegel, titled Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation.
The article takes as its starting point the chaos wreaked by Hurricane Sandy and how it revealed the lack of proper planning and foresight. Other symptoms pointed to that are most glaring is the neglect and decay of basic infrastructure and essential services because rather than pay for these collective goods, the money is being diverted into individual pockets, with most of the wealth going into just a few of them. We are essentially living off the investments made in the 1950s and 1960s.
The article says that what little reinvestment that was attempted was thwarted by Republicans and Tea Party activists seemingly determined to bring the country grinding to a halt in order to prevent Obama winning a second term, coupled with an obstinate determination to view any assertions of decline as borderline treasonous, since it goes against the solemn creed that America is the greatest nation on Earth, always has been, and always will be.
One has to be wary of sweeping generalizations about nations. The US has tremendous human and material resources that it can call upon if needed to reverse the trend. But the warning signs are clearly there that the political decision-making system in the US has become dysfunctional and that something needs to done to arrest the decline.