There is a fin-de-siecle feeling in the air, of a change of guard. America's self-confidence is at a low, and its strategists and policymakers are conceding the world stage to China. Caught in two nasty and difficult-to-win wars, it suffers from imperial overstretch; and there are parallels between the rapid decline of Britain in the 20th century and a likely diminution of American power in the 21st century.
Several incidents in the recent past suggest that American power may diminish even more precipitously than the British power did. Consider America versus the insurgent, China.
In three major wars since 1950, Chinese proxies have faced Americans. In Korea, Chinese allies fought the Americans to a standstill; the North Vietnamese (then friends of China) defeated the Americans; in Afghanistan, Pakistan,China's ally, is humiliating the Americans after getting $25 billion in largesse from them. In other words, score: China 3, America 0.