There is no question today that the balance of power among nations is in the process of making a major shift.
Superpowers whose status had been derived or inherited from a colonial past, or perhaps from the simple fortune of markets, are facing a group of newly empowered independent countries.
China has already attained superpower status simply from its economic influence and is rapidly catching up militarily.
India has long reacted to colonial influence but now seems to have the power and strategic position to act on that 'independence'. It's 'rebelliousness' is taking place in a way that every country, except apparently America, could have predicted. India is one of many countries that clearly signals it expects a wide scale war soon, and is reshuffling its positions in a pragmatic way.
In Latin America there is a rapidly growing center of power whose focus, more than anything, is freedom from the perceived negative influence of the United States.
Likewise in Asia, a significant power group that would like the U.S. to balance China but is very likely to start reacting against the U.S. soon for many reasons ranging from U.S. military bases to economic factors to the legacy of the Vietnam war.
America right now is responding poorly to the change.
The United States has had many decades to create a world in which it would be safe to be an ex superpower. It has not done so.
As time runs out it is necessary to focus on the problems ahead and look for solutions that might create a softer landing. Instead politicians are making token gestures toward adapting as their actions betray a bizarre "last stand" mentality.
A good example of national flexibility towards change is in Russia's response to the widely perceived threat Islam poses.
Russia, which has Muslim countries at its doorstep, expresses greater concern about radical Islam than other countries, but paradoxically does not transfer that fear into a confrontational mindset.
Perhaps the best explanation is that Russians, primitive as they may be, actually have better social leadership, or better collective education, than the other countries listed. Russians have no intention of being overwhelmed by some religious horde, but neither do they cooperate with agendas that sacrifice their ability to deal squarely with other peoples. If a person looks only at strategy, a global chessboard, the Russians are quietly advancing as America loudly stumbles.
It is easy, and tempting, to look at all of Russia's problems, vast corruption being number one, and underestimate them as a country. But Russia is facing the future with two open eyes. America is not.