When President Bush delivered his final address to the UN last week—harping on terrorism but barely bothering to mention the crisis in the global economy—world leaders in attendance buzzed about the disconnect, along with the disheveled hair and ill-fitting suit that seemed to mark him as a finished man. But the UN speech marked something bigger, writes Der Spiegel in a cover story: the collapse of American dominance.
When Bush came to power, the president's mentors talked about the "end of history," with smaller nations inevitably becoming miniature versions of the US. Bush's unsuccessful wars harmed that vision, but it's the waning of economic power, and the failure to convert foreigners to the free-market gospel, that has put the nail in the coffin. Now sovereign wealth funds are buying up American assets, and the end of American arrogance may be upon us: Bush even had to call Hu Jintao to get him behind the bailout.