Superpower not so powerful
It's interesting that many members of the Reality Based Community (RBC) who have challenged the notion that the United States can "democratize" Iraq and "remake" the Middle East are so, so confident that the United States -- if only it wanted -- could end the current Mideast crisis as well as make peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Well, I remain very skeptical about that and have concluded that in many ways what we are seeing now in the beginning of a process in which the U.S. is beginning to lose its ability to take the lead in global affairs. I don't know how long it will all take. Recall that in the early 1950's pundits were still referring to Britain and France as major world powers. It took several crises, including the 1956 Suez War to demonstrate that that was not the case. So I think that like The Continental character in SNL played by Christopher Walken -- a once-upon-a-time "player" who thinks that at his old age he can still seduce the babes, Condi Rice is travelling around the world and operating under the assumption that the U.S. can still force its will on the world. And notwithstanding their criticism of the neocons, many foreign policy types in Washington share that assumption and are fantasizing about "shuttle diplomacy" in the Middle East, Camp David Peace Summits, etc. etc. It's over guys! Get a life.