An American flag, draped on the side of One World Trade Center in New York.
An American flag, draped on the side of One World Trade Center, flaps in the wind, Thursday, June 14, 2012 in New York. Photo by AP
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Most people in the world believe that the U.S. is no more the world’s leading economic power.

So, at the age of 236, with its infrastructure lagging behind, growing debt, political gridlock and shrinking projection of strength, is America's global leadership over? After all, all empires eventually decline, so why not America?

Well, not yet, at least. With all the groaning, no other country today is as strong militarily, substantial economically, thriving academically and as free in spirit, as America. While, indeed, facing great challenges, America’s rivals' ascendance to power is far from being a fait accompli. China may hit the ceiling of economic growth, if her leaders continue to allow only the market to be free, while preventing the freedom of thought and of expression. India still has to reform itself in so many ways if she wants to sustain growth. Russia, with its oil addiction, acts more as a world spoiler than as a global leader. And about Europe – it's needless to say more.

So, in the short term, it is safe to assume that America will continue to be the most powerful country in the world. In the long run, it is largely up to the Americans whether they will overcome the challenges that inherently come with age and success.

While the long-term answer is in America, the consequences will be for all mankind. A few years ago a conference was held in Tehran that was entitled, “The World without America”. The characteristic rhetoric of the Iranian mullahs aside, what could the world look like without America? A world of Hitler, or Stalin, or both, a world where life, freedom and happiness are only for the strong and privileged, a world with more sick and more poor, a world with no computers and no internet, a world where cold interests always prevail over values.

For Israel, a tiny nation, threatened with genocide by Iran, much rejected regionally and largely discriminated against globally, America’s leadership is more than a "nice to have". No wonder that when an Israeli leader was asked by an American President how he could help Israel, the Israeli reply was: Be a good president for America.

Only those who wish for their children a world order set by China and Russia, and security and freedom protected by Europe and India, can be indifferent to the future of America.

So, God, if you care for your creation, please, bless America. Many happy returns!