The two-month-old oil spill, where BP's malfeasance was matched by government incompetence in preventing it from destroying the gulf ecology and economy from Louisiana to Florida, has cast a pall over America's spirit as wide and deep as the oil slick itself.
The war in Afghanistan is not going well, casualties are running at a nine-year high, and the country no longer wants to fight it, but to get out and come home.
Obama's "reset" in foreign policy seems to have yielded no more fruit than George W. Bush's crusade to "end tyranny in our world."
Three months after Iraqi elections, there is no government in Baghdad. The August deadline for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops will likely be missed. U.S. relations with Israel have rarely been worse.
Turkey, black-balled by the European Union, a friend and ally of 60 years, is thickening ties to Tehran and Damascus and emerging as first Muslim state of the Middle East and principal patron of the Palestinian cause.
The Russians are pushing Kyrgyzstan to force the United States out of Manas air base, a critical link in the resupply chain to Afghanistan.
Brazil is bitter that America trashed the deal it helped to negotiate to transfer half of Iran's nuclear fuel out of the country.
For the first time since the late 19th century, the United States is about to be surpassed as the world's first manufacturing power -- by China, which in Mao's time was still trying to make steel in backyard furnaces.
The British, rejecting Obama's call to continue stimulating the world's largest economies until sustainable growth is achieved, have decided to follow Greece and Spain into austerity and retrenchment.
Fearing debt defaults, European nations are slashing government payrolls and pensions, just as California, New York and other states are being forced to do to meet the constitutional requirement to balance their budgets.
America is facing a crisis of confidence in government, with the nation unable to win its wars, balance its budgets, control its borders, stop the bleeding of its manufacturing base or plug a hole in the ocean floor.
Should the sovereign debt bombs start going off, as they have lately threatened to do in Greece, bringing on another financial crisis to dwarf the one we have lately gone through, the crisis of democratic governments will become a crisis of democracy itself.
Perceived to have failed the country, the Bush Republicans were summarily dismissed in 2006 and 2008. Obama's Democrats go to the wall in November. Republicans will inherit the windfall. Yet, few harbor great hopes that the GOP has the cure for what ails America.
Perhaps the answers lie beyond the parameters of our present politics.
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