There is no denying that the US has had a terrible decade; its worst since the decade between 1965 and 1975, which covered Vietnam, the urban riots, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and Watergate.
But are the declinists overstating their case, and can the US be so easily written off?
Though not a country usually associated with self-doubt, it is worth remembering that declinism has been a common thread through US history, whether it was post-Sputnik, post-Vietnam, post-Watergate or post-Tehran.
Gore Vidal was even more precise when he identified September 16, 1985, as the date of the fall of the American empire: the day the Commerce Department announced the US had become a debtor nation.
Each time, of course, the US rebounded (although Vidal was definitely on to something). It is for good reason that America's great national laureate is Mark Twain, who warned of the perils of rashly composed obituaries.
Notions of American decline have been amplified, of course, by the rise of the rest.
And, unquestionably, China poses a more serious long-term threat to the US than the Soviet Union, which did not possess a durable economic model, or Japan, which did not have a big enough population.
Still, by the time the US approaches the emotional landmark of the 50th anniversary of 9/11 my hunch is that it will still hold global sway as the pre-eminent economic, military, diplomatic, technological and cultural power.