Yes, some intellectuals like Fareed Zakaria said that this was coming.
After WW 2 the US basically stood alone. The old USSR had a strong military but in just about everything else, save a hiccup with Sputnik, it was USA, USA for a long time..even the Olympics.
But things change, circumstances change, and challenges change.
I was born in the very late 1950’s and grew up on Air Force Bases. Yes, I remember the debacle in Vietnam all too well; our dads went there. Mine: twice.
I lived in Japan (on Air Force Bases) and, many of us got home sick; “The World” is what we called the US. “When do you get to go back to The World?” was a common question.
This was the days before things like ESPN; we saw games that were old, listened to them on shortwave radio, etc.
And I served in the Navy for a few years and saw some of Europe. Our Navy lead the way; we had ports in different places; seeing other places made me just a bit smug.
Then came the mid 1980’s to 1991 when I was in grad school. Sure, many of the students were international (“hey why are you working that hard…you are an American! Yes, I studied like the Chinese students did…) and, of course, many of them had unflattering things to say about the US of A. And yes, my American grad student friends went along..and at times I asked “if we are so horrible, why are you here?” The understanding is that we, being the Leviathan, should just accept it in good humor. But I saw cases of “The Ugly Foreigner” right in my own country and didn’t like it.
And yes, there are still aspects of the US that are outstanding, e. g. freedom of speech. Of course, the wokes and the Bible thumpers would love to change that..
But along comes the pandemic and oh my goodness, we suck, big time. Other countries (e. g. Canada) have done much better. But they have this “we are in this together” ethic that the US lacks…badly lacks.
Want to party: “can’t tell me what to do.” \
Want a massive get together sans social distancing? You aren’t the boss of me!
Oh..this great cause! Well, massive protests are ok! (yes, they probably spread it a bit) though masking (present at some of them) and many staying the hell away may have mitigated it a bit. But..I think that conservatives have a point when they attack liberal hypocrisy:
We just don’t have that “all hands on deck” unity that other countries can draw on.
We are configured to be skeptical of “expert opinion” and given how poorly the media reports said opinion (and they are awful..they ALWAYS get it wrong when it is the least bit technical; journalists are not intellectuals)
Herp Derp: “virus is smaller than your mask mesh” (yep, but gets to you via droplets..it just doesn’t float by iteslf)
“if your mask works why do you care about mine?” (masks better prevent the spread from an infected person..inverse square law…and when worn by the non-infected person it can help reduce the dose of COVID19…it is risk mitigation, not risk elimination..think of resistors in series….
But people listen to such “common sense” garbage and blow off science.
Anyhow, I envy ex pats but we’ve screwed up so badly, we aren’t wanted anywhere.
Ah…we were overrated. No…I am not saying that other countries are better in all ways or even in most ways. We do some things very well. But pulling together when it requires subordinating immediate gratification..we are awful at that, at least at this point in our history.
EVERYONE thinks that THEY know what is best.