Wow this has turned into an interesting thread.
Well, to add yet another non-American perspective I offer my humble canuck opinion. As far as I can see, most of the problems facing America both domestically and internationally are caused by corporations run amok. There is a frightening ultra capitalist/consumerism (embraced wholly by both the left & right) mentality in the United States, fueled by a media & advertising industry that reaches into every corner of daily life, both overtly and subliminally. Information overload.
I see and meet a lot of foreign students that study in Canada, and in their countries a person goes to school to learn and better themselves. In the United States, everything is tied to consumerism, even the education system. A young person there is'nt going to school to learn, their going to school so they can get turned into productive little consumers, get that ridiculously high paying job, buy three cars, buy that huge house, buy those new shoes.
Someone here said that people are no longer going to the United States, which is false. There are millions of latin Americans flooding into the United States every year "illegally", for the purpose of generating new American born citizens down the road to pay off the triilion dollar deficits and billion dollar wars that we see today.
While I am at heart a capitalist, the "Globalization" of the worlds economy, pushed in large part by America deeply worries me. I no longer fear world or nuclear wars, peace is far more profitable. Why nuke your enemy when you can sell them sneakers, or better yet get them to make you sneakers? (Case in point, China & the U.S.) This ever spreading consumerism is probably why many people around the world dislike the U.S., even though their own governments perpetrate it on them and then use America as a convenient scapegoat for all the worlds ills.
At heart I honestly think most Americans are decent well meaning people. But they need to start reigning in the corporations and special interests that control the congress.
Well, sorry if I went off there. Just my opinion.