The Myth of America's Triumph

The declinists are wrong—but so are many of their critics.

Issue: January-February 2014

Josef Joffe, The Myth of America’s Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies (New York: Liveright, 2013), 352 pp., $26.95.

IN THE The Myth of America’s Decline, Josef Joffe offers a book-length version of what, by now, is a familiar line of argument—the antideclinist polemic. Joffe, the American-educated publisher of the German weekly Die Zeit, has been closely associated with neoconservative foreign-policy thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic for a generation. An engaging and entertaining writer, widely read in history and current events, Joffe scores many hits against his targets. But he goes too far in trying to counter the errors of declinism with a defense of American triumphalism. Instead of dispelling myths about America, he creates his own.

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