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By Barry Rubin

Once one of the world’s most respected and powerful forces, America Superpower has disappeared. Worried friends and relatives are engaging in a desperate search. Rumors abound, including stories that Mr. Superpower has been kidnapped; committed suicide; or merely has gone off on a prolonged vacation.

While opinions differ over the birthdate of America Superpower, many agree that he was born June 6, 1944, on taking the lead in launching the liberation of Europe. Following this event, Mr. Superpower began a spectacular rise to prominence. At the age of one, he defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. At age two he began his long, ultimately successful, work of stopping the spread of Soviet imperialism and Communism.

At times, Mr. Superpower made mistakes by having some unsavory friends. Yet what always prevailed was his ability to do so much good in the world and correct previous errors.

Like many, America Superpower had a troubled youth at times. Involvement in such issues as Vietnam and Watergate made some lose faith in Mr. Superpower’s abilities. Indeed, many date the problem to that era as the beginning of the decline. Others believe that the wounds were largely self-inflicted by some of his own ungrateful children.

Nothing should obscure, however, the great accomplishments of Mr. Superpower. He defeated several major and many minor Super Villains; spread prosperity and progress; and was a role model for many.

For a while, it was hoped that the September 11 attacks would revive Mr. Superpower’s self-confidence and energy. But in recent years, Mr. Superpower has been reportedly depressed. Such medications as the Stimulus only made things worse.

Especially important, according to some observers, is the choice of a poorly qualified business manager who wished to “fundamentally transform” Mr. Superpower. He ran up debts, constantly criticized Mr. Superpower, and urged him to remain passive lest he do even more harm.

Sinking into debt, forgetting his many accomplishments, and wracked in guilt, Mr. Superpower has obviously been in serious trouble. Now, to the delight of enemies and horror of friends, Mr. Superpower has disappeared altogether.

How this mystery will end is unclear. Some think Mr. Superpower has gone forever; others claim he left behind a note promising to return in January 2013.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The GLORIA Center’s webside is: His blog is on PajamasMedia:

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