Some folks in Europe think we're no longer part of it. Hard to argue with some of the points. And really, when a German is using the United States as a cautionary tale about the decline of democratic values, that should tell us something. Here's a guy from England... and when you have the English criticizing you for becoming too oligarchic, there's probably something to it. It's hard for me to accept that the US and Western Europe still have a core set of beliefs we share. When a terrorist attacks and one responds with wars and Patriot Acts and the other responds with a call for more democracy, the difference is apparent. (Note: I'm not saying Western Europe is perfect. They have huge issues with the monied folks and divisive internal politics. But there does seem to be a major drift in the relationships that were forged during and after WWII.) Another example: Rule of law. The ideology has become so blinding that our judicial system (You know, that part of government that is based on Western European and Classical ideas that is supposed to make just decisions about our lives and society?) is dysfunctional. Here's a look... Then again, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and a host of other recent horrible rulings by the Supreme Court kind of take the polish off the idea of impartial judges working for the common good. The fact that we have legal scholars justifying torture and undermining the legal precedent that we, the United States, along with our European Allies developed and supported at Nuremberg is astonishing to me. Yep, it is bracing to consider, but given where we are now, we no longer stand for Western ideas that were the defining values for much of the last century. Welcome to the new Rome.