Bemusement at the rancorous divisions of American politics and schadenfreude at the humbling of America’s much-touted model of capitalism are the most common reactions to the US today. Among increasing numbers of people the main response seems to be a lack of interest. The world has moved on from the time when the US could be described as the “last remaining hyper-power”. Though it still has an awesome military capability, America’s capacity to impose its will in any enduring fashion has been diminished irreversibly. A condition of perpetual warfare has left the US more or less bankrupt, a state of affairs that can be sustained only as long as China chooses to fund the federal debt. Stagnant for a generation, the standard of living of the majority is falling and the country’s infrastructure rotting away. Increasingly the US resembles Latin America some decades ago. The predominant response has been denial, with the Republican party degenerating into a squabbling apocalyptic cult and Obama’s principal weakness seeming to be his palpable sanity. The best that can be hoped for is that voters do not opt for a kind of elective psychosis.