Barely six years have elapsed since President Bush took office and the much coveted 21st century belongs to America is about to come to an abrupt end. America's pre-eminence in four corners of the world is being challenged by friends and foes alike.
In America's own backyard, Latin America-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is spear heading a crusade to undermine US interests across the region. He has successfully garnered the support of the leaders of Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador to propagate his cause. Together they have challenged American supremacy by embarking on a campaign to reclaim oil and gas fields from western companies and put them directly under state control.
Across the Atlantic, Europe smitten by the Iraq war and deeply hostile to the unilateralist agenda of the Bush administration, has at best offered nominal assistance. Rather, given the opportunity the Europeans-notably the French, the Germans and the British have behaved more as foes than American allies. French intransigence in Lebanon, Europe's refusal to commit significant troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, Britain's interference in Palestine, and French and British hostility towards a Darfur settlement have damaged America's standing in the world and eroded her legitimacy.
Russia and China subdued by twenty or so years of American power have reawakened to counter American inspired revolutions sweeping Central Asia. Uzbekistan returned to Moscow's sphere of influence, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus successfully thwarted US backed uprisings; America failed to press home the political gains made in Ukraine, and Georgia witnessed a severe backlash from Russia over its ties with Washington.
Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan the minnow states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) have become emboldened enough to demand withdrawal of American bases. America's gains in this region almost stand to naught.
Worse still is that the war on terror has inadvertently solidified China's relationship with Russia-undoing years of American strategic planning to keep the two erstwhile enemies apart. The China-Russian alliance reinvigorated with economic growth and a common desire to see a bipolar world has spread its tentacles across the globe harming US interests.
Russia unfazed by American threats is equipping Venezuela and Iran with modern weaponry. Chinese energy companies are signing oil deals in places that have traditionally been the preserve of American oil giants. In the Middle East, both Russian and China have taken strong objection to America's position over Iran. On the Korean peninsula, Beijing's unfettered support for Pyongyang has exposed Washington's inability to prevent North Korea from becoming nuclear.
Throughout the Muslim world America's credibility has plummeted to an all-time low. The ferocity of the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan has broken the back of the US army and forced President Bush to abandon his plans to advance democracy. Bush unable to extricate America from Iraq and Afghanistan has had to revert to the 'Truman Doctrine' and seek the help of secular autocracies like Syria, Iran and Pakistan. Instead of reshaping the Muslim world in America's image, the nefarious policies of the Bush administration has Islamised the region, politicised the Muslim masses to awaken from their spiritual slumber and galvanised the Muslim intelligentsia into a powerful force for political Islam- to sum up the last six years- it is suffice to say that America is precipitating the birth of the Caliphate.
After two decades of dominating world affairs, America finds itself at the mercy of her friends and enemies. Graham Fuller former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council described America's predicament correctly when he wrote in the latest issue of the National Interest, "diverse countries have deployed a multiplicity of strategies and tactics designed to weaken, divert, alter, complicate, limit delay or block the Bush agenda through death by a thousand cuts."
So what happens after America has fallen from its perch as the world's sole super power? Europe is too divided to take up the mantle of the leading state. Russia has yet to translate her economic strength into political capital to position herself as the pre-eminent power. Both China and India lack the political will and the experience to affect world politics. For the foreseeable future, both countries will be confined to their respective spheres of influence.
The country that wishes to supplant America must possess a huge population, abundant resources, a universal ideology and the political will to succeed. The most obvious candidate is the Muslim world under the Caliphate, which Bush has often spoken about.
Abid Mustafa is a political analyst who specialises in affairs of Islamic countries and organizations.