Christians make up about the same proportion of the world's population today as they did a century ago, but there has been a momentous shift in where they live.
American values differ from those of Western Europeans in many important ways. Most notably, Americans are more individualistic and are less supportive of a strong safety net than are the publics of Spain, Britain, France and Germany. However, Americans are coming closer to Europeans in not seeing their culture as superior to that of other nations.
Early in the post-Sept. 11 era, the projection of American military strength led to pervasive fears of an unleashed, and unchecked, hyperpower. More recently, however, the global financial crisis has turned the spotlight to America’s declining economic prowess and perceptions of a great power in decline.
The U.S. image abroad is more favorable than it was in the Bush years, but it now faces a new challenge: doubts about America’s superpower status and the belief that China either will replace or already has replaced the United States as the world’s leading superpower.