Once again, I am done with this thread. It was my pleasure, but...although you seem like a smart and nice individual, you're heavily brainwashed and "programmed" not to accept any external views from the people with experience. Being twice in Iraq does not mean you have seen it all, actuelly, you have seen the darkest page in our SHORT history only. The world is a beautiful place with beautiful people, not only the USA. I come from a very poor country, with the history of civil wars in past 15 years. My mother (MS degree, 40 years of working experience as a judge and very high gov't positions in the past) is making about $600/month, just to illustrate the differences. Yet, my friends over there live much better (relaxed, more time with the families...) than we do here. You could question why I don't return over there. It is a complicated answer that involves my wife (born and raised American), her parents, my children, my absence from there in past 15 years, my dynamic mentality and urge for new challenges that is missing over there...
So, simply said -- NO, the United States is far, far, far from the best place on Earth. And is getting further from there every minute.
We lack here many important things like medical care, FREE public housing for unfortunate and elderly, etc. Our life goals are too materialistic as compared to other nations. Yes, a lot of them even put more hours into their jobs, but they use their family quality time wisely on the other hand.
There is no simple answer to your last reply. Whatever you listed there has nothing to do with the diplomacy. The real diplomacy would have been if there was no war in Iraq and if people over there were happy. The opposite is what happened over there -- an ultimatum to the country leader and his sons to leave in 48 hrs or... 4-year war with no end, 200,000 - 500,000 dead Iraquis. Similar happened with Iran -- I hope they come up with the line like North Korea did, so Bush does not do another stupid thing before his time is up...
The USA debt is $8.5 trillion (was $5.6 trillion in 2000). The USA GDP is about $13 trillion. That is 65% ratio as of 2006.
Lets look around:
As of 2006:
China -- 16% ratio
Russia -- 9%
Switzerland -- 48%
France -- 65%
Germany -- 67%
Australia -- 16%
India -- 54%
UAE -- 14%
UK -- 43%
So, do not applaud to the Gov't -- they are doing a TERRIBLE job managing this. And if you cannot do better with your finances -- I feel sorry for you, too...