Is America to you more of a political/ideological concept, or is it a strictly defined nation?
Ours is a nation unlike most others that are organized on the basis of a common people sharing a single common culture and a single language who comes into possession of a territory and which projects its cultural norms through force of law.
Ours is a nation organized ultimately on a founding philosophy of the freedom of man and a political creed that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Because we are founded on a philosophical principle rather than on a common culture sharing a common religion and a common language, there is no reason that anyone, no matter where they were born, cannot become an American–since all that requires is moving here and belief in our founding creed. There is also no reason why we couldn’t admit every nation on the face of the planet as a state in the United States–note that admission would require that each admitted nation be reorganized as a Republic subject to strict voting oversight and strict adherence to the restrictions imposed by our Constitution. Restrictions that are intended to make our states more efficient in protecting the freedoms of its citizens.
There is, more importantly, no reason why the rest of the world can’t adopt our founding creed–replacing whatever cultural norms and cultural ideals that make the bedrock of that nation with a fundamental belief in the Freedom of Man, adopting similar notions to the Lockean ideal of the Pursuit of Happiness and an understanding that all Men are created equal regardless of the circumstance of their birth or the environment in which they live.
I don’t mean the rest of the world should become American. But if the rest of the world were to recognize–to the degree American civic philosophy recognizes–that freedom of personal choice to act as we will, believe as we will, speak as we will and create as we will unfettered by the limitations of those who may disapprove is the only true way to do justice to the full potential of every individual (to borrow a line from Star Trek)–then there would be no need for America as a “shining city on the hill,” and America could recede into the company of nations as one amongst many, unremarkable except that our history got us here first.
Secretly, I suspect most Americans actually wish for this.
Unfortunately there are too many people who believe that this sort of individual freedom is dangerous to a national community–that if you wear a hijab or worship in a synagog or believe in the flying spaghetti monster makes you a danger to the Body Politic.
And there are too many people who believe individual freedom stands in opposition to Progress–that either defending the rights of man is an anarchism or worse–that the “rights of man” should include every pampering swaddling idea anyone has ever come up with, essentially denying us of agency, as the State “takes care” of us, and flushing centuries of philosophy centered around personal self-development down the toilet.
So I don’t think America is in any danger in my lifetime of being “out-freedomed” by any other nation, since few nations have politicians who have truly cracked Locke or Hume or Smith or Rousseau.
But I believe, barring a devastating war or massive disease, the arc of history around the world has been towards greater personal freedom and greater economic freedom. So I believe sometime in the next hundred to a thousand years, the vast majority of the world will adopt principles similar to ours–and the notion that every man should be completely and totally free to choose how to live, what to believe, how to dress, what they say, what they create, how they work, what they buy, where they live and who they love will seem completely natural and the only sensible way to organize a planet.