China is actually a superpower now, but nobody recognizes them because they don't openly use their power and influence on the world. They do it very quietly and discreetly and is why they are called the "sleeping giant". China is the largest holder of US Treasury bonds in the world. We pay over 25% of our budget every month to the Chinese in INTEREST payments on the money that we borrow from them for our National Debt (which is just them buying US Treasury bonds, that have a 0% default rate and are backed by the US Government 100%, meaning those who purchase them WILL get their money).
If China was to call in all their Treasury Bonds, the United States of America would go bankrupt and we would be owned by the Chinese. (Well, technically we're already owned by the Chinese in much the same way as the bank still owns your house as long as you still have a mortgage). This is why we do alot of things with the Chinese that people sit back and say, "Why are we working with communists? Why are these companies sending all their jobs over to China." That's exactly why. The government gave those companies huge tax incentives to move to China to employ the Chinese people (at a much lower rate than they would have to pay in the USA) thereby offering Americans cheaper products but also giving the Chinese what they want and allowing the Chinese government to make money (as it's a communist state) that WE could turn around and borrow from them!
We work with the Chinese in ways that our people would never agree with if they knew about it. We give them 'secrets' all the time to keep the flow of money coming into our country because our government is quite inefficient and much too large. The Chinese military is much stronger, and larger, than we could imagine and by sheer number of forces, they could probably win if they were to get involved. They don't want to get involved yet...but at some point in time, they will, and when they do - it will be ugly for everyone in the world. Nobody wants to wake the sleeping giant.
But eventually it will happen. The United States will fall, probably as a result of economic problems, as will all of the other superpowers in the world (Britain, France, Germany, Russia, etc). Every Empire eventually falls.
The Chinese people have been around much longer than any other civilization of people, we would be well served to do as they do and stay out of other people's problems. We should focus on our own people and not meddle so much in other people's affairs, which would greatly benefit our own people and perhaps we could have lower taxes, better health care, less of a poverty gap, etc.. It is because of our constant meddling that so many people hate Americans and have these stereotypes of Americans. Although, many countries do come to us for assistance, especially 3rd World countries, because they know that we will help them. We almost always do - as long as there is something in it for us.
Also, we give money to every other country in the world, and we have a hand in the majority of the leaders in our world being in power right at this very moment. If we don't like someone else who might win an election in El Salvador, the CIA goes in and discreetly assassinates them. We do try to manipulate many things in the world, at the same time, when something happens, the world looks to us to see what we're going to do before they follow suit. Bush's Iraq War pulled our clout down a notch, but Obama will bring it back because the world loves Obama. That does not mean that that USA won't one day fall, though, because he is only a temporary fix, much like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. But Obama will continue working with the Chinese because he also still needs their money.
That's how it is. People should not be so naive to think that we are the greatest or that we do no wrong or that our way is the best way or that other cultures are not interesting and beneficial. We can learn from other countries, but we choose not to because everyone else in the world has 'taught' us that we are the best. In the same way that children learn what they live and we teach people how to treat us - the world has given the USA this over-inflated ego, largely based on WWI and WWII, when we had to help the countries in Europe. That's why even the Europeans pay so much attention to us and why our election was on their news as much as it was on our news, although their elections aren't on our news that way.
On a separate note, as for people being condescending, it seems to me that a few of the very same ones who are pointing it out to others behave in exactly the same manner, or even who behave worse because they often resort to name-calling when they have no other intelligent argument to make or who find something else to nit-pick about, such as the person's inability to use paragraphs, as was stated in the "What do you think about American forum." Some people on this site think that they are the most intelligent being on the planet and that they are always right. That is not the case when you are dealing with opinions or things that have evidence to the contrary. Every opinion can be backed by some sort of evidence supporting that opinion. Everyone needs to be more respectful. Certain people are have over-inflated egos of themselves and become very upset when they are challenged by someone they see is not actually a moron. Don't get me wrong - there are people out there who are ignorant and who are simply dumb, but in order to be both respected and considered civilized in a debate, you should not go around calling people names and acting immaturely when someone disagrees with you. Some people should take a look at their own behavior before pointing out negative things about other people's behavior. People often hate qualities in other people that are actually most prevalent in themselves. It's an outward way of self-hatred. They just don't want to see it in themselves.
Certainly everyone CAN be respectful; some people CHOOSE not to be - and then wonder why a lot of people don't like them. If more than one person - hell, if more than 10 people - tell you that you are condescending or confrontational or arrogant or think you're better than everyone else - then that is exactly the behavior that you are exhibiting and you should be adult enough to check yourself!