If all their bridges and infrastructure were destroyed, they could be rebuilt and recovered within ten years. If all their buildings were reduced to rubble, it would take only a matter of months to reconstruct them all just as they had been. There is no physical damage that could be done to the United States that could reduce it from a first world to a third world country. Third world countries are not like that because they lack money, resources or opportunity. They are like that because they lack brains and strong character. You could give a trillion dollars a second to Africa and if all of it was lost to graft and corruption, not a single penny would ever be set aside to actually improve the conditions there an iota. The profits from the natural resources alone in Africa would have paid for a highway system a thousand times superior to anything on the planet many times over. Yet, it is difficult to even find a road that is drivable and passable during the best weather in most parts of that country.
If a nation loses the good stock of it's citizens, the best and the brightest, there is no force in the universe that can restore it to it's past glory. If they lost their quality people, no government legislation or program could delay the inevitable for so much as a day. A nation is the sum total of the quality of the people who live in it and if it looks and smells like sh*t, it is because the people who live there are content with things that way. This applies to most of North America right now. It could be said of large parts of the Western world that until recently most people did not see anything wrong. They didn't notice any decline in the quality of their surroundings because the quality of their internals had declined so sharply they weren't registering subtle changes anymore. It wasn't until they started to have trouble breathing and began to fear for their lives after nightfall that they began to realize something had gone terribly awry.
There is no cheating Mother Nature, sir. If you drive her out with a pitchfork you will find she will return again and again.
I believe this decline is always a result of the shift of expression from the Neanderthal side of our gene pool to the Sapiens side. Whenever you see increasing disorder, chaos, conflict, decay and degeneracy in European countries, you are seeing the Neanderthal (the good side) slip away and retreat before the expression of the ugliest and basest side, which is the Sapiens. Neanderthal is the origin of conservative instincts. Sapiens is the origin of unraveling, disintegration and decay.
You know when you see'em start to make fun of Wally and the Cleaver, they lack the imagination to conceive of the alternative possibilities. They don't know just what kind of horror is waiting on the other side of the domestication, self-control and restraint that is the Mousterian legacy. Once you start to go Sapiens, you can't go back. If your people forget the virtues of restraint and management of the passions for the greater good, they will be dead before they can recover these graces.
Nietzsche's great genius was in describing the interplay of these Apollonian and Dionysian instincts in men over two hundred years before we came to understand their actual basis in our genome. There's an instinct towards order, serenity and introversion we get from the Neanderthal. On the other side there is a mad, orgiastic, lunatic celebration of all change and conflict, even the kind that leads us to destruction, from the crazed killer that is Sapiens. Guess which aspect of man's nature is being expressed in the Western world right now.