As part of the cover feature, "Don't Bet Against the United States" was penned by the excellent David Von Drehle and later in the issue, James Poniewozik wrote "Guilty Pleasure" on the Anthony Bourdain travel show No Reservations.
I've noted this previously about Von Drehle, but his work almost always strikes me as solidly researched and well written (with this piece no exception). In the view of "if you like this, you'll love...", I'd recommend the Von Drehle book "Triangle: The Fire that Changed America" (which I reviewed here) to anyone a fan of his Time writing.
The Poniewozik story examines the phenomenon of Bourdain's television show in a state of self-examination. Perhaps not as big picture as Von Drehle's piece about America's place in the world, but an interesting read nonetheless.