USA Fading as Economic LeaderAs world leaders converge here for their semiannual trek to the capital of what is still the world’s most powerful economy, concern is rising in many quarters that the United States is retreating from global economic leadership just when it is needed most. The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have filled Washington with motorcades and traffic jams and loaded the schedules of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. But they have also highlighted what some see as a United States government so bitterly divided that it is on the verge of ceding the global economic stage it built at the end of World War II and has largely directed ever since. “It’s almost handing over legitimacy to the rising powers,” Arvind Subramanian, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, said of the United States in an interview on Friday. “People can’t be too public about these things, but I would argue this is the single most important issue of these spring meetings.” Washington’s retreat is not so much by intent, Mr. Subramanian said, but a result of dysfunction and a lack of resources to project economic power the way it once did. Because of tight budgets and competing financial demands, the United States is less able to maintain its economic power as China gains influence in Asia and elsewhere, and because of political infighting, it has been unable to formally share it either. President Obama is clearly trying to hold the stage, at least rhetorically. Pitching his efforts to secure a major trade accord with 11 other Pacific nations, he told reporters on Friday, “the fastest-growing markets, the most populous markers, are going to be in Asia, and if we do not help to shape the rules so that our businesses and our workers can compete in those markets, then China will set up the rules that advantage Chinese workers and Chinese businesses.” MORE