In newspapers across the world, commentators believe Hurricane Katrina marks a profound change in the way the US is perceived at home and abroad.
Some speak of the American "myth" being shattered by the poverty and racial divisions which they say the disaster has revealed.
Others hope the floods will douse US "arrogance" over its refusal to ratify the Kyoto accord on climate change. An Italian paper, however, jumps to President George Bush's defence.
Michael Streck in Germany's Die Welt
Hurricane Katrina will bury itself into the American consciousness in the same way 9/11 or the fall of Saigon did. The storm did not just destroy America's image of itself, but also has the power to bring an end to the Republican era sooner than expected. America is ashamed.
Stephan Hebel in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine
Bush's people will say that the moment of need and willingness to help should not be poisoned by political manoeuvres. Maybe this will serve them well enough in a media world where images of victims and heroes are valued more highly than complex background. But then the lie would have won - against the desire to understand things so as to avoid them.
Jean-Pierre Aussant in France's Figaro
This tragic incident reminds us that the United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto accords. Let's hope the US can from now on stop ignoring the rest of the world. If you want to run things, you must first lead by example. Arrogance is never a good adviser!
Philippe Grangereau in France's Liberation
Bush is completely out of his depth in this disaster. Katrina has revealed America's weaknesses: its racial divisions, the poverty of those left behind by its society, and especially its president's lack of leadership.
Robi Ronza in Italy's Il Giornale
Everything can be used in Europe to badmouth Bush, so it may be worth clarifying a few key points: New Orleans was below sea level even before drilling for oil began. Second, there is no certain proof that the increase in the mean global temperature is a consequence of the emission of so-called greenhouse gases. Finally, the federal government has no specific responsibility for the post-hurricane chaos.
Yildirim Turker in Turkey's Radikal
The biggest power of the world is rising over poor black corpses. We are witnessing the collapse of the American myth. In terms of the USA's relationship with itself and the world, Hurricane Katrina seems to leave its mark on our century as an extraordinary turning point.
Editorial in Iran's Siyasat-e Ruz
Hurricane Katrina has proved that America cannot solve its internal problems and is incapable of facing these kinds of natural disasters, so it cannot bring peace and democracy to other parts of the world. Americans now understand that their rulers are only seeking to fulfil their own hegemonistic goals.
Editorial in Iran's Jomhuri-ye Eslami
The devastating waves of Katrina have unmasked the real face of America's profoundly corrupt society, and proved that under the beautiful surface of modern American life, there are decadent thoughts that always try to exploit the situation to fulfil inhuman goals. Although Bush and his team proved their inefficiency in dealing with the disaster, its aftermath proved that America's corrupt system is the main culprit.
Shen Dingli in China's Dongfang Zaobao
Katrina is testing the US. Katrina is also creating an opportunity for world unity. Cuba and North Korea's offer of sympathy and aid to the US could also result in some profound thinking in the US, and the author hopes that it will not miss this opportunity.
Editorial in Malaysia's Berita Harian
What's more saddening is that there have been riots and looting in New Orleans. It turns out that in a developed country with the most powerful economy in the world, some of its citizens are not much different from the poor in Third World countries.
Xiong Shu Li in Malaysia's Sin Chew Jit Poh
Co-operation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can no longer be delayed, but there are still countries - including the US - which still do not take the issue seriously. However, faced with global disasters, all countries are in the same boat. The US hurricane disaster is a "modern revelation", and all countries of the world including the US should be aware of this.
Editorial in Media Indonesia
The superpower United States has finally succumbed to nature's wrath. The US must eventually admit that it is unable to deal with the victims itself. Something has changed: Hurricane Katrina has destroyed some of the US's arrogance.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, quoted in El Nacional
The rich were able to leave, the poor stayed there, and it is now that they are evacuating them, four, five days later. That is the model they want to sell us. Racial segregation - the mayor of New Orleans said it - is a question of social classes; the rich were able to leave, the poor were left, enduring the hurricane. It is capitalism, in its extreme individualist phase.
BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.