Newsnight: Is the US in decline?
21 September 2012 Last updated at 01:51 BST
A rising China, "intervention fatigue" and political polarisation are all legitimate threats to America's top-dog status.
In this election year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has attacked President Barack Obama's for presiding over American decline, but is this the reality of the country's place in the world?
Newsnight's diplomatic and defence editor Marc Urban travels to America to examine the causes - and reality of the country's decline.