This week the BBC's diplomatic and defence editor posed the question "Is the United States an Empire in decline." (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19667754)
The current argument about the United States' standing in the world is an odd thing.
Mitt Romney says the US has abandoned global leadership and is slipping behind, but does not really believe that the country is in long term decline.
President Barack Obama on the other hand, insists that his country, "is back", but appears to harbour private doubts it.
Whatever the political contortions required of the two candidates, the debate is fuelled by underlying public attitudes.
Polls suggest that when asked whether the country is "in decline", 60-70% of Americans will say Yes.
In recent years, hundreds of thousands of books have sold in the US with a similar message, leaving one reviewer to comment wearily, "decline has the same fascination for historians that love has for lyrical poets".
What do Newsvine readers think?