America’s industrial base has eroded, we can no longer compete in a world market, we’re in hock to the Japanese … you’ve heard it all. So has Joseph Nye, and he doesn’t believe it. In the three years since Paul Kennedy’s influential book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers made it a truism that Britain’s precipitate decline was a template for our own, Nye, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Security at Harvard, has studied the careers of the two nations. Recently he refuted Kennedy in his book Bound to Lead . In a searching interview Fredric Smoler discovers why Nye believes the similarities between America in 1990 and Britain in 1890 are so much less alarming than they seem.