US failed where India got things right: Ferguson Is American dominance on a decline? Harvard don and eminent historian of empire Niall Fergusson certainly thinks so. Speaking on the session 'American Delcine: Myth and Reality' on the second day of the India Today Conclave on Saturday, he referred to the debate that is raging in the United States among scholars and added his own views. While some international relations experts such as Joseph Nye believe the primacy of the United States continues unabated in R&D, university ranking, entrepreneurship or Nobel Prize, others such as author and columnist Fareed Zakaria hold that the United States is losing its top position in a host of vital parameters, from science to infrastructure to life expectancy, he said. "An obsession with decline is an integral part of American culture, dating back to the era of the Founding Fathers," said Fergusson. That concern is on its way to becoming a reality now, he observed. "The end of world dominance is coming soon for the United States," he said. "The US is unlikely to be as successful as Great Britain in imperial ambition despite its vast resources, wealth and capabilities." This, he feels, is because of three "American deficits": Manpower, attention and financial shortfalls. On manpower deficit, he says America has the chronic tendency of undermanning its presence in occupation zones, be it Iraq or Afghanistan, and then losing control over it. The American public is also quick to lose attention. Right after every occupation, public support withers away quickly, he said about the second point and gave instances of Korea, Vietnam, as well as Iraq. Thirdly, since 2007, the federal government has been hit by serious fiscal deficit and debt. "The great divergence" in living standards between the West and the rest of the world is on a dramatic decline, he said. In the 1970s, the gap was in the order of 20:1 (purchasing power parity). Today, the average American is only five times richer than the average Chinese. This gap is projected to close in the next two generations. Fergusson explained the main factors behind the decline of the West and the rise of the East in terms of six "killer apps" that the East is "downloading" fast from the West: competitiveness, scientific progress, rule of law, medical breakthroughs, consumerism and work ethics.