A report by the National Intelligence Council (available on Scribd) confirms what many world-watchers have long been foretelling – that by 2030, emerging powers like China, Brazil, India and Russia will be in position to challenge the United States’ sole superpower position.While explaining that our current economic funk is a temporary and inevitable setback, the report – penned by some of the nation’s top global analysts – indicates that the world’s “unipolar moment” is about to end:
“With the rapid rise of other countries, the ‘unipolar moment’ is over and no country – whether the U.S., China, or any other country – will be a hegemonic power.”
Demographic shifts and technological transformations will drive the decentralization of global power. The report also cautions that just because America could soon lose its number one ranking doesn’t mean we’ll be irrelevant:
“The U.S. most likely will remain ‘first among equals’ among the other great powers, due to the legacy of its leadership role in the world and the dominant role it has played in international politics across the board in both hard and soft power.”
Of course, accepting relevance for dominance is a sizable step down.
As the report points out, predicting the future is a chancy game at best and word of the demise of the US’s sole superpower status may be “greatly exaggerated.” But I’m inclined to believe the experts on this one – the forces currently driving tomorrow’s global transformation will be beyond the control of just one country. Inevitably the US will have to deal with another superpower trying to share the stage, similar to how we did in the past.
That, of course, doesn’t mean we have to fold the cards! Politico just put up a nice article on plans to grow the economy 4% per year. With that kind of growth, it’s hard to imagine the US ceding enough economic dominance for other countries like China to finally catch up in the next two decades.
And even if China or some other power did surpass the US to take the top spot on the superpower ranking?
Americans are the classic underdogs. We love a good challenge now and then, and this one would fit the bill perfectly…