Jump to content
Accelerated Evolution

U.S. Global Dominance "Set to Wane"


Recommended Posts

US global dominance 'set to wane'

US economic, military and political dominance is likely to decline over the next two decades, according to a new US intelligence report on global trends.

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicts China, India and Russia will increasingly challenge US influence.

It also says the dollar may no longer be the world's major currency, and food and water shortages will fuel conflict.

However, the report concedes that these outcomes are not inevitable and will depend on the actions of world leaders.

It will make sombre reading for President-elect Barack Obama, the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington says, as it paints a bleak picture of the future of US influence and power.

The US will remain the single most important actor but will be less dominant

Global Trends 2025

"The next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks," says Global Trends 2025, the latest of the reports that the NIC prepares every four years in time for the next presidential term.

Washington will retain its considerable military advantages, but scientific and technological advances; the use of "irregular warfare tactics"; the proliferation of long-range precision weapons; and the growing use of cyber warfare "increasingly will constrict US freedom of action", it adds.

Nevertheless, the report concludes: "The US will remain the single most important actor but will be less dominant."

Nuclear weapons use

The NIC's 2004 study painted a rosier picture of America's global position, with US dominance expected to continue.

But the latest Global Trends report says that rising economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil will offer the US more competition at the top of a multi-polar international system.

The EU is meanwhile predicted to become a "hobbled giant", unable to turn its economic power into diplomatic or military muscle.

A world with more power centres will be less stable than one with one or two superpowers, it says, offering more potential for conflict.

Global warming, along with rising populations and economic growth will put additional strains on natural resources, it warns, fuelling conflict around the globe as countries compete for them.

"Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments and technological innovation and acquisition, but we cannot rule out a 19th Century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries," the report says.

"Types of conflict we have not seen for a while - such as over resources - could re-emerge."

Such conflicts and resource shortages could lead to the collapse of governments in Africa and South Asia, and the rise of organised crime in Eastern and Central Europe, it adds.

And the use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely, the report says, as "rogue states" and militant groups gain greater access to them.

But al-Qaeda could decay "sooner than people think", it adds, citing the group's growing unpopularity in the Muslim world.

"The prospect that al-Qaeda will be among the small number of groups able to transcend the generational timeline is not high, given its harsh ideology, unachievable strategic objectives and inability to become a mass movement," it says.

The NIC does, however, give some scope for leaders to take action to prevent the emergence of new conflicts.

"It is not beyond the mind of human beings, or political systems, [or] in some cases [the] working of market mechanisms to address and alleviate if not solve these problems," said Thomas Fingar, chairman of the NIC.

And, our correspondent adds, it is worth noting that US intelligence has been wrong before.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7741049.stm

Published: 2008/11/21 11:38:30 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7741049.stm

Not necessarily a groundbreaking news report, but I thought it explained it better than I could hope to. A lot of what I've been studying as of late has to do with the United States' potential evolution into a prominent member of a group of Great Powers (China, India, Russia, and Brazil being fellow powers just to name a few). I don't like to bring in historical comparison, but I see economic warfare on the level with military warfare during the centuries-long balance of powers era in European history. We have the population to continue to compete, and as far as resources go it is hard to match us.

This is not to say it is inevitable (it is, obviously, going based on current trends). The U.S., and of course others, can squander and/or gain more. It wouldn't be a major surprise to see the U.S. actually become more dominant in the coming years, but that would require higher taxes and a significant lowering of our debt (Which sits at, I believe, 70% of our GDP). If we don't, the biggest issue America will run into is potential economic blackmail similar to that of the Suez Crisis. For those who don't know, the U.K. and France were in serious debt to the United States when they went into the Suez Canal to seize it for themselves. America threatened them with their debts and they had no choice to withdraw (either that or face economic collapse).

I'm pretty pragmatic in regards to issues like this, so please let's debate this. Also, I'm about to (this weekend) begin reading Zakaria's The Post-American World. I've heard good things about it, so hopefully it will help paint a clearer picture of this.

Link to comment
  • Replies 59
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

In some ways, I think this is a very good thing. I'd rather not have all the power in the hands of one government, you know? Too much chance for that one government to be crazy.

I think the Cold War is going to be very interesting for future generations. I don't know when there'll be so few "Superpowers" again.

It seems vaguely analogous to Europe in the late 19th century, what with a lot of competing 'Great Powers' but none so far above the others as to be superpowers (like we can probably agree that Britain and Germany had their shit together more than France or Austria, but not to the same degree that the US and USSR were above, say, Britain or France during the Cold War) but historical analogies are never good for too much.

Link to comment

In some ways, I think this is a very good thing. I'd rather not have all the power in the hands of one government, you know? Too much chance for that one government to be crazy.

That's a point I like to bring up. The Cold War created a very black-and-white world and I think as we study it/understand it better in retrospect it is pretty apparent that it clouded a lot of judgment and became more about ideals instead of ideas. A world with lots of competition is definitely healthier, especially if the competition is economic. As the article points out, the possibility for serious military conflict does exist. I dread it, but something like it is rather inescapable.

I do believe what we'll really see is more countries growing faster than the United States. Not so much a decline as much other countries being able to confront us on equal footing. My biggest worry is a significant American decline (incredibly unlikely for millions of reasons) in a very short period of time. If that scenario happens, with our military so outstretched, the probability of us going down with guns-a-blazin' is high. Looking at Britain and France gradually taking a step back from empire is a template I'd like to see the U.S. take in future.

Link to comment

In other news. A super viral outbreak is likely (0.001%) to wipeout 95% of humanity within the next ten years. Tinfoil hat experts warn of impending alien invasion. While scientists predict for the 17492 time, but with high probability now, (02.4%) that we will soon start to deplete all of our natural resources. They sound pretty sure this time. And today environmentalists predict that *blah blah blah*. Truly frightening!!! It sounds as if we are all doomed.

This thing makes it sound like we should start getting ready for the next world war or something. dOOmEd!!1!

Link to comment

In other news. A super viral outbreak is likely (0.001%) to wipeout 95% of humanity within the next ten years. Tinfoil hat experts warn of impending alien invasion. While scientists predict for the 17492 time, but with high probability now, (02.4%) that we will soon start to deplete all of our natural resources. They sound pretty sure this time. And today environmentalists predict that *blah blah blah*. Truly frightening!!! It sounds as if we are all doomed.

This thing makes it sound like we should start getting ready for the next world war or something. dOOmEd!!1!

...I didn't think it seemed like that at all. Maybe you should be the one thinking about how paranoid you are.

This is just a bunch of political scientists getting together and saying "Hay guys, actually the US government is pretty dumb and we're not going to continue being the world's sole superpower in perpetuity." Not some conspiracy theorists.

Link to comment

...I didn't think it seemed like that at all. Maybe you should be the one thinking about how paranoid you are.

This is just a bunch of political scientists getting together and saying "Hay guys, actually the US government is pretty dumb and we're not going to continue being the world's sole superpower in perpetuity." Not some conspiracy theorists.

Actually it said this.

"The US will remain the single most important actor but will be less dominant."

SO their calculations still have us as a large power, but not as a Super Super power.

Who cares? That actually sounds good.

Link to comment

Actually it said this.

"The US will remain the single most important actor but will be less dominant."

SO their calculations still have us as a large power, but not as a Super Super power.

Who cares? That actually sounds good.

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say. I don't think anyone thinks the US is going to stop mattering in the near future. We're just too damn big/too many natural resources/fingers in too many pies.

As for your last sentence I completely agree :mario:

Link to comment

...I didn't think it seemed like that at all. Maybe you should be the one thinking about how paranoid you are.

This is just a bunch of political scientists getting together and saying "Hay guys, actually the US government is pretty dumb and we're not going to continue being the world's sole superpower in perpetuity." Not some conspiracy theorists.

No. I was talking about the other stuff in it. That makes it sound as if the world is about to go to hell.

Link to comment

I fail to see, anywhere in that article, where it says "We will have a nuclear holocaust". All it is doing is citing historical examples (which is, unfortunately, all you can do) to make sense of future projections. The last time there were a lot of power bases, there was a lot more conflict. Ever since the world became 2 superpowers, and then just 1 superpower, conflicts across the globe have been increasingly less common. There's a reason scholars already call the last 20 years the Pax Americana.

Link to comment

I fail to see, anywhere in that article, where it says "We will have a nuclear holocaust". All it is doing is citing historical examples (which is, unfortunately, all you can do) to make sense of future projections. The last time there were a lot of power bases, there was a lot more conflict. Ever since the world became 2 superpowers, and then just 1 superpower, conflicts across the globe have been increasingly less common. There's a reason scholars already call the last 20 years the Pax Americana.

Hm... Though, there's been a lot of violence in the last sixty-seventy years. Cold War proxy wars and all that. And in the last 20 years alone America has deployed its army to all kinds of different places.

I mean, sure, we haven't seen anything as intense as either of the World Wars, but I'd hardly say the world is peaceful.

Link to comment

Bipolarity in the Cold War helped stabalize Europe but there's been a number of social and political changes throughout the world that has made war less likely. I think a (relatively) peaceful multipolar world is certainly possible.

The world will never be a peaceful or stable place while we have a conglomerate of different nations and a global society and identity is absolutely impossible right now. Move on to something we can do something about.

You sound like you're 16.

Link to comment

Hm... Though, there's been a lot of violence in the last sixty-seventy years. Cold War proxy wars and all that. And in the last 20 years alone America has deployed its army to all kinds of different places.

I mean, sure, we haven't seen anything as intense as either of the World Wars, but I'd hardly say the world is peaceful.

More peaceful than at time in recorded history, however. That was my point.

Link to comment

More peaceful than at time in recorded history, however. That was my point.

Yeah, I suppose.

Faulty said it right, though, war between developed countries is much less likely -- at least total war -- now because of nuclear weapons and alliances...

Obviously that doesn't keep things peaceful but I don't think we'll be seeing another WWII anytime soon (or even WWI).

Link to comment

I think that world wars only happen when many countries are close to as powerful as the most powerful country.

So even if China were to become as powerful as the US, I doubt there would be a war as big as either world war.

Well, the thing is is that we'll never see another war like WWII just because if a powerful country was willing to risk itself in the same kind of total war, they'd just use nukes.

Link to comment

I think nuclear deterence isn't even necessary to stave off war in a lot of countries. The only countries that really need nukes anymore are rogue and pariah states. That's why Iran wants nukes, so it won't be bullied by the US and Israel; however, it's not like England needs nukes to prevent Germany from invading Poland again, it's just not going to happen.

I'm not but thanks. Politics wasn't and will never be important to me.

Then don't post totally nonconstructive stuff.

Link to comment

I think nuclear deterence isn't even necessary to stave off war in a lot of countries. The only countries that really need nukes anymore are rogue and pariah states. That's why Iran wants nukes, so it won't be bullied by the US and Israel; however, it's not like England needs nukes to prevent Germany from invading Poland again, it's just not going to happen.

Not sure I get you here. Why will countries not go to war? What has fundamentally changed that makes the world this bright cheerful place?

Link to comment

I don't mean ALL countries. I don't think any Western countries will go to war with each other, nor with allied countries like Japan and Israel. Bipolarity in the Cold War helped stabalize certain parts of the world, certainly, but a lot of social changes have occured that make the West way more stable. and that level of improved cohesive allows the West and its allies to more comfortably affect international politics as a group.

If any of you are interested, I can get you guys two essays written in I think 1991 and 1989 about what the Post-Cold War international political scene would be like. These two writers were making predictions. They're both like 50 pages long, but interesting. I obviously disagree with the guy who predicted war, being a hardcore Constructivist when it comes to international relations and all.

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...