According to a new study by the National Intelligence Council, the United States will likely remain as “first among equals” in a multipolar world, but Asia’s economy, military spending and technological investment will likely surpass that of the US and Europe combined by 2030.
Within two decades, China will also overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy, a projection in-line with various independent forecasts.
In its assessment of global trends and alternative realities, the report also said that Europe, Russia and Japan will continue to experience a relative decline in its global influence.
The report said:
But the study said that the United States, while weaker, will most likely remain “first among equals” among the other great powers in 2030 because of its “preeminence across a range of power dimensions and legacies of its leadership role”, as well as its “soft power” that attracts outsiders.
"Nevertheless, with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and Pax Americana – the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 – is fast winding down," it said.
At the same time, the report warned of major uncertainty over China’s rise as a global superpower.
“If Beijing fails to transition to a more sustainable, innovation-based economic model, it will remain a top-tier player in Asia, but the influence surrounding what has been a remarkable ascendance will dissipate,” it said.
Speaking at a news briefing, Mathew Burrows, counsellor to the National Intelligence Council said:
If tensions keep rising in Asia, more nations will embrace US leadership and China "can be its own worst enemy," Burrows added.
Published every four years, the “Alternative Worlds” report from the National Intelligence Council aims to compile expert opinion and draw together a wide sweep of "megatrends" driving transformation in the world.