America in 2025: from global dominance to global partnerships
The might of the world's greatest superpower - the USA - is set to decline over the next twenty years.
America's political, economic and military dominance will give way to new powers such as China, India and Brazil, says the influential American National Intelligence Council (NIC).
The NIC paints a rather gloomy picture of America's position in the world by the year 2025. But the decline of the US has in fact already begun, says George Joffé, who is a lecturer at the Cambridge International Studies Centre in Britain.
America's actions in Iraq and other parts of the world have contributed to that decline, he says, but there are more reasons:
"Simply because of the growth of the Chinese economy and the growth of the so-called ‘BRICs' - that's Brazil, Russia, India and China. And it's been clear for some time that a multi-polar world was emerging".
This may be good news for these so-called ‘BRIC'-countries (and others as well), but there are some concerns over America losing its dominance. It may endanger the situation in Middle East, for instance, says Joffé. Its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could come under fire (and would certainly weaken), as are its interests in Iran and the whole Gulf region, especially when it comes to access to the oil fields.
The leaders of India, Russia, China and Brazil
But there are more concerns. The world may become a more dangerous place without a strong American leadership, says the NIC report. In fact, the chances of a nuclear attack will increase. Simon Wezenman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is not surprised by this prediction:
"There are more countries than ever before that have nuclear weapons. There is development in Iran, for instance, that may lead to an Iranian [nuclear] capability. And China will build up a stronger nuclear arsenal and have the capability to deliver nuclear weapons in larger numbers than ever before".
But it's not all gloom and doom according to Wezenman and Joffé. When it comes to the danger of nuclear weapons, this can be controlled when countries are open and honest about each other's developments. Countries should talk about what they actually have and how they can prevent these weapons from being used, Wezenman says.
According to George Joffé, what really happens in the next twenty years is up to the American government:
"That will be a matter of management. And the real question for the new administration is to which extent it can manage. Within the United States, the passage of assumption of global dominance to that of a global partnership, is a question Mr Obama will have to tackle very early on in his presidency".
Johan van Slooten