U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower
(Photo Credit:Jewel Samad/AFP/GettyImages) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao standing with leaders of the G20 on June 18, 2012.
December 10th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower

By Matt Smith

The United States is likely to remain the leading world power in 2030 but won't hold the kind of sway it did in the past century, according to a new study by the U.S. intelligence community.

Washington will most likely hold its status as "first among equals" two decades from now, buoyed not only by military strength but by economic and diplomatic power. That's one of the conclusions of "Alternative Worlds," released Monday by the National Intelligence Council.

Rising powers such as China may be "ambivalent and even resentful" of American leadership, but they're more interested in holding positions of influence in organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund than assuming that role, the report found.

"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," the report states.

Monday's 166-page report is the fifth in the "Global Trends 2030" series by the council, an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

It doesn't make specific predictions, but says that the world is at a "critical juncture" in which technology is advancing, competition for resources is growing and a middle class is emerging in countries around the world.

"Our effort is to encourage decision makers - whether in government or outside - to think and plan for the long term so that negative futures do not occur and positive ones have a better chance of unfolding," council Chairman Christopher Kojm wrote in the report's preface.

The report lays out a series of possible futures, both optimistic and pessimistic, from a world in which globalization has stalled and the risk of war has gone up to one in which collaboration between Washington and Beijing produces a rapid increase in worldwide prosperity.

Technological advances will give individuals more freedom, but also have the potential to provide small groups with the kind of destructive capabilities now available only to nations.

"With more widespread access to lethal and destructive technologies, individuals who are experts in such key areas as cyber systems might sell their services to the highest bidder," Kojm said during a briefing on the report. "Terrorists might focus less on mass casualties and more on causing widespread economic and financial disruptions."

Economic power is likely to shift away from the United States and Europe to China, India and Southeast Asian countries, and Africa will see an urban boom as people move to cities at a faster rate, the report concludes. But those developments will add pressure to deal with environmental issues such as more frequent or severe droughts and the projected rise in sea levels due to a warming climate.

"Under most scenarios - except the most dire - significant strides in reducing extreme poverty will be achieved by 2030," the report notes. The numbers of people living in poverty is likely to drop sharply in East and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, with sub-Saharan Africa lagging behind.

Kojm said, "economic growth, the rise of the global middle class, greater educational obtainment and better health care mean –for the first time in human history - the majority of the world's population will no longer be impoverished."

But perhaps the biggest question mark in the report is the Middle East.

The region "will be a very different place" in 2030, the authors conclude, "but the possibilities run a wide gamut from fragile growth and development to chronic instability and potential regional conflicts." The youth boom that has driven the Arab Spring revolts will give way to an aging population, while shifts in energy consumption may force oil-rich Middle Eastern economies to find new sources of income.

The growth of middle classes will increase demand for political and social change, but that could be a mixed blessing: "Historically, the rise of middle classes has led to populism and dictatorships as well as pressures for greater democracy," the authors noted. Meanwhile, that global growth "disguises growing pressures on the middle class in Western economies," including international competition for higher-skilled jobs.

The growing middle class will also increase demand for water and food by more than 35% over the next couple of decades the report indicates. Advancements in key technologies such as genetically modified crops, precision agriculture and water irrigation techniques could for the most part help prevent scarcity.

An increase in the earning power, education and political clout of women "will be a key driver of success for many countries," with gender gaps closing fastest in East Asia and Latin America, the report found.

And India is likely to be in the same position in 2030 that China is today, it concludes.

"India's rate of economic growth is likely to rise while China's slows," the authors found. China's 8%-10% growth "will probably be a distant memory by 2030," it notes. And India's economic advantage over regional nuclear rival Pakistan is likely to grow, roughly doubling the comparative size of its economy.

Pam Benson contributed to this report

soundoff (1,655 Responses)
  1. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair Service

    Good article. I definitely appreciate this site. Continue the good work!


    June 12, 2021 at 10:05 am | Reply
  2. Mercedes Camper Van Repair Shop


    June 12, 2021 at 9:40 am | Reply
  3. RV Restoration Orange County

    Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 12, 2021 at 9:40 am | Reply
  4. rv electrical repair near me


    June 12, 2021 at 9:16 am | Reply
  5. toy hauler furniture

    Very good article. I am going through some of these issues as well..


    June 12, 2021 at 8:20 am | Reply
  6. tires orange county


    June 12, 2021 at 1:41 am | Reply
  7. Luxury Repair Shop

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this info.


    June 12, 2021 at 1:23 am | Reply
  8. where is an auto parts store near me

    There is definately a great deal to find out about this topic. I love all the points you have made.


    June 12, 2021 at 12:44 am | Reply
  9. Best RV Repair Shop Near Me

    You have made some good points there. I checked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 12, 2021 at 12:10 am | Reply
  10. Los Angeles Sprinter Repair

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for providing this info.


    June 12, 2021 at 12:08 am | Reply
  11. RV Blinds Los Angeles


    June 11, 2021 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  12. Limo Van Repair

    Hey there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you have right here on this post. I am returning to your web site for more soon.


    June 11, 2021 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  13. 2006 Sprinter Transmion Repair

    Very good post! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 11, 2021 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  14. Pleasure Way Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the website is also very good.


    June 11, 2021 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  15. RV Interior Designer Orange County


    June 11, 2021 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  16. market near me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉


    June 11, 2021 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  17. furniture repair stores near me

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!


    June 11, 2021 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  18. rv entertainment system

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.


    June 11, 2021 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  19. near me

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise informationÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 11, 2021 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  20. Chiquita Tisor

    Right here is the perfect blog for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!

    June 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  21. Devon Odegaard

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  22. Modesto Thurlby

    There is certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all of the points you have made.

    June 11, 2021 at 11:52 am | Reply
  23. Linwood Ellie


    June 11, 2021 at 11:42 am | Reply
  24. Ross Zamzow


    June 11, 2021 at 11:42 am | Reply
  25. Carol Plimpton

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is extremely good.


    June 11, 2021 at 11:35 am | Reply
  26. Hildred Mostrom

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always helpful to read articles from other authors and use something from their sites.


    June 11, 2021 at 10:42 am | Reply
  27. Tosha Hoffart


    June 11, 2021 at 10:36 am | Reply
  28. rv repair

    This excellent website certainly has all of the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 11, 2021 at 9:10 am | Reply
  29. rv repair shop near me


    June 11, 2021 at 8:02 am | Reply
  30. Stefani Armiger

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own site now 😉


    June 11, 2021 at 4:18 am | Reply
  31. Franklyn Gutieres

    That is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 11, 2021 at 3:24 am | Reply
  32. Lilliam Straton


    June 11, 2021 at 1:25 am | Reply
  33. Glennis Beam

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always exciting to read articles from other writers and practice something from their web sites.

    June 11, 2021 at 12:07 am | Reply
  34. rv repair

    I was able to find good information from your content.


    June 10, 2021 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  35. rv repair service near me

    I absolutely love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own personal site and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thank you!


    June 10, 2021 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  36. Doug Badasci

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog posts.


    June 10, 2021 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  37. Marilou Desamito

    Good blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Thanks!


    June 10, 2021 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  38. Edie Ammirata

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise informationÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

    June 10, 2021 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  39. Avery Spinuzzi

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this website needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 10, 2021 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  40. Elmira Huckeba


    June 10, 2021 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  41. rv repair shops near me


    June 10, 2021 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  42. Domenica Benzi


    June 10, 2021 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  43. Adrianna Mario

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your site.


    June 10, 2021 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  44. Roxana Springstead


    June 10, 2021 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  45. rv repair shop


    June 10, 2021 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  46. Kristian Marcaida


    June 10, 2021 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  47. Forrest Desjardin

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.


    June 10, 2021 at 6:09 am | Reply
  48. Rocky Lolar

    Good information. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    June 10, 2021 at 5:14 am | Reply
  49. rv repair shop


    June 10, 2021 at 5:12 am | Reply
  50. Tony Eaby


    June 10, 2021 at 4:30 am | Reply
  51. Angela Esoimeme


    June 10, 2021 at 4:30 am | Reply
  52. rv repair service near me

    Right here is the right web site for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic which has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    June 10, 2021 at 4:02 am | Reply
  53. Roselle Veach


    June 10, 2021 at 3:09 am | Reply
  54. Dean Haneline


    June 10, 2021 at 3:09 am | Reply
  55. Chad Decant

    You're so awesome! I don't suppose I've truly read anything like that before. So good to discover someone with some original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 10, 2021 at 2:49 am | Reply
  56. Rodrigo Poinsette


    June 9, 2021 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  57. Leone Sleva

    Excellent post! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 9, 2021 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  58. SEO Marketing Service

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more about this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people do not speak about these subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!


    June 9, 2021 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  59. Content Marketing Agency


    June 9, 2021 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  60. Corliss Reusing

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve been to your blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím certainly happy I discovered it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

    June 9, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  61. Dorian Lieblong

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 9, 2021 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  62. Estela Adolphe


    June 9, 2021 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  63. Horacio Suthar

    Great post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..


    June 9, 2021 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  64. Tinisha Slanker

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after going through many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím definitely pleased I found it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


    June 9, 2021 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  65. Marcie Hittson


    June 9, 2021 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  66. Video Marketing Near Me

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve been to your blog before but after looking at many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely delighted I discovered it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


    June 9, 2021 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  67. Digital Marketing Firm

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    June 9, 2021 at 10:57 am | Reply
  68. remodeling near me

    I love it when folks come together and share opinions. Great site, stick with it!


    June 9, 2021 at 9:13 am | Reply
  69. RV Steps California


    June 9, 2021 at 6:17 am | Reply
  70. school bus windshield replacement

    Itís hard to find knowledgeable people on this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 9, 2021 at 5:25 am | Reply
  71. custom fleet and auto body

    Excellent article. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!


    June 9, 2021 at 5:17 am | Reply
  72. oc vacuum

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    June 9, 2021 at 4:00 am | Reply
  73. RV Awning Los Angeles


    June 9, 2021 at 2:56 am | Reply
  74. temecula roof repair


    June 9, 2021 at 12:57 am | Reply
  75. RV Collision Repair California


    June 8, 2021 at 5:58 am | Reply
  76. RV Mobile Repair Near Me


    June 8, 2021 at 4:50 am | Reply
  77. RV Parts Near Me


    June 8, 2021 at 3:45 am | Reply
  78. best auto body shop in orange county


    June 8, 2021 at 3:37 am | Reply
  79. Mercedes Sprinter Van Abs Repair


    June 8, 2021 at 3:06 am | Reply
  80. emergency rv repair near me

    Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 8, 2021 at 2:41 am | Reply
  81. rv interior furniture


    June 8, 2021 at 1:43 am | Reply
  82. solar panels orange county ca


    June 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  83. mobile rv repair los angeles

    Saved as a favorite, I love your site!


    June 7, 2021 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  84. Mercedes Sprinter Rust Repair Panels

    I truly love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal blog and would like to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!


    June 7, 2021 at 2:49 am | Reply
  85. Pump Windshield Washer Sprinter Repair


    June 6, 2021 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  86. old navy near me

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 6, 2021 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  87. chase near me

    I like looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!


    June 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  88. RV Body Repair Near Me


    June 6, 2021 at 11:30 am | Reply
  89. Dry Van Floor Repair


    June 6, 2021 at 10:37 am | Reply
  90. orange county truck shop

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 6, 2021 at 7:49 am | Reply
  91. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Service Near Me


    June 6, 2021 at 6:46 am | Reply
  92. rv sales orange county


    June 5, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  93. Sprinter Van Mechanic


    June 5, 2021 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  94. SEO Marketing Agency


    June 5, 2021 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  95. abc store near me


    June 5, 2021 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  96. Sprinter Van Mechanic


    June 5, 2021 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  97. rv step repair

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It's the little changes that will make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 5, 2021 at 11:57 am | Reply
  98. 2004 Mercedes Sprinter Engine Block Repair

    Hi there, I do believe your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, wonderful website!


    June 5, 2021 at 11:23 am | Reply
  99. Internet Marketing Consultant


    June 5, 2021 at 10:48 am | Reply
  100. jcpenney near me

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 5, 2021 at 10:16 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.