Friday, November 21, 2008

US influence to fade by 2025

According to a new report, the United States days as the world's only superpower are numbered.

The National Intelligence Council, an independent government analysis organization, comes to that conclusion in "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World", a study that looks at the world just 17 years from now. The highlights:

While still the world's dominant power, the US will no longer be unchallenged in that role,
China will be the world's second-largest economy, and a major military power,
Terrorism will remain a problem, but al-Qaeda's influence will have waned,
Climate change and scare resources will likely lead to wars,
Cyber-terrorists, criminal gangs and other non-state groups will all pose new threats to world peace,
The dollar will continue to weaken as the world's reserve currency.

Honestly, not a lot in Global Trends 2025 is all that new. The Pentagon has been warning for several years now that wars in the future will likely be over diminishing resources like drinkable water, climate change and over-population are usually cited as the culprits. Everyone knows that China's economy is growing rapidly and that they are spending more and more on their military. Cyber-activists played a role in the Russia-Georgia conflict this past summer, and China (going back to them again) is rumored to have an entire cyber-warfare division within their military (they're also the number one suspect anytime someone makes an organized effort to crack one of the US government's websites). But if putting all the information into one place like Global Trends 2025 helps to get people thinking about these new challenges, then it's a useful thing.

And there were some interesting tidbits included in the report. One is that global warming could help Russia become an agricultural powerhouse by lengthening the growing season there.

Finally, it's worth noting that these looks into the future are often dead wrong. I, for one, am still waiting for my flying car.
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