Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US seen as 'first among equals' in 2030

11 December 2012, 09:50

Washington - The United States will likely be the "first among equals" rather than a lone superpower by 2030, in an increasingly chaotic world where China is the top economy, a US intelligence report said on Monday.

The National Intelligence Council, in its first assessment in four years aimed at shaping US strategic thinking, said China will surpass the United States as the largest economy in the 2020s, in line with independent forecasts.

But the study said that the United States, while weaker, will probably remain the top player in two decades thanks to its role in resolving global crises, its technological prowess and its "soft power" that attracts outsiders.

"The US most likely will remain 'first among equals' among the other great powers in 2030 because of its pre-eminence across a range of power dimensions and legacies of its leadership role," the 137-page report said.

"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.

The study predicted that Asia's economy, military spending and technological investment would surpass those of North America and Europe combined by 2030, but warned of major uncertainty over an emerging China.

Own worst enemy

"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.

China's global power is likely to keep rising but at a slower rate - a phenomenon of easing growth that, according to historical precedent, makes countries "likely to become fearful and more assertive", the study said.

If tensions keep rising in Asia, more nations will embrace US leadership and China "can be its own worst enemy", the report's lead author Mathew Burrows told reporters.

Europe, Japan and Russia are expected to remain in slow economic decline through 2030, while a number of middle-tier countries could rise, such as Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey, it said.

The study expects major benefits from technology by 2030, but warned that climate change posed serious challenges.

With a growing population and rising incomes, the planet's demand for water, food and energy will grow by 35, 40 and 50% respectively by 2030.

Youthful populations

"We are not necessarily headed into a world of scarcities, but leaders will need to act to avert such a future," said Christopher Kojm, chairperson of the National Intelligence Council.

A wealthier China and India will likely need to rely more on food imports, driving up international prices. Families in low-income nations will feel the pinch hardest on food, likely fuelling social discontent, the study said.

The National Intelligence Council estimated that the world will have nearly 8.3 billion people in 2030, up from 7.1 billion now, but that the average age will be older - with potentially giant consequences.

The study said that 80% of armed and ethnic conflicts occurred in nations with youthful populations. The number of youthful states will fall significantly by 2030, with the bulk of the remaining ones in Africa.

Other countries that will still have youthful populations - and the fuel for potential conflict - include Afghanistan and western and tribal areas of Pakistan.

"In both those countries, youth bulges are large and, combined with slow growth, portend increased instability," Kojm said.

Terrorism cycle

India is in better shape thanks to stronger growth but will face challenges with young populations in the poorer northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the report said.

By contrast, the study found that the Middle East "will be a very different place" in 2030 with the gradual aging of the youth bulge who took to the streets in the Arab Spring protests that brought down autocratic leaders.

But the report predicted instability in nations with rooted sectarian or other tensions such as Bahrain, Iraq, Libya and Syria along with Yemen, which the study predicted could break up for the second time.

The study doubted that al-Qaeda would pose a threat in 2030, saying that terrorism by its nature alienates initial supporters.

"By 2030, we believe that the Islamic terrorism cycle may have exhausted itself," Burrows said.

Iran was a question mark. The study expected "far-reaching instability" if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, but also said that a more pro-Western Iran could emerge due to public pressure and infighting within the clerical regime.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM beats Jubilee in 3 by-electio...

ODM dominates Jubilee Party in by elections.

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Kenyan ivory seized in Vietnam

Vietnamese authorities have seized 1 tonne of ivory smuggled from Kenya, the fifth such seizure in the past month. Read more...

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...