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Report Sees Change in US Global Status


The White House in Washington, Oct. 29,2012

The White House in Washington, Oct. 29,2012

A U.S. intelligence report released Monday predicts Asia’s economic power rising and US dominance declining. This set off a global intellectual discussion about the conclusions.

The world will look different in the year 2030. So says the U.S. Intelligence Director's report on global trends.

No longer will the United States be the world superpower, no nation will take the title. Power will be diffused and reflected in coalitions between countries.

The report says the Asia economy will surpass North America and Europe, combined.

University of Denver International Futures Director Barry Hughes contributed to the report.

“That is kind of a reversion to what we saw centuries ago on a global basis, so in a way we are going back to the future. This is a transformation that none of us know where it’s going to take us,” Hughes said.

China’s economy, will be the largest in the world and will be 140-percent greater than Japan’s, and India’s will be 16 times larger than Pakistan’s.

The report says the global economy will rely more on the health of developing nations, rather than the West. The Atlantic Council's Banning Garrett says the United States created the climate for that.

“Although it makes some people in the west kind of frightened or nervous - the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of Brazil - it should also be seen as a success. And, I would say, since World War II the U.S. has had a policy of relative decline. ... That was our policy. We thought it was a good thing not to be the largest power and everyone else was prostate before us,” Garrett said.

Analysts say the new role for the United States could be more of a mediator, especially to avoid what the report calls a spill over of violence from instability in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Analyst Robert Kagan is with the Brookings Institution.

“What the world is looking for from the United States ... is protection, in some cases, for the ability to organize. If you take the Syria issue which is before us right now, what people are looking for is the United States to step up and start pulling everyone together. And what’s been missing is the United States playing that role,” Kagan said.

The report predicts 60 percent of the global population will live in cities, with an explosion of the middle class. It attributes this to better access to education, new technology and health care.

Organizers say the report is not intended to predict the future, but to follow trends to possible futures. It includes what it calls “game changers” - variables that could shift the trends - like technology advances that could avert climate change or lead to a reformed Iran.

“We tend to straight line into the future that the Iran of today will be the Iran of tomorrow. I really doubt it. I think the people of Iran really want a middle class life and a more accountable government,” Garrett said.

The report predicts the best world possible would exist if the United States and China work together, leading global cooperation.
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    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

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