December 11, 2012
China’s economy is likely to surpass the United States in less than two decades but the Asian country is not expected to take on the superpower role of the United States in gathering coalitions to deal with global issues, U.S. intelligence analysts said on Monday.
By 2030 Asia will overtake North America and Europe combined in global power based on gross domestic product, population, military spending and technological investment, a new intelligence report said.
“China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030,” it said. “Meanwhile, the economies of Europe, Japan, and Russia are likely to continue their slow relative declines.”
The report, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,” was issued by the National Intelligence Council, an analytical arm of the U.S. government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition to U.S. intelligence analysts, the report includes the views of foreign and private experts and can be seen here www.dni.gov/nic/globaltrends.
It is the fifth report of a series - the previous one was released in 2008 - that aims to stimulate “strategic thinking” among decision makers and not to predict the future. The reports intentionally coincide with presidential election years to offer insights on global trends to new administrations.
Despite the economic power of China, the United States is expected to retain its superpower status because it still is the only country able to pull together coalitions and mobilize efforts to deal with global challenges, analysts said.
“China isn’t going to replace the U.S. on a global level,” Mathew Burrows, counselor to the National Intelligence Council, said at a media briefing. “Being the largest economic power is important ... (but) it isn’t necessarily the largest economic power that always is going to be the superpower.”
China recognizes that it cannot play that role of organizing across regions and across state-nonstate boundaries, he said.
The health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to progress in the developing world rather than the traditional West, the report said.