US global clout to decrease with rise of China, India

Other News Materials 21 November 2008 09:07 (UTC +04:00)

The economic and political clout of the United States will decline by 2025, the spread of nuclear weapons and cyber- terrorism will emerge as the most potent global threats, and new wars are likely to be fought over water and food scarcity, dpa reported.

This bleak assessment was released Thursday by the National Intelligence Council (NIC), in its hefty, 120-page Global Trends 2025 report, which takes a long-term view of how key issues are likely to develop over the next few years.

While the US will remain "the single most powerful country," it will be significantly less dominant, with shrinking military and economic capabilities, the NIC said in its report that was compiled after a year-long analysis by intelligence experts.

The report forecast a revolutionised world order, with the most powerful players being Brazil, Russia, India and China. It also described an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the West to the East, and a staggering population increase of 1.5 billion people, which would put pressure on increasingly scarce resources such as energy, food and water.

The economic growth projections for Brazil, Russia, India and China indicate that they will match the original Group of Seven's share of global GDP between 2040 and 2050.

The report said that China was set to have more global impact in the next 20 years than any other country - by 2025, it will have the world's second-largest economy, be a leading military power, the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter.

"No other countries are projected to rise to the level of China, India or Russia, and none is likely to match their individual global clout," NIC, a government body, said.

The report also warned that "the potential for conflict will increase owing partly to political turbulence in parts of the greater Middle East," and apart from the US, countries such as Russia, China and India will play greater roles as negotiators.

The NIC was unclear whether the efficient and widespread use of biofuels and clean coal would wean countries off their oil addiction and herald an "energy transition." The potential consequence of high oil and gas prices would bring increase the influence of Iran and Russia, with the latter's GDP approaching that of Britain and France.

Among the regions expected to fall further behind were sub-Saharan Africa, which will continue to be face economic disruption, high population growth, civil conflict and political instability.

The countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America will account for virtually all population growth over the next 20 years, while less than 3 percent of the growth will occur in the West, the report said.