America's Superpower Statis Is About To End
Date: Friday, April 01 2005
Topic: Eye on Uncle Sam
By Gwynne Dyer
03/30/05 "Cincinnati Post" - - Assume that the people who run defense and foreign policy in the Bush administration are as ferociously intelligent as they think they are.
What would their grand strategy be?
The very phrase "grand strategy'' has a antiquated ring; enlightened modern opinion rejects the notion that relations between the great powers are just a zero-sum game. But this is a group of people who are steeped in traditional modes of strategic thought: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley and Condoleezza Rice would all have worked quite comfortably for Cardinal Richelieu or Count Bismarck. (Whether they would have been hired is, of course, another question.)
They are, in addition, patriotic Americans who are firmly convinced that U.S. power is an instrument for good in the world. And they all know that the days of the United States as the world's sole superpower are numbered.
They must know it. They cannot be unaware of the statistics the rest of us know: a Chinese economy that has been growing over twice as fast as the U.S. economy for almost two decades now, and an Indian economy that has been growing at around twice the U.S. rate for almost a decade already.
And they surely understand the magic of compound interest.
China's economy will overtake that of the United States in one long generation if current trends continue. (Goldman Sachs predicted in 2003 that Chinese GDP would surpass that of the U.S. in 2042.) India, starting later and growing slightly slower, will not reach the same milestone for a further decade or more, but both Asian giants will be nipping at America's heels long before that. And economic power is the source of most other kinds of power.