The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Intelligence Report Challenges Declinist Consensus

The National Intelligence Council dropped a bombshell in its latest forecast, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, predicting that America will lose its status as the world’s sole superpower by 2030. Predictably, the mainstream press had read this report as an endorsement of American decline, and headlines have announced it in somber tones as further evidence of the fall of the U.S. and the rise of China. The Financial Times reports:

“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,” the report states. In terms of economic size, technology and military spending, Asian power will exceed North America and Europe combined by 2030.

However, the US will retain its central role because it will remain the only country able to mobilise coalitions to address global challenges.

“No other power has the ability to replicate the US role under any scenario,” said Christopher Kojm, chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Via Meadia thinks the media are missing the real story here: Compared to previous reports, this one gives an upgrade to American power, not a downgrade. Four years ago, the National Intelligence Council released, Global Trends 2025: Alternative Worlds, which predicted a far steeper American decline, culminating in the collapse of the American age by 2025.

To those keeping score at home, this means at least another five years of Pax Americana. If this trend keeps up, these reports may soon be talking about America’s superpower status extending well into the second half of the 21st century.

The short-term data in the report is positive as well. Far from collapsing as a world power,  the U.S. is predicted to be the leader of the top tier of powers due in large part to the discovery of vast quantities of domestic oil and gas. And while the report cites America’s prospects as improving, China’s are not, meaning the gap between the U.S. and its chief competitor will continue to widen. Once again, the declinists have missed the mark in a big way, and the mainstream press has failed to see the real story.

Published on December 11, 2012 7:00 pm