21 Nov 2008

US world dominance predicted to wane

9:27 pm on 21 November 2008

An American intelligence report has predicted that the United States will no longer be the world's dominant military and political power two decades from now.

The National Intelligence Council says China, India and Russia will increasingly challenge US influence, and food and water scarcities will fuel conflict.

Casting its eyes foward to 2025, the council paints a bleak picture of US influence and power.

It predicts that the current financial crisis is the beginning of a major shift in the global economy.

The US dollar's role as the major world currency will suffer, becoming first among equals and wealth will transfer from West to East.

The report says that although the US is likely to remain the most powerful nation, its overall clout will be weaker as China, India and Iran compete for influcence.

A world with more power centres will be less stable than one with one or two superpowers, it says, offering more potential for conflict.

Global warming will have had a greater impact by 2025, triggering food and water scarcities that could fuel conflict around the globe.

And the use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely, says the report, as rogue states and terrorist groups gain greater access to such weapons.

However, the report concedes these outcomes are not inevitable and will depend on the actions of world leaders.