Since the early stages of the 1940 America has risen to power and stayed in power. To date America is considered the only true world super power. In the past the Roman Empire, Greek and Egyptian were all very dominating but even then there were challenging dynasty so they can’t be called a ‘super power’. In today’s society the world has two more economies forcing their way to the top, these two economies are China’s and India’s. The question being answered in this essay is: ‘does the rise of developing countries like China and India pose a serious challenge to US power?’ I believe yes, mainly because for so long the world has revolved around the American economy and with the rise of these two countries America will gradually start to lose its power. This essay will also address both China’s and India’s relatively quick rise to power over the last 25 years.
Before I discuss this more in-depth it is important to understand what exactly a ‘superpower is’, a superpower can be defined as: “a country that has a say in every corner of the globe and without whose say nothing truly substantial can be achieved in any such corner”- (Grymyko 2011).
America ended the 20th century as the sole unchallenged world superpower, in the 21st century however it started a little differently. America’s military power has remained dominant; they have to decline in certain areas such as wealth and information. The Wealth and information has shifted dramatically to the east in particular to China. Schmemann (2011) argues that there is in fact a huge power shift occurring and America may no longer be the dominating state, the power will move to Countries such as China and India if things continue going the way they’re going. This has been called the shift from the west to the east. Mahbubani (2011) argues that America will continue to prosper in the future because the world has become dependant on America and the fact that the world wants America to continue to do well.
It has been obvious for quite sometime that America has been in trouble at a financial level, Niall Fergusion (2011) goes on to say in his book called Civilisation, that “the U.S. federal debt in public hands doubled as a share of G.D.P. from 32 percent to a projected 66 percent”. He also goes on to say “the fiscal position of the united states in 2009 was worse then that of Greece”. The financial crisis that began in 2007 (GFC) is a clear indication of the decline in the western economies. Yet America still managed to come out of the GFC afloat and maintain their position of power as the sole super power. America is the world’s only super power and has been since WWII, they have managed to stay so dominant due to their military strength. However this will not last forever. Though recent studies have shown that America is still allowing four times the amount of spending on their arms forces china is slowly catching up. Shambaugh also goes on to say in this article “The Seesaw Of Power” that “China is not yet influential in international events, nor does it have the capacity to directly impact the actions of other countries. In his opinion, China is at best a passive, isolated and confused power”. This basically means that when China starts to become more involved in international affairs and they contribute to more of the world issues, they will then become the next world super power. Until then they can only remain at what they are, which is nothing more than a lingering threat to America’s power.
India also poses a serious through to America’s power due its recent increase in military spending and growth. According to the Australian strategic policy institute (ASPI) India is presently investing in a sustained program of military, investing over $40 billion in their military, a significant amount of this was invested in designing new weapons. The stronger India’s military forces get the more of a threat they will be to the America’s position of power. India is increasing its hard power substantially and if they begin to increase their soft power input they would be a real force to be reckoned with.
There are two types of powers to an economy its ‘hard power’ and it’s ‘soft power’. Hard power is the countries ability to use their military power and other economics means to influence the behaviour or interests of other
economic bodies. The soft power is the power that comes from diplomacy, culture and history. America has maintained it’s current economical position of power for so long due to its hard power, America is renowned for it’s military power but are lacking in soft power, Schmemann (2011) states “The soft powers of wealth and information has distinctly shifted”, he is referring to how china is advancing in both soft power and hard powers. This does pose a serious threat to America because the more and more china begins to interact in international affaires the more powerful they will become and eventually they will take over if it continues to go this way. At the rate that China is going CNN money has predicted China to take over as the world leading superpower by the year 2030, so if America doesn’t start to change it’s ways it will no longer be considered the world’s leading super power. As previously stated India is investing in it’s military to further improve their weapons and defensive systems, but much like China they are still lacking in soft power. They need to become more involved in international affairs. If India does this they will then become a major threat to America’s power.
It is globalization that has caused these two countries to grow and evolve so rapidly. Globalization is defined by business dictionary.com as: “the worldwide movement towards economic growth, financial, trade and communications integration”. Globalization has helped china dramatically because globalisation stimulates an export-driven high GDP by exploiting China’s comparative advantage in cheap labour, even though this isn’t necessary good exploiting cheap labour for a surplus, at the end of the day it is what will continue to give countries like China and India a comparative advantage over other countries.
India is slowly becoming better known for their soft power improvements in the last few decades in particular the last few decades just recently India donated 1.5 billion dollars to the foreign aid sector. Since the turn of the century India has grown by more then three times in donating to foreign assistance. Not only this but India has also vowed to create their own aid agency and which will include building an administrative structure, the ‘Development Partnership Administration’. Unfortunately things haven’t
always been as prosperous for India’s economy, during 1922-1955 India received 55 billion dollars in foreign aid, given this was during the cold war era when India was facing some of it’s toughest times with phenomenal poverty rates, India was pretty much dependent on foreign aid from over seas countries for about 30 years, yet as early as the 1950’s they were giving financial back a majority of which were to their neighboring countries such as Bhutan and Nepal, much of the assistance has been technical assistance such as a 50 year plan to build Bhutan’s hydroelectric facilities.
China has been on the uprise since the late stages of the 1970’s, China was well in need of an economical reform at this stage. Since 1978 China has averaged a 9.4% annual GDP growth rate, this is one of the highest consistent growth rates in the world. In 1978, it accounted for less than 1% of the world economy, and its total foreign trade was worth $20.6 billion. Today, it accounts for 4% of the world economy and has foreign trade worth $851 billion, which is the third-largest national total in the world. Only 12 years ago China barely had mobile telecommunications services. Now it claims more than 300 million mobile-phone subscribers, this is more than any other nation. As of June 2004, nearly 100 million people there had access to the Internet. China has come a very long way in a brief 35 years; China poses a serious threat to the American economy with its purchasing power. Unfortunately for china currently it is still one of the poorer countries when it comes to average income per capita, China is still considered a low income developing country only ranked 100th in the world, China still has a long way to go before they become a real threat to America.
America is currently in an economic war with China and it is losing because it continues to lose to itself. As San Luis Obsipro, Calif quotes: “America is a quitter”, “We’re forced to walk off the economic playing field. Not by outside enemies, by our own Congress”. America is killing it’s own economic growth and by doing this they are killing their role as the superpower, they are killing there future. America is spending money it doesn’t have on unnecessary needs such as spending 3 trillion dollars on a war in Iraq simply because John McCain believes that winning wars is the future of America. America is losing the power battle and judging by future statistics
it isn’t going to get better, by 2040 China’s GDP will be 40% of the world and America’s will shrink down to 14%, China’s GDP is set to overtake America’s by 2015. This is because of the simple fact that America Is spending too much of their federal budget on unnecessary spending whereas China is putting their money in all the right places such as building new infrastructures by doing that further developing it’s economy and also by increasing the living standards for it’s people. It is inevitable at this stage that China will take over America as the world superpower; the rest of the world has realized it except America. Paul.B.Farrell states that: “America is blind to the drastic power shift occurring and by the time they realize what has happened it will be too late’’.
India is currently experiencing rapid economic growth throughout the entire state, it is currently the fourth largest economy in the world. Doug Bandow states that: “if India frees its entrepreneurial people it will be a world super power alongside China”. India is currently seen as the most important potential counterweight to China. This is because India currently posses the worlds second largest population, second to China. A key benefit that India has over china is the fact that it is slowly building up it’s poverty rate, the average earning dollar per capita has more then tripled since 1991, the amount of children enrolling in schools has soared and the diet of it’s people has improved dramatically. India has very strong potential to be a strong power in this century but much is still needed to be done.
America has been a world leading state for many years they have dominated every aspect of the world for such a long time that they become too cocky and they allowed themselves to become slack. The American government is rather arrogant in the sense that they can’t see how fast China and India have grown. It is now inevitable that China and India will both over take America as the world superpowers, the rise of these two countries even in the last 20 years has posed a very serious threat to their power, it is predicted by as late as 2040 both countries will have completely over taken America. Clearly this isn’t desirable for the American economy but at the rate India and China are growing it seems completely inevitable at this stage for America to lose it’s power.
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