China neither is at the heart of a multilateral regime nor does it have a single significant ally. It must permanently juggle a coalition of interests — which sometimes aligns it with developing countries, sometimes with other emerging economies, and also increasingly with the developed industrial societies whose political models it rejects.
Meanwhile, since the Cold War ended, America has been working on building a coalition of the willing based on common values, rather than the coalition of interests’ built-in unpredictability.
So it’s only in economic terms that China can move within reach of superpower status.
The Economist forecast holds that “annual GDP growth averages for the next decade, are 7.75% in China and 2.5% in America, inflation rates average 4% and 1.5%, and the RMB appreciates by 3% a year. Plug in these numbers and China will overtake America in 2018. Alternatively, if China’s real growth rate slows to an average of only 5%, then (leaving the other assumptions unchanged) it would not become number one until 2021.”
World military expenditure in 2012 was estimated to have been $1756 billion, representing 2.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) or $249 for each person in the world. The total is about 0.4 per cent lower in real terms than in 2011, the ﬁrst fall since 1998.
China will raise its official defence budget by 10.7 per cent in 2013. The government on Tuesday said military spending would grow to Rmb720bn ($116bn) in 2013. Most experts feel that the official figure is about half the real estimate of the actual chinese military spending.
The Soviet Union was long considered a superpower and the EU can be treated as a single economic block
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests. A superpower is traditionally considered to be a step higher than a great power.
It was a term first applied to the British Empire, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Following World War II, the British Empire superpower status transferred to the United States. Post World War II phase, the United States and the Soviet Union came to be generally regarded as the two superpowers, and confronted each other in the Cold War.
After the Cold War, only the United States appears to fulfill the criteria of being considered a world superpower. The term “Emerging Superpower” has been applied by scholars to the possibility that the People’s Republic of China could soon emerge as a superpower on par with the United States or at least at par with USSR-USA phase.
Additionally, it is widely believed that the European Union (a supranational entity) and India may have the potential of achieving superpower status within the 21st century. A few heads of states, politicians and news analysts have even suggested that Russia may have already reclaimed that status.
According to various academics, the European Union has revived a style of European imperialism, likening the union to an Empire (or superpower) of sorts. The term commonly used is Eurosphere. However, currently the United States is the only nation for which there is a broad consensus of its superpower status.
Some people doubt the existence of superpowers in the post Cold War era altogether, stating that today’s complex global marketplace and the rising interdependency between the world’s nations has made the concept of a superpower an idea of the past and that the world is now multipolar.
Even if China is not exceeding the US in military, political and economic influence, there would be a strong case if China surpassed the EU economically and militarily and exceeded the Soviet Union economically and approximated the Soviet Union in military aspects.
China currently would lose to the UK military in spite of a higher budget. China needs to be more powerful than the UK, France and Germany.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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