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A Look at the Great Powers
Rahul Garg 19/12/2010 Professor Ayse Kaya
P age |1
This paper will make a humble attempt at describing the landscape of ³great powers´ in 2050. It argues that the world will become a much more globalized economic village over the next four decades and issues will be increasingly tackled at the transnational level. Consequently, economic power will be the mainstay of great power status, supplemented by soft power. Military power, due to the futility of it and international system¶s general stability, will become less relevant. Through analysing economic conditions and competition for soft power, the paper predicts that the US, China, EU, Japan, India and Brazil will be the world¶s greatest powers in 2050. The great power group might be further divided into level A, containing the first two, and level B, containing the last four. Level B countries that overcome natural obstacles in their future growth will be able to move up to level A. While the predictions are conditional upon specific events and individual behaviours, this paper will provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the long term structural factors and ideational reasons behind great power trajectories in the first half of the 21st century. The first section will provide the conceptual basis for the meaning of ³power´ in 2050 and will also explain the nature of relationships between great powers. The second section will have detailed discussions of each great power¶s future trajectory, highlighting economic, political and regional strengths and challenges. Then, after criticizing the applicability of John Ikenberry¶s institutional theories to the world of 2050, the paper will describe soft power competitiveness of various great powers. Finally, the paper¶s approach will be contrasted against the one used by Robert Kennedy to analyse the rise and fall of great nations, followed by a brief conclusion.
leadership and history. economic size and composition. governments have become much more responsible for the economic well-being of their citizens. with economic prosperity becoming the primary goal 1 Kaya. infrastructure and social safety nets.1 Today. Throughout history. growth rate. citizens demand welfare services for all sections of society and government support to keep the economy stable. Thus. demographics. This trend is set to carry on as governments play a larger role in the everyday life of citizens and in guiding economies through their respective growth trajectories. This paper predicts that the shift in weighting toward economic power will continue over the next few decades. In emerging nations. By 2050. economic measures will be the primary source and symbol of power for the world¶s ³greatest´ nations. In developed countries. political stability. economics has come to assume much larger significance in assigning great power status than ever before. per capita income. education. in the post.US led unipolar world after the financial crisis. Note that liberalization will place further responsibility on governments to manage the shocks and cycles associated with free markets. poverty. geography. states play a primary role in planning and implementation of policy to achieve development goals.P age |2 Meaning of ³Power´ in 2050 In order to lay out predictions for great power rivalry in the future. as well as welfare indicators linked to the economy such as health. we must first consider the baseline meaning of ³power´ for nations in the international system. domestic social cohesion. financial leverage and intangibles such as nationalism. diplomatic influence. The relevant measures of economic progress will include GDP size.cold war system and possibly post. industrial output and technology. 2010 . employment. key dimensions along which power has been measured include military capacity. Over the past century.
2 The recent financial crisis is a suitable example where. global capital markets and currencies. strong and weak alike. one should not underestimate the scope for economic metrics to serve as status symbols for states. in spite of considerable economic output loss due to interconnectedness of banks. and therefore its ³power´. The greatest powers will be inextricably tied into a network of economic relationships with other nations. services. Not only will economic success provide tangible gains. technology. Technological advancements. ideas and people. that is the ability to ward off pressure to change one s own actions from others. and two. This will be evident in areas such as international trade of goods and services.3Furthermore. their performance in these spheres. The power of states will be determined by one. 3 Autonomy might come through deterrence . capital. it is unlikely that these protests can reverse or stymie global economic integration over the long term. commercial linkages and financial markets will facilitate the free flow of goods. exports and international investments as a means to recover from the crisis. leaders were able to resist protectionist demands from domestic constituents. competition for resources. Compellence is the ability to pressure others into changing their actions. in turn generating mutual economic gains for countries around the world. technology transfer. The rapid process of economic globalization experienced over the past couple of decades will also continue. both in terms of autonomy and µcompellent¶ power over other states. Countries have actually championed trade. The forces of economic competition and cooperation will become the primary sources of alliance formation and rivalry between states. but it will play a central role in forming perceptions of power in the international arena. international businesses (MNC¶s). will be dominated by economic ones.P age |3 for citizens and governments of major countries the metrics for a nation¶s ³success´. . While sceptics might be concerned about protectionist backlashes. markets and economies across national borders.2 In the ³super-globalized´ world of 2050 inter-state relations will be dominated by their economic interactions. the leverage they have on these issues.
a critical reason for the rise of economics in describing great powers will be the relative decline of the relevance of military power. the US will probably maintain its µCommand of the Commons¶. their primary goal. For instance. for the next few decades. In sum. it is also determined to keep the Korean peninsula stable. while China is reluctant to call for aggressive action against North Korea. This situation already exists to a large degree today. dominance over all military spaces. 2001. These factors will act to contradict John Mearsheimer¶s realist prediction that multi polarity will necessarily cause instability. .e. unlike for much of history.4 Second. Furthermore. The unlimited destructive potential of an inter-power war will deter them from engaging in risky battles with one another. however they differ in their approach to resolve this or their predictions of instability.P age |4 Lastly.6They will lead to an international system composed of major actors whose sufficiently potent deterrent capability provides a strong incentive against large wars. which allows them to pursue economic growth. the major powers will be comfortable with the military status quo. the cost of war between great powers is exceedingly high. the international system 4 5 Jervis derived from Posen. the main global security concerns emanate from non-state actors (terrorism) and rogue regimes. This deserves a more detailed discussion. Several large powers already possess formidable nuclear arsenals and large armed forces. not war between great powers. territorial conquests now provide little economic gain and reconstruction or policing costs might also make them counterproductive. Currently. Finally.5 Consequently. in terms of military capacity. the chances of a spiralling arms race due to new powers trying to ³close-in´ on the US are less likely to emerge. First. It can also be reasoned that the world¶s largest military powers are opposed to any major instability caused by terrorism or rogue regimes. 2003 6 Mearsheimer. i.
As long as some of the largest powers continue to possess large militaries with deterrent capabilities. military force will rank below economic power. irrespective of the level of a state¶s military force. and countries without large militaries might still be great powers. . Multipolarity does not disturb this. countries with large militaries might not be great powers. For instance. the chances of direct confrontation over resources are dim given the prohibitive costs of engaging in such warfare. even in such situations great power war is unlikely ±rising powers will limit their spheres of influence and other great powers will not overreach to directly threaten them. Similarly. they will create a stable international system and the other states will be free from the dangers of great power war.P age |5 will be characterized by extremely low chances of inter-state war between great powers because of the structural conditions dis-incentivizing instability for each of those powers. There are two important criticisms against this optimistic security scenario.they ignore the existence of diverse 7 One could stretch the argument to say that if survival is indeed the goal of every great power (realism). then in a world where the other powers have unlimited destructive capability. Consequently. military capacity can contribute to great power status. so long as there are enough poles who have the unlimited destructive capability. for the reasons given above. µResource Wars¶ might be an exaggerated concept. China and the US might develop a status quo understanding about East Asia and will constantly posture without letting any battles turn hot.7 One important feature to note is that this situation will result in a decline in the importance of military capacity to great power status across states. Of course. First is the concern that rising countries will attempt to create spheres of influence in their neighbourhoods that will pit them against other powers. However. however due to the futility of it in such an international system. survival is best ensured by each one avoiding great power war and maintaining stability in the system. Second. there are fears that future competition for resources in Africa and Central Asia will bring great powers in conflict with one another.
international commerce and finance. non-proliferation. capital flows. 2004.led capitalism). pg x . This list will only expand in the coming decades. Joseph Nye defines soft power as the ³ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments´. international law and cosmopolitan political values. the deepening of globalization will lead to a number of issues being dealt with at the transnational level. media and global public goods. human rights. racism. Since governments will continue to hold on to their sovereignty on these issues. each great power will attempt to imprint its own principles on these global issues. Sample issues include climate change. a stabilized international security situation will diminish the value of military force as a status-enhancer. civil conflict. terrorism. and through these channels. regional and bilateral diplomacy. it cannot be ignored that leadership. political rhetoric and nature of events will play a critical role in these situations. a key supplementary source of ³power´ in 2050 will be soft power. trade. soft power will prove to be a particularly important determinant for great nation status. While 8 Nye.P age |6 world markets for commodities and that technological improvements might occur in the future to relieve states from exhaustible resource dependence. political ideals and policies. Beyond economic might. role of government in the economy (state. thereby leaving a large vacuum for nationalist desires to project power in other symbolic ways. Thus. Nevertheless. As described above. and stems from a country¶s ³culture. there is leeway for the paper¶s security predictions to fall short.´8 By the middle of the 21st century. and citizens around the world interact to bring their national perspectives to tackle them. The extent to which a country manages to serve its interests and enhance the attractiveness of its ideas to others on these issues will determine its soft power. soft power will be exercised through international institutions. Simultaneously.
The Great Powers in 2050 This paper envisions a multipolar world in 2050 with the great powers divided into two sub-levels. Brazil.P age |7 realists may be sceptical of international institutions. However. Group B contains India. demographics and geography. Can see Johnston. Fourth. As globalization proceeds at breakneck speed. Furthermore. In any case. 2009. the EU and Japan. Russia s future economic growth is bleak for several factors. They will wield 9 when they are truly representative and accountable. 11 The absence of Russia might raise eyebrows. Reasons are as follows. Group A contains USA and China. First. some institutional structures already exist. Third. authoritarianism is on the rise as Putin s grasp over the country solidifies. in line with the tenets of the paper. for the benefit of this paper.11 All countries in both groups will achieve ³great power´ status in 2050. high unemployment. toxic military.9 Finally. these factors will be seen as ingredients of economic power. Unlike China s institutionalized and . political stability. It has a declining population. poor private sector growth. institutions and multilateral agreements will be required to deal with the challenges emerging from it. the baggage of being an erstwhile superpower acts as a weight on it. alcoholism and an undiversified economy dependent on energy exports which by 2050 will likely decline in relevance as alternative energy technologies become widespread. where the paper will now move on to discussing the countries that might constitute the great power landscape in 2050. rampant corruption. they have established widely accepted international norms and the emerging powers are actively participating in them. This term includes factors such as social cohesion. the emerging powers hold geo-strategic visions that put representative multilateral institutions at the forefront of handling global issues. 10 And in some ways of soft power and military power also. µdomestics¶ cannot be excluded from the analysis of the power of nation states. they overlook liberal arguments that emphasize gains through cooperation and constructivist ones about institutions taking on a life of their own. small middle class.10 The role played by domestics will be highlighted throughout the following pages. Second. the main components of great power status.industrial complex. Russia s large military power may contribute to global security stability but it will contribute little in terms of economic or soft power.
each will possess sufficient ³deterrence´ capability to ward off pressure from any other great power. as well as being required members for the formation of any legitimate international regime. Furthermore.13 Per capita income is high. However. this paper predicts that the US will continue to be a superpower forty years from now. infrastructure is in place and firms and individuals still possess a significant amount of wealth for investment purposes. natural resources are abundant. Unlike other developed countries.P age |8 significant economic and soft power. it has reform. . US dominance has been a defining feature of the international system. instead. 2009 13 It has a growing population. The US has been a superpower for over a century and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.12 When looking at the year 2050. the United States of America. building onto this base will occur naturally in the long term. This distinction is further relevant in that countries belonging to group B might be able to move up to group A if they tackle certain obstacles in their growth trajectories. Russia s central government shows no signs of long term economic planning or government accountability. However. With the foundations for economic prosperity well institutionalized. group A nations will be distinct in having some extra power over smaller countries in the system. the US has demographics that favour its progress in the medium to long term. The US is still the world¶s largest economic and military power with other countries trailing far behind.promising central party. the 2008 financial crisis and the astonishing rise of emerging markets in the East have led many to predict the ³waning of US hegemony´. Its legal systems are robust and the world¶s most advanced capital markets give it monopolistic financial power status. 12 From Layne. albeit one amongst other great powers. also. in part through immigration. these predictions seem unreasonable. The first country that must be discussed is the reigning hegemon.
15 In 1979. closed intellectual spirit. and ever since its economy has consistently grown at a speed that is simply stunning for a nation of its size. Additionally. it overtook Japan as the world¶s second largest economy. pp4-8. China was a country poised to be the world¶s leading power. 1989. population increase controlled and political stability carefully maintained by the sometimes repressive communist regime. Lastly. built a sweeping infrastructure and created export industries that make it a trade powerhouse.P age |9 the educational institutions and multinational firms that will be the propellants of growth in a globalized world. technological stagnation. 1989.14 This destiny was lost in centuries of political mismanagement. A few centuries ago. imperialism and then social revolution and underdevelopment. The second country to be of prime systemic importance in 2050 is China. Chinese military expenditure is second only to the US. invasion. 2009. The well-implemented development projects have laid the foundation for continued growth in the future. This strong macro stability. The government¶s macroeconomic management has largely been sound.China¶s economic engine will continue to surprise the world. the workforce is skilled and is oriented towards the service sector.16 Economic policies have brought millions out of poverty. will guide the country through the bumpy road to superpower status. the segment from where a majority of future economic output will come. pp4-8 16 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook 2010 . in both economic and political governance. p152 Kennedy. when it contributed nearly 30% of global economic output. Just this year. Besides having the world¶s largest population. China liberalized. Moving into the future. Layne. one cannot discount the intangible of nationalist spirit 14 15 See Kennedy.
This will strengthen the control of the party. Using a 40 year timeframe.17 There are many challenges that these countries will encounter as they attempt to move along the path described above. political vision. the 2008 financial crisis has caused serious damage to the economy and might also result in longer run structural unemployment. In addition. note that this nationalist spirit will likely not be in the militant sense. some factors could be considered that would allow these countries to meet these challenges. Additionally. First. rhetoric. promote internal democratization within the party and also lower the influence of individual leaders. lead to enough people getting co-opted in the system and institutionalize the regime¶s legitimacy. The communist party in China has made initiatives to improve accountability of officials. crisis management and other reasons will necessarily shape events in a large way. the Chinese government is aware of the sustainable development issues and has been aggressively investing in green technology. . debt levels have been soaring as the government faces increased welfare demands domestically. Second. the stability of its authoritarian regime cannot be taken for granted. coupled with the high costs of dealing with external security threats. For the US. While leadership. environmental degradation and over-reliance on manufacturing export industries. There are even more serious concerns for China. rather a nationalist spirit to achieve higher economic milestones. especially as pressures to democratize increase and corruption continues. it can also be envisioned that domestic demand will increase significantly. the sustainability of its fast economic growth may be jeopardized by increasing wage levels.P a g e | 10 that is emerging and will open up further within a population whose standards of living have risen over the last several years. 17 Keeping with the meaning of power described above.
P a g e | 11 However. According to rational growth theory predictions.innovation. Conversely. provide a safety valve for disgruntled groups and create µbottoms. especially with regards to the two sides¶ interpretations of ³core´ interests such as Taiwan. the US¶s robust democratic and legal systems negate the chances for political instability. China is set to . the trajectories of US and Chinese power will be reflected through and impacted by their bilateral relationship in the first half of the 21st century. The futility of war and shared economic interests will prevent superpower war. In spite of periodic recessions and an already advanced position. this jostling will not amount to dangerous battles. US military dominance will prevent a hegemon/ rising challenger arms race scenario. open thinking and free entrepreneurial spirit. Nonetheless. in terms of military rivalry. First. the US is probably the world leader in these and they could constitute the single most important set of reasons sustaining its superpower status. a complex mixture of economic rivalry and interconnectedness will become the basis of their power comparison. the possibility of intermittent periods of heightened security tensions in China¶s Eastern sphere of influence should be acknowledged. tightly-controlled China lacks the key elements that can provide explosive growth to an economy at any stage of development.up governance¶ that is a more sustainable and efficient method to generate accountability (unlike China¶s enforced accountability from the top). this paper will maintain the assumption that while the two great powers might continuously jostle. Moving beyond individual characteristics. Research for cutting edge industries or innovative policy designs is best carried out in an environment with the least restrictions or guidelines. Second. Moreover. America¶s open economic system and world renowned educational centres greatly increase the chances of unforeseen technological shocks or business ideas sprouting from within its borders.
It has the world¶s most advanced financial markets. revised down from 2041. it will become less dependent on borrowing from China).g.P a g e | 12 overtake the US in GDP terms in the next twenty years18. a general dispersion of financial power across large powers will greatly increase the financial µdeterrence¶ Goldman Sachs says 2028. For example. will also be in a position to tap the domestic Chinese market once its purchasing power increases. American firms that may have set up plants in China to export goods back to the US. In sum. 18 . the US has been the undisputed centre of global finance. See Layne. their economies will be extremely interlinked ± the cross border investments and bilateral trade that are vast today will continue to grow. this power could reduce as capital markets become even more globalized and economic activity spreads around the world. and this will spill over into their technological pursuits. Interestingly though. competition for resources and influence over trading partners. This gives it considerable leverage during economic crises. both domestic and international. they are likely to become close competitors along a number of economic metrics (except per capita ones). Nearer to 2050. but given the close relationship comparative advantages will keep shifting dynamically to boost the volume of total trade. 2009. Economist Intelligence Unit predicted 2021. Additionally.19 Of course the nature of their balance account may change (e. financial centres may become dispersed. or amassing reserves as they have currently done. other governments may create their own mechanisms to deal with crises. unlike any great power rivalry before. Going forward. the US might lose its currency reserve status.g. most powerful banks and the dollar is the world¶s defacto reserve currency. once established. will seek to maintain their presence for the long run and also become indigenized to an extent. Commercial linkages (such as FDI or cross border supply chains). p163 and Goldman Sachs (November 2007) BRICs and Beyond 19 E. Moreover. Since the decline of Great Britain. One additional area where this rivalry will be most evident is financial power. by developing domestic or regional capital markets. as the US saves more or China starts importing US services.
Both are currently under the US security umbrella. a key differentiator in 2050 between them will be their soft power position. India and Brazil. which will be looked at later. Yet. to fall far behind the emerging economies. Therefore. Japan. might come as a surprise to many. it should be duly noted that an international dispersion in financial power would require other great powers to invest heavily in and take the risk of developing free financial markets backed by robust legal systems. democratic systems and a large capacity of skilled labour. Even with a low rate of growth it would be difficult for the EU. The EU and Japan are developed world entities that should become powerful forces in 2050. The EU is already the world¶s largest market.P a g e | 13 ability of great nations. importer and exporter. this does not necessarily mean that China will be the beneficiary of the US¶s loss. Such initiative cannot be easily foreseen by the other candidates for great power status. As mentioned previously. we will move onto the second set of countries that are likely to be great powers in 2050 ± the EU.g. albeit they might be stuck at a level slightly lower than US and China. as a single entity. as Thomas Friedman calls the nameless actors running capital markets. Per capita incomes are high and they do not face the developmental challenges that emerging economies must deal with. Given that its currency and financial markets are heavily controlled by the state. Germany¶s current export led growth and quick recovery from the crisis is enabling it to support weaker members). Now. Also. Given the prediction that the US and China will be close competitors for economic hegemon status. of course. given the last two decades of economic . They have strong institutions. Given the strong foundations of an already advanced economy. it is least likely to attract the confidence of the ³electronic herd´. one could conceive of individual countries finding new sources of growth that could stimulate other EU members (e. Japan. the decline in importance of military power will benefit their great power status. these will be great powers.
For instance. These factors paint an optimistic picture for the EU and Japan. there will be divergent political interests that will result in divergent economic priorities. it will be difficult for them to project a coherent economic picture. Japan has an extra factor going for it.P a g e | 14 stagnation. This is the counter reaction to a rising China. However. This will put strains on the scope and reform of the monetary union. Moreover. As China appears more threatening. Japan¶s two decades long experience of stagnation and deflation might have accustomed the population to a lower level of growth. Serious political union is unlikely because of the strong commitment to preserving sovereignty. and at worst will prevent them from becoming great powers of any sort. this may adversely impact the drive to develop new technologies or comparative advantages. with high incomes. Japanese economic spirit might be invigorated to increase output capacity. Consequently. and powerful national identities of each society. They might be a voting bloc in certain multilateral trading . Further. which is necessary if either wishes to break into group A in 2050. in addition to arguments similar to the ones given for the EU above. huge demands for social services and are highly dependent on the external world for key resources. they lack the fiery economic spirit that developing countries possess. However. the µEU goal¶ being championed by technocratic elite instead of the masses. The EU faces an even more daunting challenge in the form of a mismatch between its political union and monetary union. R&D in resources (e. More importantly. since each nation will conduct its foreign commercial policy independently. welfare support systems and industrialized economies. they face serious challenges that will likely restrict them from entering the group A of great powers. substitutes to rare earth metals) and regaining export markets lost to China.g. Both have declining populations.
Brazil and India are still developing countries. The liberalization of India¶s economy in 1991 led to a boom in GDP growth over the past fifteen years. According to the Goldman Sachs BRICs report they are set to be the 3rd and 6th largest in nominal terms as well by 2050. have growing populations. Legal systems. Brazil¶s economic success has been a mixture of social welfare programs.20 Both are vibrant democracies. which will be discussed later. open democratic leadership makes the prospect of future growth bright elections and democratic institutions ensure that the concerns and interests of discontented social groups will be well represented. rule of law and judicial processes are far behind developed world counterparts. with per capita income having doubled and millions brought out of poverty. In both countries. in particular.21 Gradual government managed reforms have encouraged phenomenal private sector growth (services in particular) without the adverse consequences of sudden liberalization. The next two countries in group B are Brazil and India. India. has much to improve 20 21 Goldman Sachs (November 2007) BRICs and Beyond Data from World Bank Global Development Indicators . Corruption remains a major drain on economic and government efficiency. These two emerging giants hold significant promise of rising into group A. commodity exports and rising consumer appetite. India and Brazil are currently the world¶s 4th and 9th largest economies by GDP in PPP terms. Instead of economics. but not a coherent economic power beyond that. Their growth stories are truly extraordinary. major challenges lie in the future which if left unaddressed will cut short their upward paths to group A. However. agricultural production. prudent macroeconomic policies. the EU¶s greatest power might eventually emerge from its normative power in international institutions. large domestic markets and sizeable middle classes.P a g e | 15 organizations.
Brazil¶s immediate region presents the biggest opportunity in its great power pursuit. From a military force standpoint. Cohen. 2009. more effort will be required. India¶s relations with its neighbours are especially fraught ± it has an incessant dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. India. In the future. This will have great relevance for its standing in global economics or foreign policy forums as South America grows to become a united trading zone. Poor long term planning and infrastructure investment will critically prevent them from meeting such challenges. the failing nature of the Pakistani state amplifies the regional concern. The Indian subcontinent is one of the world¶s most dangerous regions. while India¶s growing military might contribute partially to its power status. Environmentally sustainable development has been recognized by both. Brazil seems to lagging behind India. For Brazil and India.22 Managing disputes and potentially disastrous crises can put severe strains on the economy. 2009 . it will have adverse effects 22 Holsag. the large working age populations that would have initially stimulated growth will need to be looked after. On another note. yet given the dependence of a large section of their populations on natural resource/ agriculture for employment. faces cross border terrorism and has tense border disputes with China. Brazil faces the difficult challenge of moving from a middle per capita income country to a high income one. In contrast. Moreover. particularly the US. However.P a g e | 16 on human development indicators such as education and healthcare. by 2050. like Japan. to act as a counterbalance to rising China. is likely to gain from future support from Western powers. inequality will need to be better addressed in both these rapidly growing democracies. While the relationship with China might settle at a stable equilibrium with minor military tit-for-tats. As the largest South American country it is the natural leader of this group of nations. regional dynamics will play an important role in their great power ascendance.
However. Soft Power We will now move on to discussing the competition for soft power amongst the great powers described above. Brazil¶s lack of nuclear weapons will also not harm its great power status. each great power will posture to imprint its own values on any 23 24 Ikenberry. especially since these institutions have taken on certain lives of their own and have large bureaucracies that are difficult to dismantle. Note that competition for soft power will have an important impact on a country¶s ability to move from group B to group A.24 Unfortunately. In fact. Ikenberry posits that robust international regimes have been formed by grand bargains between hegemons and other big powers. this might benefit Brazil¶s soft power. wherein the hegemon exercises ³strategic restraint´ to achieve a constitutional order that serves its long term interests. 2050 will see a multipolar system without a clear hegemon. 2008 .P a g e | 17 on its economy. This competition will be most evident in international institutions and international economic relationships. The main way in which India¶s military power will be relevant will be in its capacity to tactfully negotiate regional security concerns without appearing destabilizing to other countries. No single great power will be able to provide ³strategic restraint´ of the sort to package a widespread institutional arrangement. the current institutions may lay certain foundational values for future ones. 2006 Ibid. In line with the paper¶s assumptions on the future relevance of military force in great power. he believes that so long as they modify their representation and accountability issues. Ikenberry.23 Further. which will be discussed in the next section. First. the US led ³layer cake´ of post WW II institutions is best positioned to serve as the future forums for international cooperation and stability. Ikenberry¶s theories are ill-suited for the world in 2050. Second.
the lack of a compelling soft power story will severely limit its great power status and mobility into group A. human rights. democracy. also. the US might be willing to cede certain privileges in order to spread responsibility for tackling global challenges.P a g e | 18 future institutions. as Ian Manners calls it. they will seek to modify rules and come up with alternative systems to serve their interests better and also reflect their changed power status. competition among regional institutional arrangements (that will likely increase in number by 2050) may result in completely new international forums to replace the old ones.25 Its principles of multilateralism. 25 Diez. entrepreneurship and social mobility (even though its actual measures on these regards might be lower than others). The EU¶s existing normative power. The US will likely lose a significant amount of its unilateral leverage over international institutions. Moreover. 2005 . environment. Naturally. In addition. political freedoms. it will continue to have a soft power appeal across the world¶s publics. the trend towards economic globalization and the growth of middle classes in the developing world may have positive fallouts for US soft power. civil liberties. The only caveat is that by 2050 some of these principles may become identifiable with other great powers or the institutions themselves. the EU¶s internal inconsistency regarding these values might increase as they face problems of inequality and intolerance toward immigrants. For the other developed power in group B. Japan. Since the US champions the ideals of free markets. will enable it to set standards in international institutions in the future. and welfare services will become more appealing as issues are increasingly debated at the transnational level. as the world becomes more multipolar the current uni-pole will have to cede space on its entrenched dominant positions in multiple organizations. consumerism. Nonetheless.
Zhao. in the long run.28 Finally.P a g e | 19 For the three rising powers. pp432-36 28 Ibid. statistics on UN Peacekeeping forces. social and religious diversity and association with Gandhian values (engagement in diplomacy) boost its soft power image. i. China¶s appeal lies in its phenomenal economic success. India¶s democratic system. the soft power battle will be heavily contested over both representation in international institutions as well as leadership of the South. economic growth. November 2009. and a no political strings.26 This supports the claim that these countries believe multilateral institutions as the future for resolving global disputes. colonial background. China. 2010. A flourishing democracy. Its authoritarian rule and record on human rights is resented in many of the world¶s democracies. vibrant entertainment industry and cultural exports have helped it appeal to people in the Martinez-Diaz & Woods. soft power is likely to be an extremely strong source of power for India. the attractiveness of the state-led µBeijing model¶ versus the µWashington Consensus¶.attached diplomacy towards developing countries. In multilateral organizations such as the WTO. Already. these countries have aggressively been forming large voting blocs. utilizing the dispute settlement mechanism and contributing to peacekeeping or other UN activities. Thus. 27 26 . its rapid industrial growth may not be a useful template of sustainable development for other countries. so long as the institutions are representative. Its pragmatic policies might be efficient. other developing nations. India and Brazil.27 Conversely. UN or G20. On the other hand. but a value-less ideology has little soft power magnetism.e. soft power might turn out to be a mixed bag for China. They are already activeparticipants in international regimes. preparing agendas. experience of dealing with ethnic. free press. the limitations to China¶s soft power are significant.
Frame: The Significance of Ideational Factors Robert Kennedy emphasizes material considerations and relative power in order to explain historical great power trends. 30 Kennedy. 1989 29 .welfare policies in contrast to the fast GDP growth emphasis in India and China. Soft power will come from its prioritization of pro. such soft power will increase. One concern to note is thatin spite of the diverse foreign policy prescriptions by different domestic interest groupsit would need to establish a coherent and consistent foreign policy vision.P a g e | 20 developed and developing world alike. Inside theStructural Window. particularly in economic terms. Of course. in order to capitalize on its potential it must continue these policies. it will need to accelerate leadership initiatives on global issues. Brazil¶s non-nuclear status will make it appear far less threatening than the two Asian giants. Further. while dismissing the relevance of everyday events in diplomatic and economic affairs or the role of individuals. This stems from the concern raised by Cooper and Fues (2007) and corroborated by Sinha and Dorschner (2010).29 Brazil¶s leadership of South America will give it sway in multilateral organizations. which it has not demonstrated until very recently. manage to unite Latin American nations and not have a foreign policy that is overly dependent on idiosyncratic leaders. As it opens up further to the outside world. However. there are important reasons that distinguish the paper¶s approach from Kennedy¶s.30 This paper borrows from his approach in that long term structural factors are used to create the broad framework for predictions and many of these structural factors are formed by comparative material economic and political conditions. Similarly. Cohen (2009) that Indian diplomacy can often be muddled or confused without a clear vision.
where issues will become transnational. Yet. unlike classical growth theory predictions by economists. makes inter-power competition for leadership of international institutions and norms a new major feature of great power rivalry. the paper¶s analysis had a more delicate treatment of material conditions than simple numerical comparisons (note that Kennedy has a similar treatment in his book). For instance. structural factors . Lastly. consequently. Of course. the structural factors that were studied will give rise to certain µwindow. but are unlike power balancing under the realist framework where one country¶s loss in security is another¶s gain. The prediction that the world will be an extremely globalized place in 2050. the comparisons of material economic indicators may be relativist. The idiosyncrasies of leaders. the nature of the unfolding of these events and their interpretations will be unique.propelling technology or idea ³shocks´ were emphasized. Closer to liberalism. great powers in 2050 will seek to independently race towards absolute economic gains for domestic purposes and in the process will cooperate to extract mutual benefits. Thus. Third. the integral role of soft power to great power status will be markedly different from historical power rivalries. certain political structures were studied to be better at producing ideational changes.P a g e | 21 First. they will also lead to transition events from where leaders and the specific nature of those events have considerable µwiggle room¶ to determine subsequent directions. political rhetoric. norm leadership or tackling challenges. Second. Similarly. these factors will play a substantial role in shaping 2050¶s great power landscape. their strategic vision. the predictions in the paper are contingent upon the ability of countries to achieve their potential trajectories and tackle critical obstacles along the way.frames¶ within which states and leaders are constrained. the reasons for why certain countries are more likely than others to emerge with growth.
Level B powers face significant challenges restricting mobility into level A: developed powers Japan and EU need to overcome stagnant economic conditions and spirit. Soft power will serve as an integral component to great power status as countries spar over leadership of international institutions and to attract others to their values on an increasing number of transnational issues. Finally. whereas developing nations Brazil and India need to plan effectively to meet long term developmental challenges. the EU and Japan as level B ones. the possibility of unexpected positive shocks that boost growth is more likely to come from the former. India has had great success and might continue to build on this strength. state-led fast growth will be a mixed bag in attracting others. although structural factors must form the basis to project window. Given this situation. the US and EU are currently in strong positions but will cede some space (and will need to manage that). An adequate degree of disincentive to cause great power war will make military power much less important than it used to be. authoritarian. Brazil. Brazil has potential but needs to demonstrate more initiative. level A powers will have more leverage over smaller nations and no international regime can be legitimized without them. Conclusion This paper has argued that economic power will be the backbone of great power status in 2050. The future portends a super. Both the US and China will continue to rise. In terms of soft power.globalized economic village where absolute economic gains drive countries¶ actions. China¶s pragmatic. one . and Japan is lagging far behind in this regard.frames of great power trajectories.P a g e | 22 were analysed to understand which countries would more likely have revolutionizing shocks or events that impact their great power trajectories. 2050 will see the US and China as level A great powers and India. However. While all will have deterrence capability.
accelerating or decelerating the paths outlined above.P a g e | 23 cannot ignore that leaders and specific events will have an impact on redirecting. .
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