In a single chart, why the US will be #1 where it matters in 2030

Hard and soft power
Hard and soft power
Image: National Intelligence Council
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The year 2030 will be a time of diffused power—China will have the largest economy, but multiple actors operating individually, in coalitions and networks will exert much countervailing influence. According to Global Trends 2030, the latest quadrennial consensus of US intelligence agencies, this shift largely reverses the historic rise of the West over the last 250 years. Yet, the report says, when you account for all aspects of global power—hard and soft—the US is likely still to tower over everyone else.

Doubtless, China’s intelligence agencies have their own math for who will dominate in the coming decades. But the chart above explains why the US National Intelligence Council thinks it will continue to be the US. China, it says, will continue to dominate in pure mass of humanity, while the US will continue to be bigger in research and development, the Internet, foreign investment and military spending.