WASHINGTON — The United States could see its standing as a superpower eroded and Asian economies will outstrip those of North America and Europe combined by 2030, according to the best guess of the U.S. intelligence community in its latest forecast.
"The spectacular rise of Asian economies is dramatically altering … U.S. influence," said Christopher Kojm, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, as it released the report Global Trends 2030 on Monday.
The report is the intelligence community's analysis of where current trends will take the world in the next 15 to 20 years. Its release was timed for the start of a new presidential administration and it is aimed at helping U.S. policymakers plan for the future.
The report also predicted the U.S. will be energy independent.
"With shale gas, the U.S. will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come," the report said.
The study said that in a best-case scenario, Americans, together with nearly two-thirds of the world's population, will be middle class, mostly living in cities, connected by advanced technology, protected by advanced health care and linked by countries that work together, perhaps with the United States and China cooperating to lead the way.
Violent acts of terrorism will also be less frequent as the U.S. drawdown in troops from Iraq and Afghanistan robs extremist ideologies of a rallying cry to spur attacks. But that will likely be replaced by acts like cyberterrorism, wreaking havoc on an economy with a keystroke, the study's authors say.