The U.S. intelligence community has predicted a multipolar world with no hegemonic power in 2030, although the United States will likely remain "first among equals" alongside other great powers.
In a report released Monday by the National Intelligence Council, the midterm and long-term strategic thinking arm within the intelligence community, the world will see accelerated individual empowerment and diffusion of power owing to poverty reduction, growth of the global middle class, greater education attainment, widespread use of new technologies and healthcare advances.
The report, titled Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, explores the possible scenarios in the future. It predicted the United States will be overtaken by China in economic weight, possibly as early as the 2020s', while maintaining its "first among equals" status alongside other great powers, owing to the multifaceted nature of U.S. power.
The authors said the most plausible best-case scenario for the future would be one that sees China and U.S. collaborate on a range of issues, leading to broader global cooperation, while the most plausible worst-case scenario would see the risk of interstate conflict increase and the U.S. draws inward and globalization stalls.
The report also warned of possible catastrophic effects of extraordinary events that can change the course of history, such as severe pandemic that can kill millions within months, and rapid climate change that could make it hard to feed the world's population.