POWERBRIEF QUESTION: SINCE THE SOVIET UNION COLLAPSED WHICH COUNTRY HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST WINNER ON THE WORD STAGE?

ANSWER: CHINA

 

Why?

 

As we found out yesterday, America is no longer the hegemonic power.

Instead we have seen China score the biggest rise in power in the world—by 6.5 points, followed by India (1.5 points) and even Iraq (.3 points). Angola (.28 points) had the fourth-highest growth, slightly ahead of Egypt (.27 points), Uruguay (.27 points) and Australia (.26 points).* 

A massive change in historic trends is taking place among the world powers. They indicate the coming end of the unipolar world, or the one where the US was the sole superpower, unequalled by any other country in the world. The accelerating growth in strength by China (as well as India) suggests that we are now living in a bi- or multi-polar world, in which the balance of power in the world will be remodelled.

The remodelling of the international system is already causing growing upheavals, as the strongest countries in the world use strategic windows to redefine their roles and change the network of alliances. This process is being implemented with hard and soft power.

Economic Power

China is already the largest economy in the world according to purchasing power parity. The evolution of China's power in the 7 powerapps we highlighted yesterday indicates that they may become the global leader in the near future. The last few years have been crucial in this category, when new money along with new millionaires hammered home China’s economic rise. 

Here is China in 2007 scoring half the points of the United States economically, and half the overall state power points.

Il sorpasso occurred in 2015-16

In the coming years, China’s potential will rise rapidly. Even back in 2015, the US was able to count on an economic potential of 15.9 points and China of 15.4.

The US is now second (13.6 points), India third (6.6 points), followed by Germany (3.6 points) and Japan. Russia ranks only sixth. The share of the world’s riches also rose among countries such as Indonesia, Iraq, Turkey, Nigeria, Qatar and Vietnam.

These results partly correspond to the size of the capital market — China’s is the largest alongside several key global economies, such as the US, Great Britain, Japan, China and Germany. Russia ranks only sixth.

Military Power

In the past quarter century, militarisation in most countries has been on the rise in 62 per cent of all countries. Atop the list of the countries spending more in their armies is China—its indicator rose by 3.99 points in 1991-2017. The second highest rise was India (1.23 points), followed by Saudi Arabia (1.01 points) and Ukraine (0.76 points).*

The US is in the last place in terms of changes in military spending with a 4.01-point drop.

The 21st century brings a new kind of conflict — authoritarian states like China have learned to lead conflicts below the threshold of war. Without open conflicts, they produce the desired effects in other countries thanks to disinformation and controlling public moods. Fighting with (dis) information is a component of a new dimension of soft power, aimed at destabilising the systems of liberal democracies.

Cultural power

The highest number of the best global universities is in the US—137. China is now second with 54 universities, Germany third (38) and Great Britain fourth (37). In total, the Anglosphere universities in the US, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada account for 42 per cent of the best universities in the world.

Conclusion

Of course, there is no certainty that China's upward trend will continue. As we saw, it is not known whether economic growth will be maintained at this current level with a growing elderly population, given the effects of the one-child policy that has strongly influenced the country's demographics.

But China wins the prize for the greatest rise over the last thirty years. And that represents a success in the grand strategy devised by Deng Xiaoping in 1979 and the Chinese use of all its smart power assets to achieve its objective: rival, then supplant, American hegemony.

* You can see more details with our friends the State Power Index http://www.statepowerindex.com/