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PostHegemons of 2069: My Thoughts (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 01/11/19 4:17 am)
Commenting on my post of January 8th, JE asked an intriguing question: "What nation(s) will be hegemonic in 50 years? Does the US have any legitimate challenger other than China?"
Fifty years is not a very long time for addressing such questions. After the old US-versus-USSR contest for hegemony, there is no major hegemonic power on the horizon. The US is slowly losing (or frittering away) its ability to lead on all fronts: social, political, technical, economically speaking. Contrary to what the European Union's rabid critics seem to think, my bet would be on it as a potential economic rival for the US (after China). However, they seem unable to sustain their social, political, and economic integration in an effective way.
We must never underestimate Russia as a major potential player. I share Cameron Sawyer's laments of how several US administrations were incapable of responding in kind to several Russian leaders over time who were wise enough to see the unproductive results from rivalry versus greater cooperation and partnership. Again I blame the disconnect on stupid ideology and private interests from our side. In my opinion, we engaged China way beyond the wise and pissed on the Russians in the same fashion.
Japan has amazing capability for leadership but is relatively shy (for historical reasons) and seems to avoid the hegemonic role altogether. Countries like Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia and India are too corrupt to get out of their own shadow. They don't have the credentials for hegemony beyond their immediate neighborhood.
Last, fifty years is not enough but perhaps in a hundred years, Canada and Australia may expand their own identities and become major players in the world stage. Most other countries are just too small to project an image significant enough for overall leadership, even though some might be quite capable of hegemony in specific narrower areas.
JE comments: The EU's existential struggles have prevented it from hegemony until now. Twenty years ago, wouldn't most people have predicted that by 2019 it would be more integrated and powerful?