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2009 May 08 Friday
Australia Ponders US Decline

A defense review in Australia looks ahead to the end of US dominance in the Pacific Ocean region.

In the preface to a sweeping defense review released Saturday, Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon writes: "The biggest changes to our outlook . . . have been the rise of China, the emergence of India and the beginning of the end of the so-called unipolar moment; the almost two-decade-long period in which the pre-eminence of our principal ally, the United States, was without question."

Australia isn't forecasting the end of U.S. dominance soon; the report predicts that will continue through 2030.

I think 2030 seems a bit optimistic. China might not have a bigger fleet by then. But Chinese ability to sink the US fleet will increase greatly by then. The problem as I see it for the US Navy is that big ships are very vulnerable to fairly small weapons. The US Navy has had it easy in the sense that no nation had the money to spend to strike at the vulnerabilities of a surface fleet. But that'll change the weapons for attacking will cost far less than the prices for the ships.

The US has really big demographic problems that will combine with financial problems and Peak Oil to weaken the US economy in the next 20 years. What could change that picture? I'm thinking artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. But while AI will raise living standards (until they take over and wipe us out) I expect the Chinese to embrace and use AI as fast as we will.

By Randall Parker    2009 May 08 02:29 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
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