By Pranav Sehgal
It no longer seems as if the United States is the world’s only superpower. With countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China growing faster than the United States, American dominance over international affairs is already waning. Although the United States is regarded as the world’ s leader in many respects, it does not carry the same status as it did during the second half of the 20th century.
China’ s economic ascendancy has challenged the United States’ identity as a superpower. It seems as if China has America on a leash—it has loaned and continues to loan our country billions of dollars. If China were to call in its loans, the consequences would be devastating to the U.S. economy. While the Chinese government plans to invest $586 billion in infrastructure, investment of infrastructure in the United States remains minimal and a comprehensive plan to revamp our nation’ s roads, railways, runways and other transportation services has not yet been implemented.
China has extended its reach to Africa in an effort to compete for the world’ s natural resources. While our government is preoccupied with wars overseas and all the costs involved, China’ s leadership isn’t taking any chances. It has become the most aggressive investor-nation in Africa in order to gain the vast natural resources Africa offers.
The effects of China’ s dominance can also be seen on university campuses throughout the United States, as Chinese students compete with Americans for spots in educational institutions. Many regard the Chinese educational system as more rigorous than that of the United States. The Chinese have fewer days off, strict school systems and now the means to go abroad—all factors contributing to great success in standardized testing and superior academic results that eventually lead to success in the workforce.
In order to combat challenges to American domestic and international influence, the U.S. government must reassert itself as an economic power by investing in infrastructure and leading the way in other technological pursuits like alternative energy resources.
The United States has always led through great economic changes—for example the dot-com era and the real estate boom—and must continue to do so. Globalization has made the world smaller, so the United States must extend its partnerships overseas in order to be competitive with China because our consumer-based society needs resources to fuel our economy.
We must also invest heavily in education if the United States wants to continue to compete with students from China and beyond. If measures and policies are not implemented to fight these challenges, the United States will no longer be perceived as a superpower. It will fall like all the formerly great empires, and countries like China will fill the void.