The end of America's short reign as the preeminent world power looms ever nearer. Beset with increasing racial, cultural and linguistic division, America is becoming a nation united by little else than common economic interests. Should the world undergo an economic dislocation similar to that which took place during the 30s of the past century, there are no longer any assurances America will recover nor perhaps even emerge an united polity. Across the Pacific lies a recently poor authoritarian state of a billion people. Having abandoned the impossible goal of securing equality for its citizens, it has swapped arcane marxist economics for straightforward capitalist practices, and is busily reaping the rewards. At even modest rates of growth, within the next fifty years it will attain western levels of economic well-being. At that point China will also rival the west militarily. What will be the significance of this for global politics? The Chinese will be a people united by blood and civilization. America (and Europe) will be a mish-mash of peoples 'united' by a high-minded creed her citizens no longer even believe. Americans will no longer be able to assume a technological edge militarily, but even in a fair fight, those fighing for blood are likely to crush those fighting for...a pay check. Given such premises, the Chinese are quite likely to pursue a geopolitical course favoring their own designs, even one that shows scant regard for the welfare of other nations -- just as earlier generations of Europeans once did. A hundred years after the Japanese tried it, China could ebmark on a drang in all directions, secure the land and, with millions of spare citizens, repopulate and hold it indefinitely. The possibilities are manifold. Americans and Europeans may protest that such actions run counter to some or other set of 'universal principles', but the Chinese are unlikely to be bothered. History will continue merrily as history always has. Some may say calmer, more liberal voices in China will prevail. That the Chinese will be too preoccupied consuming mindless throwaway culture much as today's western youths waste their lives. Only a couple of months ago, however, TV reports showed images of a Chinese border guard shooting at a column of people (and killing a couple) illegally trying to leave the country; America won't even shoot at people illegally trying to enter. For the time being, the contrast couldn't be sharper.