There are adequate reasons to doubt that China will emerge as a great global power this year or in the near future for that matter. The United States remains by far at the forefront of the current global system, and when there is a conflict in the near future, more often than not the U.S. will plant itself right in the middle of it.
There are many reasons for its ability to maintain this status, but perhaps foremost among them is that the United States is skilled at using soft power, which essentially is the ability to persuade others to follow you through attraction rather than force. A nation will admire another nation’s values, emulate them, aspire to its level of prosperity and openness, and then try to follow it. The United States’ geography also makes this likely since it is conveniently located between both Asia and Europe and has a presence in nearly all the world’s shipping lanes. This is also not going away anytime soon, as America’s Navy is disproportionally more powerful than almost all the worlds navies combined.
Some would state that China or other eastern countries may make it difficult for the U.S. to beneficially involve itself in certain global security events, particularly those in the East. Be that as it may, let us make a prediction of both the obvious nature and of the non-obvious nature. Predicting that China’s economy will eventually be larger than that of the U. S. and thus gain similar global power is an exercise in boring persistence theory. It is a fairly safe bet, since more financial power and leverage could eventually tip the scales in China’s favor (though it is not necessarily a destined or inevitable outcome in my opinion). On the other hand, there is also evidence that due to China’s own historical habits, demographics, and geography, China will fragment within itself and therefore fall away from its present level of strength. It is a somewhat bolder prediction and yet just as possible in my opinion.
In near future, the Chinese economy will continue the gradual, painful process of moving away from high export-driven growth and toward a model that is more sustainable in the long run. This adjustment will slow its economic growth. Furthermore, there may be growing dissent within the nation if China’s government cannot parlay its current wealth into developing a modern infrastructure and a higher standard of living for its citizens. These issues along with the United States' own efforts and machinations will allow the U.S. to maintain its role as “Global Security Provider,” either for good or ill in the coming year and beyond.