Who Will Be the Next Superpower?

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Who Will Be the Next Superpower?

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For over 60 years, since the end of World War II, the United States has been the world's preeminent power. For four decades it had a rival, the Soviet Union. But since the fall of communism there has been only one global superpower. Nations have risen and fallen throughout history. The United States is no exception. Eventually, inevitably, America will lose its supremacy, just as the British lost theirs to the United States.

Who will replace the United States as the world's global leader?

The candidates

There are plenty of candidates.

Could it be China, which has the biggest population and one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world? Could it be India, with over 1 billion people and a booming economy? Or, perhaps, it's an alliance of Middle Eastern nations, increasingly the recipients of great wealth?

The fact is that the United States has already lost its economic preeminence to a rival superpower in the making.

"At the dawn of the twenty-first century, a geopolitical revolution of historic dimensions is under way across the Atlantic: the unification of Europe. Twenty-five nations have joined together—with another dozen or so on the waiting list—to build a common economy, government, and culture. Europe is a more integrated place today that at any time since the Roman Empire."

So wrote T.R. Reid, former London bureau chief for the Washington Post, in the prologue to his 2004 book The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy.

Continuing, Mr. Reid wrote: "The new United States of Europe—to use Winston Churchill's phrase—has more people, more wealth, and more trade than the United States of America. The New Europe cannot match American military strength (and doesn't want to, for that matter). But it has more votes in every international organization than the United States, and it gives away far more money in development aid. The result is global economic and political clout that makes the European Union exactly what its leaders want it to be: a second superpower that can stand on equal footing with the United States."

In the year that Mr. Reid wrote his book, the EU added 10 new members to make the 25 he mentioned. At that moment in time, the EU surpassed the United States as the world's biggest single market. Less than four years later, with the falling value of the U.S. dollar and the rise in the value of the euro, in the midst of the credit crunch, the 15-nation euro zone overtook the United States.

With the addition of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU now has 27 members, with others trying to qualify for membership. Even stricter rules apply to joining the 15-member euro zone—out of the 12 countries of the EU that do not presently use the euro, nine are in line to join, but their finances are not considered sound enough.

In January 2009 the 27 will have one president over them, prior to the new American president taking office. He may not have as much military clout as his American counterpart, but through Europe's growing economic power, his international influence is likely to be just as great.

Europe is on track to achieve its primary goal, explained in the closing paragraph of Mr. Reid's prologue: "…the leaders and the people of the EU are determined to change a world that had been dominated by Americans. Indeed, that goal has become a powerful motivator for the New Europe—to create a United States of Europe that is not the United States of America. One clear result of the unification of Europe is that the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean is growing wider every day."

This growing division was highlighted during President George W. Bush's April 2008 visit to Bucharest, Romania, for the NATO summit. The United States, which was accustomed to getting its own way in NATO, found the Europeans this time refusing to go along with American plans for expanding the military alliance.

Washington supported Ukraine and Georgia's request for membership in the world's oldest military alliance, but Germany and France opposed their entry, fearing increased conflict with Russia. Mr. Bush suffered further embarrassment when, after announcing that Croatia, Albania and Macedonia were to be admitted as new members, Greece vetoed Macedonia's membership.

The Europeans are increasingly flexing their muscles—often at American expense.

While their goal is an "ever closer union," as agreed to in the 1957 Treaty of Rome that laid the basis for the present EU, they aren't likely to call themselves the United States of Europe. Their desire is for a distinctly separate identity from the United States—democratic, but with their own style, taking into account historical and geographical realities.

For the fact is that the European Union is composed of nations that have spent much of the last 1,000 years concentrating on living and preserving their separate identities, often having to defend themselves to exist. Now they are voluntarily coming together, giving up aspects of their own sovereignty in order to accomplish the goal of that "ever closer union."

Mr. Reid put it very well when he wrote that "Europe is a more integrated place today than at any time since the Roman Empire."

Indeed, the latest attempt at unifying Europe is one of a number of revivals throughout history that tried to resurrect the Roman Empire. Previous attempts were by conquest. This time it's all voluntary, which means it's coming together more slowly but with far greater support and enthusiasm.

In the past, the military of one power forcibly united the others; now economics is the driving force as Europe and its currency the euro achieve universal supremacy.

Roman Empire prophesied

In the Old Testament book of Daniel we read that God "removes kings and raises up kings" (Daniel 2:21 Daniel 2:21And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
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). God is behind the rise and fall of nations.

Daniel saw this for himself. Born in the kingdom of Judah, Daniel was taken captive as a teenager when the mighty Babylonian Empire conquered his nation. Here he spent the better part of 70 years.

Just as Daniel saw the invasion and fall of his home country, he was to live to see the invasion and fall of Babylon. Persia conquered the conquerors in October 539 B.C.

Daniel knew this was going to happen. God had used him to reveal the meaning of a dream King Nebuchadnezzar had. The dream and its interpretation are recorded in chapter 2 of the book of Daniel. In verse 39, Daniel explained that three other great gentile empires would succeed the Babylonian Empire. We see five verses later that these empires would culminate in the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

Some years later, Daniel himself had a similar vision that gave him a deeper understanding of these prophesied events. In his vision, Daniel saw four great beasts (Daniel 7:3 Daniel 7:3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
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), four great gentile empires, "each different from the other."

"The first was like a lion" (verse 4, Babylon); the "second, like a bear" (verse 5 Persia); the third, "like a leopard," depicted Alexander the Great and his Grecian Empire, which would have "four heads," the four generals who were to divide up his empire after his untimely death (verse 6).

"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth…It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (verse 7). The successor to Greece was Rome, centuries after Daniel's vision.

But notice the reference to "ten horns" in verse 7. In the following verse, verse 8, we read that "there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots."

A horn is a symbol of aggressive strength, and it is associated with political authority and power. The 10 horns mentioned here, with three to be plucked out by the roots, lead in time to the establishment of the Kingdom of God, as verse 9 shows, "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated."

As the Kingdom of God has not yet been established on the earth, this is still future.

If the Roman Empire is the last of the four beasts mentioned in Daniel chapters 2 and 7, and the Roman Empire immediately precedes the Kingdom of God, then clearly the 10 horns mentioned here are revivals of the Roman Empire down through history. The final resurrection of the Roman Empire is prophesied in the New Testament book of Revelation, a book dealing specifically with end-time events and the Day of the Lord.

The European Union was founded by the Treaty of Rome. Its expressed intent is to form "an ever closer union." What began as an economic union developed into a monetary union. Now it is becoming a full political union. Out of it will come the nations that form the prophesied Beast power, the final revival of the Roman Empire that leads directly into the Kingdom of God.

Revelation 13:3 Revelation 13:3And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
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shows that the entire world will be astounded when it sees the revived Roman Empire. "And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast." Its power and authority will affect the whole earth.

Other revivals of the Roman Empire have been attempted throughout history. This article begins a series that will examine each of those resurrections helping readers to understand the background to what has become the world's biggest single economic power with a currency to rival the U.S. dollar—the chief economic rival to American supremacy. The EU is not the Beast, but the Beast will likely come out of it as the final revival of the Roman Empire. WNP