Geographical borders of countries change and a century is a lot of time for many new countries to be created, some even transforming themselves to a superpower. It is believed that, one nation that would dominate the 21st century is Germany.
Let us see how will that work. For a nation to dominate the world, it has to
1. Remain a nation. It is fairly certain that USA and China will remain a one nation. It is possible for all of Anglosphere to form a closer ethno-linguistic union. Han Chinese will dominate China linguistically and ethnically. India, on the other hand would become a prosperous confederacy where regional political dynasties trade power for prosperity with a multi-polar central government. The underdog here is Germany. In the last quarter century after German reunification, the bond has become only stronger. It would become stronger where Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy (South Tyrol/Alto Adige) and some villages in Slovakia could form a closer union with Germany in the next 20–30 years. See German speakers by density.
2. Remain safe militarily. A violent struggle for political and economic power is long over due in USA where the newly empowered (numerically and subsequently, politically) minorities would force the government to look inwards. This has already begun. At the other side of the world, USA and China will wage a watered down cold war which might suck in India as well. While there might not be a direct military conflict, but a series of insurgencies, rebellion and unrest with more open trade wars will ultimately keep all these three countries away from superpower-dom. On the contrary, Germany appears safe for the next few centuries. British Empire and France, who traditionally were biggest threats to Germany, look tired and are just a shade of their former power and glory. Germany’s biggest threat will only be Russia.But the presence of American troops in Germany could counter that. Basically, American military strength would counter potentially malign Russian ambitions in the region, with only Germany to gain.
3. Trade. USA is the biggest trading nation today. But much of its power comes from dollar as the currency of choice for trading crude oil. Excessive political and military leverage around to prop up its trade would harm American trade dominance in the long run. China’s strategy is counter productive as well with too much focus on exports, too little domestic consumption and skewed economic priorities. India, might do pretty well here, picking some industrial capacity from China, dominating Services trade with Anglosphere and improving domestic trade in general. But the true winner is Germany. Its ability to maintain a huge trade surplus organically, without using muscle power like America and not enslaving its own people like China is a huge winner. In a post-Brexit world, EU will more closely resemble the old Hanseatic League but with a global footprint
4. Geopolitics. This is my favorite topic that could not be covered in detail here. Naval domination to maintain trade and project power is still a major advantage for USA and disadvantage for Germany. But the same Naval domination would clash with similar ambitions of China and India. Germany, simply do not need a huge navy if it can establish a good Food Security Framework. Just look at the below map. The countries that we discuss in this article (USA & Anglosphere, Germany, India, China, Russia) are all have one thing in common. They hold keys to some of the most fertile agricultural zones of the world. Oil might be a sought after resource today but no commodity in the world has contributed to rise and fall of empires than the greatest commodity of all, fertile farmland. Germany’s ability to peacefully control Eastern Europe in the next decade or so would enable it to control the “The Geographical Pivot of History”, the World-Island, comprising the interlinked continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the largest, most populous, and richest of all possible land combinations.
In the late 19th century, the German Empire had a decent shot at this but the reigning super power of the day, the British Empire quickly understood this and waged two bloody wars to prevent German domination of the pivot to the world. And lost its empire in the process. Soviet Union and later Russia is the biggest threat to Germany to control the pivot today. But a skillful German leader could play Nato against Russia, expand Germany’s domination of EU & EU’s domination of World Trade and rejuvenate Germany’s pride culturally through Architecture, Arts, Tourism & Philanthropy. This would reinforce Germany as the flag bearer of the best of (German) virtues – Humility, Industry, Order, Temperance and Resolution.