An American intelligence report predicts China will overtake the US as the world's biggest economy within the next two decades, as demand for food and water rises and the global balance of power shifts to Asia.
The 140-page Global Trends 2030 report says Asia will become more powerful than North America and Europe combined, as technology, resources and population growth alter the global balance of power.
The report has been prepared by the National Intelligence Council, the analytical arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
It combines the thoughts of the 16 intelligence agencies in the US along with foreign and private experts.
Although it is not supposed to predict the future, it is supposed to help US politicians plan for the best and worst scenarios.
"I think the US has to do a lot more thinking about the future, and incorporating that in the decision-making process," principal author Dr Matthew Burrows said.
"If you go from crisis to crisis you increase your risk of going off the rails." The report says China will surpass the US as the largest economy in the 2020s and that by 2030 India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today.
But the authors also warn of major uncertainty about an emerging China.
"Our worry would actually be not that you would have a strong China, a strong Asia, [but] more of a weak China, and what that means if it can't make that transition into an advanced economy," he said.
"If that doesn't go well, what does that mean for its behaviour with its neighbours?" Bruce Jones is a senior fellow and the director of the Managing Global Order project at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
He says there is a "significant possibility" that slower growth in China could lead to "considerable internal difficulties and tensions".
"I think we're also seeing a region which is very complicated for China," he said.
"The US has the advantage of having no complicated neighbours.
China does not have that luxury.
Everywhere it turns, it has a neighbour who has an interest in constraining them or has some sort of tension with them." 'Black swan threat' The report says an international economy remains prone to potential "black swans", such as the collapse of the euro and the European Union, a Chinese economic collapse or even a pandemic or a nuclear war.
The report says Asia will overtake North America and Europe combined in global power as its GDP, population, military spending and technological investment surpasses the West's, but that the US will remain what it calls "first among equals".
And it warns that a "cyber arms race" is likely to occur as countries try to defend their infrastructure.
By 2030, the report says, 60 per cent of the world's population will live in cities.
The demand for food will have risen by 35 per cent and demand for water will outstrip current sustainable supplies, making water a likely cause of regional conflicts, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East.
The president of The Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe, believes the report has a clear message for US president Barack Obama.
"The margin of error is much smaller than it was after World War II and during the Cold War," he said, citing as factors "the shift of economic political influence, the certainty of relative economic decline of the United States and Europe".
Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is one of the report's critics.
"That's not something that's inevitable or written in tablets of stone," he said.
"These are decisions we make and that our elected leaders make.
That's one reason why projecting what US strength will look like in 2030 is such a complete waste of time." Mr Jones also points out that the report does not prioritise which issues should be tackled first.
"It's pretty difficult for a policymaker to read this report and figure out what to do," he said.
"I think it's going to be difficult for the policy community to absorb."