In California, the United States Air Force (USAF) again successfully tested a new experimental hypersonic -- a speed that is a multiple of the speed of sound -- plane that is much faster than planes with traditional engines. Apparently, the plane, known as the X-51A and it sports a futuristic scramjet engine. Anyways, while the link to GlobalSecurity will tell you the techincal details of the plane, it does give a glimpse into how the United States sees the world in a generation or so.
For more on why the United States Air Force (USAF) would like that I would look into the stated objectives of why the United States would be looking to purchase such a fast plane or develop "hypersonic technology." But, it does give a glimpse on how the United States sees the world or at least how the United States thinks the world might be a generation from now with many large continental sized economies.
The reason that I bring this up is that I think it should give pause to those in particularly China, who don't particularly care too much about who develops nuclear weapons, and to those in particularly Northeast Asia that some how see the United States as a threat to regional stability. I wrote earlier that the United States by geography is basically a giant island -- much bigger than Australia -- and, unlike her "junior sheriff" in the South Pacific, is situated in the middle of the world -- between East Asia and Europe/Africa. The feeling that this conjures is that the United States senses a potentially much more dangerous world in a couple decades as the globe is covered with many "new" countries that have at one time or another been exploited by the West and now see that it is their "rightful" turn in history to make an impact on the world.
When this time comes, it definitely won't be against the United States. The United States will be able to hide behind her oceans and by that time the United States will have a fully functional missile defense system that shields her, which seems to be making some remakable progress and which is not getting the attention of the domestic press. (I believe that means both those on the right and left in the United States are in agreement here.) The addition of a plane that can successfully bomb anything anywhere in the world within a couple hours flight from, say, California is something the United States is really after would truly make those annoying overseas basing arrangements -- e.g. Japan, South Korea, Central Asia... -- unnecessary. Additionally, the United States is the only country to still maintain three ways to launch nuclear weapons -- by long distance planes, submarines, and intercontinetal ballistic missles. Furthermore, the United States still operates eleven aircraft carriers with one in reserve each of which is larger than any aircraft carrier in the world. So, it stands to reason that the United States will very much have the ability to just withdraw from the rest of the world, if it chooses that the world is just too dangerous. With this in mind, should not those that are benefitting from the current US-led world order choose to do more to ensure that the world is a much safer place?
On another note, with the rise in world trade and new powers with historical grievances, I feel it's not at all unwise to hedge against such a dangerous scenario that seems an awful lot like the period leading up to the Great War -- World War I. And, while it's an oft used analogy, the rise of countries that have not held much sway in a few centuries -- or ever -- and have the ambition to do so makes the world seem that much more dangerous.
I believe a good bellweather is Japan, which recently succumbed to U.S. demands again -- basing problems. Japan does not have a peace treaty or any formal ties with both Russia and North Korea. The country has territorial disputes with all her neighbors -- Russia (Kuril Islands), Communist China/Taiwan (Senkaku Islands), and, finally, Korea (Liancourt Rocks). Perhaps, Okinawa should be included her as well as i'ts still basically being occupied by the United States. I wonder how long it will be before Japan goes nuclear and how long it will take for the United States to switch from a pro-Israel to a pro-Iran -- meaning either war or some type of regime change -- in the Middle East, which seems to be in the best interest of the United States.
While there is hope that the next generation will lift a great number of people out of poverty, there is also the fear that it will spark wars all over the world. With this in mind, I have no idea why China thinks its a good idea that it's a good thing to have
countries with nuclear powers surrounding her -- or probably pointed right at her. I mean North Korea can reach Beijing with her missiles, but, of course, its a very risky suicidal shot -- in the dark -- to try and hit the United States.