Why the U.S. Will Remain the World's Superpower for a Long Time
I think the future is looking bright for the United States. There are good reasons to predict that America will remain the world's preeminent country well into the 22nd century. While nothing is guaranteed and dramatic events can change the balance of power across the globe, there is one key area the U.S. is simply unmatched: soft power. "Hard power" refers to things like GDP, natural resources, population growth and military strength. "Soft power," however, deals with intangibles like the influence of our "brand" in terms of how much we are respected and viewed positively by the rest of the world. One key indicator of this is how many people want to immigrate here. A stunning figure is that in 2011, the foreign-born population of the U.S. totaled 40M people - the largest number of immigrants of any country in the world. This is about 15% of our total population. If immigration could be viewed as "investing" in a specific country, then the U.S. is certainly the most highly-valued nation around.
However, the true essence of America's soft power is its ability to assimilate these immigrants into its "melting pot" better than anywhere else. The process is imperfect, but I personally have seem many remarkable examples of relatively recent arrivals to the U.S. become deeply patriotic citizens.
For example, after a wealthy and sophisticated CFO from the UK decided to naturalize, he told me that the citizenship ceremony was "powerful, meaningful, and very well done." Also, just recently, an Afghan national who served as an interpreter with our special forces became a U.S. citizen. I met with him in my office soon after the ceremony and he was genuinely grateful, optimistic and excited for his future here. He now felt like he was a full-fledged member of our society - aware of his responsibilities and not just the opportunities.
Our nation has many challenges ahead. But by opening our door to immigrants and encouraging them to become citizens we make everyone better off. This ensures our strength for the future, which is likely to be unparalleled for quite some time.