|It is inevitable and we should be looking at ways to deal with them as they increase in relative strength and we decrease.
Cecil Rhodes, the businessman-imperialist of Africa, the creator of Rhodesia, suffered no flicker of doubt about who were the masters.
"To be born an Englishman," he mused, "Is to win first prize in the lottery of life."
It wasn't idle boasting. In the jingoistic triumphalism of the late 19th century, when waving the Union Jack was a simple pleasure, people sang: "Rule Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves" without any irony. It was a statement of fact.
A quarter of mankind lived under the British flag in the largest empire the world had ever known.
And many of those parts that weren't under Britain's rule - such as the U.S. - had been created by Britain.
British missionaries had opened up the Dark Continent almost unchallenged.
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Eastern promise: Chinese factory workers line up for their morning roll call
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The British Army found it easier to invade troublesome nations - or most of them - than it does nowadays.
Britain was the workshop of the world, dominating science, manufacturing and trade.
To many Victorians, unquestioning of the ideology that underpinned much imperialism, British supremacy was a simple matter of racial supremacy - Europeans, and the English in particular, were fated to be the masters.
The truth is that we are masters of the world no more.
The global power shift from the West to the East is no longer just a matter of debate confined to learned journals and newspaper columns - it is a reality that is beginning to have a huge impact on our daily lives.
What would those Victorian masters of old have made of the fact that Chinese security men were on the streets of London this week, ordering our own police about and fighting running battles with British protesters while bewildered athletes carried the Olympic torch on its relay through the capital?
It was a brazen display of how confident China has become of its new place in the world, just as the British Government's failure to take a firm stand on Chinese abuses of human rights shows how craven we have become.
The dire warnings from the International Monetary Fund this week that the West now faces the largest financial shock since the Great Depression, while the Asian economies are still powering ahead, simply underlines our vulnerability in this new world order.
The desperately weakened American dollar appears to be on the verge of losing its global dominance, in the same way as sterling lost it a lifetime ago.
The credit crunch has brought home to all of us in Britain how over-reliant our country has become on financial services. Meanwhile, the loss of our manufacturing industries to Asia continues unabated.
Last month, an Indian company, Tata, bought up what was once the cream of British manufacturing - Jaguar and Land Rover.
A couple of years ago, Nanjing Automotive, a Chinese company, snapped up MG Rover.
Just as the 19th century was the British century, and the 20th century was the American century, the 21st century is the Asian century.
But the handover of global power from the UK to the U.S. was trivial compared to what is happening now.
The U.S. was Britain's offspring, based on the same values and the same language.
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Denise Lewis Olympic torch men in blue
The boys in blue: Chinese security men escorting the Olympic torch on the streets of London last weekend. Many were shocked by their heavy-handed tactics
It, too, was an Anglo-Saxon country, and passing the baton across the Atlantic ensured the continuation of the Anglo-Saxon world order, based on democracy, free trade and a belief in human rights, upheld through international institutions that both powers supported.
But the world order we have grown used to - and comfortable with - over the last century is coming to an end.
Napoleon III compared China to a sleeping giant and warned: "When China awakes, she will shake the world."
After a long hibernation, China, and her 1.3 billion people - twice the population of the U.S. and EU combined - is awaking almost overnight.
And not just China. The world's second most populous country, India, is industrialising at a historically unprecedented pace.
Their economies are growing on a long-term basis about four times the speed of the UK's and that of the United States. Goldman Sachs, the bank, recently predicted that by 2050, China and India would have overtaken the U.S. to be the world's first and second biggest economies.
We have long heard about the benefits this brings, in terms of plentiful cheap goods from toys to TVs, and huge opportunities for Western companies to sell their wares in these booming markets.
But there are also d