They're already there, and they've been there for at least 5 years. The U.S. owes China an incredible amount of money that will not be paid back in our lifetime, or possibly ever.
In today's politics there are no unitary actors, which has given rise to the name 'Chindia', merging China and India into an economic union of sorts. The power from this union comes from China's ability to use any and all of the resources they see fit, regardless of their environmental consequences. (I for one don't care about the environmental perspective but my point is that they aren't burdened by the same regulatory controls we are) India fill in the other side of the spectrum by bringing to the table an advanced high-tech sector, capable research and development, and the intellectual capital necessary to ensure economic growth.
You end up with widgets that are very cheaply manufactured, but of a quality that is very difficult for North American markets to compete with.