Every four years, the National Intelligence Council takes a stab at predicting the furture. Their Global Trends 2025 was just released. As with the earlier NIC efforts the project's primary goal is to provide US policymakers with a view of how world developments could evolve, identifying opportunities and potentially negative developments that might warrant policy action. We also hope this paper stimulates a broader discussion of value to educational and policy institutions at home and abroad.
Just in case you were growing weary of all the happy talk about the economy, here's some of the reports highlights:
- ...the U.S. dollar, while remaining important, will decline to "first among equals" among other national currencies.
- U.S. global power also will likely decline, as Americans' concerns about putting resources into solving domestic problems may cause the United States to pull resources from foreign and global problems.
- China and India, following a "state capitalism" economic model, were likely to join the United States atop a multipolar world and compete for influence, the report said.
- Russia's potential was less certain, depending on its energy wealth and internal investment. But Iran, Turkey and Indonesia were also seen gaining power.
- A world with multiple power centers has been less stable than one with a single or two rival superpowers, and there was a growing potential for conflict, the report said.
- Global warming will be felt, and water, food and energy constraints may fuel conflict over resources. - "Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments and technological innovation and acquisition, but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries," the report said.
- Global wealth was seen shifting from the developed West to the energy-rich Gulf States and Russia, and to Asia, the rising center of manufacturing and some service industries.
- A shift away from an oil-based energy system will be underway or complete by 2025. Better renewable technologies such as solar and wind power offer the best opportunity for a quick and low-cost transition, the report said.
- The risk that militant groups would use biological weapons was greater than the risk of nuclear terrorism, the report said.
- India, China and Brazil will rise, the Korean peninsula will be unified in some form, and new powers are likely to emerge from the Muslim non-Arab world.
While not apocalyptic, the future will be very rocky, and we can no longer afford to have children pretending to be Republican leaders in charge anymore.