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Global Trends 2025:
A Transformed World

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November 2008
NIC 2008-003

We prepared Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World to stimulate strategic
thinking about the future by identifying key trends, the factors that drive them, where
they seem to be headed, and how they might interact. It uses scenarios to illustrate some
of the many ways in which the drivers examined in the study (e.g., globalization,
demography, the rise of new powers, the decay of international institutions, climate
change, and the geopolitics of energy) may interact to generate challenges and
opportunities for future decisionmakers. The study as a whole is more a description of
the factors likely to shape events than a prediction of what will actually happen.

By examining a small number of variables that we judge probably will have a
disproportionate influence on future events and possibilities, the study seeks to help
readers to recognize signposts indicating where events are headed and to identify
opportunities for policy intervention to change or lock in the trajectories of specific
developments. Among the messages we hope to convey are: “If you like where events
seem to be headed, you may want to take timely action to preserve their positive
trajectory. If you do not like where they appear to be going, you will have to develop and
implement policies to change their trajectory.” For example, the report’s examination of
the transition out of dependence on fossil fuels illustrates how different trajectories will
entail different consequences for specific countries. An even more important message is
that leadership matters, no trends are immutable, and that timely and well-informed
intervention can decrease the likelihood and severity of negative developments and
increase the likelihood of positive ones.

Global Trends 2025 is the fourth installment in the National Intelligence Council-
led effort to identify key drivers and developments likely to shape world events a decade
or more in the future. Both the product and the process used to produce it benefited from
lessons learned in previous iterations. Each edition of Global Trends has tapped larger
and more diverse communities of experts. Our first effort, which looked out to 2010,
relied primarily on expertise within the US Intelligence Community. There was some
outreach to other elements of the United States Government and the American academic
community. For Global Trends 2015, we engaged more numerous and more varied
groups of non-US Government experts, most of whom were American citizens.

For the third iteration, Global Trends 2020, we greatly expanded the participation
of non-American specialists by convening six seminars on five continents. We also
increased the number and varied the format of meetings in the United States. These
sessions enhanced our understanding of both specific trends and drivers and the ways
these factors were perceived by experts in different regions of the world.

Each past iteration produced an even more interesting and influential report.
Indeed, the worldwide response to Global Trends 2020 was extraordinary. The report
has been translated into several languages, debated in government offices, discussed in
university courses, and used as a point of departure in community meetings on
international affairs. The report was closely read and constructively criticized by myriad
experts and members of the public.

Seeking to capitalize on the interest generated by previous reports and to capture
even wider circles of expertise, we modified our processes yet again to produce Global
Trends 2025. In addition to increasing still more the participation of non-USG experts
from the United States and abroad to develop the framework for the current study, we
shared several drafts with participants via the Internet and a series of discussion sessions
across the US and in several other countries. This iteration of Global Trends is the most
collaborative yet produced; that collaboration has made it a better product and we are
extremely grateful for the time and intellectual energy that literally hundreds of people
have devoted to this effort.

As was the case with our previous looks at global trends that will shape the future,
the process and spin-off benefits of preparing Global Trends 2025 were as important as
the final product. The ideas generated and insights gained during the preparation of the
accompanying report have enriched the work of countless analysts and been incorporated
into numerous analytic products published by the National Intelligence Council and other
Intelligence Community agencies. Anecdotal evidence indicates they have also
influenced the thinking and work of many participants in the process who do not work for
the United States Government. We are pleased by and proud of these ancillary benefits
and look forward to reaping many more when others have a chance to read and react to
this edition of Global Trends.

Many people contributed to the preparation of Global Trends 2025, but no one
contributed more than did Mathew Burrows. His intellectual gifts and managerial
abilities were critical to the production of this report and everyone involved owes him a
huge debt of gratitude. Mat’s own note of appreciation on the following page lists others
who made especially noteworthy contributions. Many others also made important
contributions. We could not have produced this edition of Global Trends without the
support of everyone who participated and we are deeply grateful for the partnerships and
the friendships that facilitated and resulted from this collaborative effort.

C. Thomas Fingar
Chairman, National Intelligence Council


In preparing this work the National Intelligence Council received immeasurable help
from numerous think tanks, consulting firms, academic institutions, and literally
hundreds of experts inside and outside governments here in the United States and
overseas. We cannot possibly name all the institutions and individuals we consulted but
would like to acknowledge a number for their important contributions.

The Atlantic Council of the United States and the Stimson Center were both important for
opening doors to institutions abroad and viewpoints that we would not easily have
gathered for this project. Dr. William Ralston, Dr. Nick Evans and their team at SRI
Consulting Business Intelligence provided needed S & T expertise and guidance.
Dr. Alexander Van de Putte of PFC Energy International put together a series of meetings
in three regional hubs across the globe to help us begin the process of conceiving and
constructing the scenarios. Others involved in that effort include Professor Jean-Pierre
Lehmann of the Evian Group at IMD in Lausanne and Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall
at the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network in San Francisco. Professor Barry
Hughes of the University of Denver contributed notably in the scenario construction
process and in plotting out the possible trajectories of major powers. Dr. Jacqueline
Newmyer and Dr. Stephen Rosen from the Long Term Strategy Group organized three
workshops that were critical to advancing our thinking on the complexities of the future
security environment and the changing character of conflict. Several individuals and
institutions helped organize roundtables to critique drafts or delve deeply into various
aspects, including Dr. Geoff Dabelko at the Wilson Center; Dr. Greg Treverton of
RAND; Sebastian Mallaby at the Council on Foreign Relations; Carlos Pascual at
Brookings; Dr. Michael Auslin at AEI; Professor Christopher Layne at Texas A&M
University; Professor Sumit Ganguly at Indiana University and Dr. Robin Niblett and
Jonathan Paris at Chatham House in London. Professor John Ikenberry from Princeton’s
Woodrow Wilson School organized several workshops of prominent international
relations scholars, helping us with changing geopolitical trends. Two workshops—one
organized by Professor Lanxin Xiang and hosted by CICIR in Beijing, the other
organized and hosted by Dr. Bates Gill at SIPRI in Stockholm—were particularly
instrumental in gathering international perspectives on strategic challenges facing the

Within the United States government, special thanks goes to Julianne Paunescu from the
State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). In helping us at every
step of the way, she and her team fulfilled their mandate spearheading intelligence
community outreach to nongovernmental experts in an outstanding manner. Marilyn
Maines and her experts at NSA provided essential expertise on S&T and organized
workshops with Toffler Associates to delve more deeply into future trends. The NIC’s
Analysis and Production staff, including Elizabeth Arens’ deft editorial hand, provided
essential support.

India. Pakistan. and Ethnic Shifts 23 Demographic Portraits: Russia. and Iraq: Local Trajectories and Outside Interests 72 Global Scenario III: BRICs’ Bust-Up 76 i . Urbanization. and Climate Change 51 Global Scenario II: October Surprise 57 Chapter 5: Growing Potential for Conflict 60 A Shrinking Arc of Instability by 2025? 61 Growing Risk of a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East 61 New Conflicts Over Resources? 63 Terrorism: Good and Bad News 68 Afghanistan. and Diversifying—at the Same Time 19 The Pensioner Boom: Challenges of Aging Populations 21 Persistent Youth Bulges 21 Changing Places: Migration. China.Contents Page Executive Summary vi Introduction: A Transformed World 1 More Change than Continuity 3 Alternative Futures 3 Chapter 1: The Globalizing Economy 6 Back to the Future 7 Growing Middle Class 8 State Capitalism: A Post-Democratic Marketplace Rising in the East? 8 Bumpy Ride in Correcting Current Global Imbalances 11 Multiple Financial Nodes 12 Diverging Development Models. and Iran 24 Chapter 3: The New Players 28 Rising Heavyweights: China and India 29 Other Key Players 31 Up-and-Coming Powers 35 Global Scenario I: A World Without the West 37 Chapter 4: Scarcity in the Midst of Plenty? 40 The Dawning of a Post-Petroleum Age? 41 The Geopolitics of Energy 45 Water. but for How Long? 13 Chapter 2: The Demographics of Discord 18 Populations Growing. Declining. Food.

Chapter 6: Will the International System Be Up to the Challenges? 80 Multipolarity without Multilateralism 81 How Many International Systems? 82 A World of Networks 84 Global Scenario IV: Politics is Not Always Local 89 Chapter 7: Power-sharing in a Multipolar World 92 Demand for US Leadership Likely to Remain Strong. Capacities Will Shrink 93 New Relationships and Recalibrated Old Partnerships 93 Less Financial Margin of Error 94 More Limited Military Superiority 97 Surprises and Unintended Consequences 98 Leadership Will Be Key 98 ii .

but with Major Risk 65 of Turmoil Energy Security 67 Another Use of Nuclear Weapons? 68 Why al-Qa’ida’s “Terrorist Wave” Might Be Breaking Up 69 The Changing Character of Conflict 72 End of Ideology? 73 Potential Emergence of a Global Pandemic 76 Greater Regionalism—Plus or Minus for Global Governance? 83 Proliferating Identities and Growing Intolerance? 86 Future of Democracy: Backsliding More Likely than Another Wave 87 Anti-Americanism on the Wane? 95 iii .Textboxes: The 2025 Global Landscape vi Comparison Between Mapping the Global Future: Report of the Intelligence 2 Council’s 2020 Project and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World Long-Range Projections: A Cautionary Tale 5 Globalization at Risk with the 2008 Financial Crisis? 10 Science and Technology Leadership: A Test for the Emerging Powers 13 Latin America: Moderate Economic Growth. Continued Urban Violence 15 Women as Agents of Geopolitical Change 16 Higher Education Shaping the Global Landscape in 2025 17 The Impact of HIV/AIDS 23 Muslims in Western Europe 25 Timing is Everything 44 Winners and Losers in a Post-Petroleum World 46 Technology Breakthroughs by 2025 47 Two Climate Change Winners 52 Strategic Implications of an Opening Arctic 53 Sub-Saharan Africa: More Interactions with the World and More Troubled 56 A Non-nuclear Korea? 62 Middle East/North Africa: Economics Drives Change.

and through the northern parts of South Asia. but its appeal could lessen if using chemical. more countries may be attracted to China’s alternative development model. Rather than emulating Western models of political and economic development. The relative power of nonstate actors— Power will be more dispersed with the newer businesses. India. nuclear economic growth continues in the weapons will increase as technology diffuses and Middle East and youth unemployment is nuclear power (and possibly weapons) programs reduced. tribes. The unprecedented shift in relative As some countries become more invested in their wealth and economic power roughly economic well-being. incentives toward from West to East now under way will geopolitical stability could increase. or less likely. The 2025 Global Landscape Relative Certainties Likely Impact A global multipolar system is emerging By 2025 a single “international community” with the rise of China. and technologies are inadequate for replacing water resources. The practical and psychological active the diffusion of technologies will consequences of such attacks will intensify in an put dangerous capabilities within their increasingly globalized world. and others. China and India—will lethal capabilities. Pakistan. these countries will several youth-bulge states are projected remain ripe for continued instability and state to remain on rapid growth trajectories. the Middle East and the Caucasus. However. and Yemen. The United States will remain the single Shrinking economic and military capabilities may most powerful country but will be less force the US into a difficult set of tradeoffs dominant. although other greater Middle East and the spread of outside powers—Russia. will weaken. transfer is strengthening states like Russia that want to challenge the Western order. will decrease. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by Opportunities for mass-casualty terrorist attacks 2025. traditional energy architecture on the scale needed. iv . failure. play greater roles than today. the continue. and even criminal will increase that the traditional Western alliances networks—also will increase. food. 1 Countries with youthful age structures and rapidly growing populations mark a crescent or “arc of instability” stretching from the Andean region of Latin America across Sub-Saharan Africa. Continued economic growth—coupled The pace of technological innovation will be key to with 1. The potential for conflict will increase The need for the US to act as regional balancer in owing to rapid changes in parts of the the Middle East will increase. reach. For those terrorists that are expand. The number of countries with youthful Unless employment conditions change dramatically populations in the “arc of instability”1 in parlous youth-bulge states such as Afghanistan. between domestic versus foreign policy priorities. biological.composed of nation-states will no longer exist. but the populations of Nigeria. religious players bringing new rules of the game while risks organizations.2 billion more people by 2025— outcomes during this period. All current will put pressure on energy.

work forces and avert social crisis. an unintended escalation and broader conflict. with Russia’s GDP coal—is completed during the 2025 potentially approaching that of the UK and France. especially scenarios. biofuels. perhaps underpinned by a fundamental switch to new energy sources. the region deals with a strengthening Iran and global transition away from oil and gas. but this could structure and performance to the change as they become bigger players on the global transformed geopolitical landscape. NATO faces stiff challenges in meeting growing out-of-area responsibilities with declining European military capabilities. Revival of economic growth. and whether the prosperous Iraq. Whether global powers work with Emerging powers show ambivalence toward global multilateral institutions to adapt their institutions like the UN and IMF. How quickly climate change occurs and Climate change is likely to exacerbate resource the locations where its impact is most scarcities. increases the risk of great power confrontations. pronounced. Whether advances toward democracy Political pluralism seems less likely in Russia in the occur in China and Russia. Episodes of low-intensity conflict and terrorism armed Iran trigger an arms race and taking place under a nuclear umbrella could lead to greater militarization. A growing middle class increases the chances of political liberalization and potentially greater nationalism in China. and clean levels of national power. A sustained plunge in prices. Whether Europe and Japan overcome Successful integration of Muslim minorities in economic and social challenges caused Europe could expand the size of the productive or compounded by demography. particularly water scarcities. Lack of efforts by Europe and Japan to mitigate demographic challenges could lead to long-term declines. stage. absence of economic diversification. could trigger a long-term decline for producers as global and regional players. major exporters such oil and gas—supported by improved as Russia and Iran will substantially augment their energy storage. time frame. Asian integration could lead to more powerful regional institutions. a more whether Iraq stabilizes. and resolution of the Israeli- Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved Palestinian dispute could engender some stability as peacefully. Whether regional fears about a nuclear. v . Whether mercantilism stages a Descending into a world of resource nationalism comeback and global markets recede.Key Uncertainties Potential Consequences Whether an energy transition away from With high oil and gas prices. Whether the greater Middle East Turbulence is likely to increase under most becomes more stable. Traditional alliances will weaken.

religious organizations. and directional flow. Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade. the relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses. and the growing influence of nonstate actors. the next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks. and China (the BRICs) indicate they will collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050. Economic Growth Fueling Rise of Emerging Players In terms of size. lower costs combined with government policies have shifted the locus of manufacturing and some service industries to Asia. a globalizing economy. and criminal networks—is increasing. an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East. defense spending. the extent to which other actors—both state and nonstate—will be willing or able to shoulder increased burdens is unclear. However. This shift derives from two sources. First. population. If current trends persist. emerging multipolar systems have been more unstable than bipolar or unipolar ones. Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor. vi . investments. This is a story with no clear outcome. and technological innovation and acquisition. territorial expansion. and technology. food. and military rivalries. China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country. Concurrent with the shift in power among nation-states. as occurred in 1914-1918 when an earlier phase of globalization came to a halt. tribes. By 2025. and worries about climate change will limit and diminish what will still be an historically unprecedented age of prosperity. but so too are the scope and breadth of transnational issues important for continued global prosperity. but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races. speed. Second. as illustrated by a series of vignettes we use to map out divergent futures. Despite the recent financial volatility—which could end up accelerating many ongoing trends—we do not believe that we are headed toward a complete breakdown of the international system. At the same time. and water constraints. the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history. Growth projections for Brazil. Historically. the United States’ relative strength—even in the military realm—will decline and US leverage will become more constrained. are the product of an index combining the weighted factors of GDP. the international system will be a global multipolar one with gaps in national power2 continuing to narrow between developed and developing countries. India. increases in oil and commodity prices have generated windfall profits for the Gulf states and Russia. growing energy. computed by the International Futures computer model. Aging populations in the developed world. Russia. by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading 2 National power scores. The players are changing.Executive Summary The international system—as constructed following the Second World War—will be almost unrecognizable by 2025 owing to the rise of emerging powers. Policymakers and publics will have to cope with a growing demand for multilateral cooperation when the international system will be stressed by the incomplete transition from the old to a still-forming new order.

and Russia are not following the Western liberal model for self- development but instead are using a different model. vii . however. less than 3 percent of the growth will occur in the West. China. more powerful. It also could be the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter. Although many of Latin America’s major countries will have become middle income powers by 2025. or Russia. On the other hand. Taiwan. Europe and Japan will continue to far outdistance the emerging powers of China and India in per capita wealth. However. Iran. and Latin America will account for virtually all population growth over the next 20 years. following this path is potentially much greater owing to their size and approach to “democratization. Russia has the potential to be richer. and none is likely to match their individual global clout. will lag behind—and some. and Singapore—also used state capitalism to develop their economies. The US will be a partial exception to the aging of populations in the developed world because it will experience higher birth rates and more immigration. and political instability. to see the political and economic power of other countries—such as Indonesia. We expect. such as Haiti. local populations are unlikely to experience significant economic gain. and particularly China. Other rising powers—South Korea. India. will have become even poorer and less governable. China and India must decide the extent to which they are willing and capable of playing increasing global roles and how each will relate to the other. the impact of Russia. even though advances are likely to be slow and globalization is subjecting many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures with the potential to undermine liberal institutions. and integrates with global markets. Latin America will continue to lag behind Asia and other fast-growing areas in terms of economic competitiveness. “state capitalism. civil conflict.” We remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for greater democratization. The number of migrants seeking to move from disadvantaged to relatively privileged countries is likely to increase.military power.” State capitalism is a loose term used to describe a system of economic management that gives a prominent role to the state. Russia could experience a significant decline if it fails to take these steps and oil and gas prices remain in the $50-70 per barrel range. particularly those such as Venezuela and Bolivia that have embraced populist policies for a protracted period. For the most part. but they will struggle to maintain robust growth rates because the size of their working-age populations will decrease. and Turkey—increase. Asia. diminishing the prospects for democratic and market-based reforms. others. Africa. No other countries are projected to rise to the level of China. expands and diversifies its economy. population stresses. and more self-assured in 2025 if it invests in human capital. Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the region most vulnerable to economic disruption. India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth and will strive for a multipolar world in which New Delhi is one of the poles. Windfall profits arising from sustained increases in commodity prices might further entrench corrupt or otherwise ill-equipped governments in several regions. Despite increased global demand for commodities for which Sub-Saharan Africa will be a major supplier. Many other countries will fall further behind economically. India. Overall.

4 billion people. Lack of access to stable supplies of water is reaching critical proportions. and unconventionals such as tar sands— will not grow commensurate with demand. For many developing countries. Oil and gas production of many traditional energy producers already is declining. and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025. oil and gas production will be concentrated in unstable areas. As a result of this and other factors. are projected to fall into this category by 2025. For example. particularly for agricultural purposes. The World Bank estimates that demand for food will rise by 50 percent by 2030. Today. 36 countries. such as viable alternatives to fossil fuels or means to overcome food and water constraints. or hydrogen. Regional differences in agricultural production are likely to become more pronounced over time with declines disproportionately concentrated in developing countries. Climate change is expected to exacerbate resource scarcities. non-OPEC liquid hydrocarbon production—crude oil.The number of countries with youthful age structures in the current “arc of instability” is projected to decline by as much as 40 percent. Although the impact of climate change will vary by region. with a combined population of about 600 million. including energy. viii . rising affluence. The pace of technological innovation will be key. and water.” In the energy sector. scattered through southern and central Asia. and demand is projected to outstrip easily available supplies over the next decade or so. New Transnational Agenda Resource issues will gain prominence on the international agenda. a recent study found that it takes an average of 25 years for a new production technology to become widely adopted. as a result of growing world population. coal and other alternatives. Three of every four youth-bulge countries that remain will be located in Sub-Saharan Africa. experts consider 21 countries. Unprecedented global economic growth—positive in so many other regards—will continue to put pressure on a number of highly strategic resources. decreased agricultural output will be devastating because agriculture accounts for a large share of their economies and many of their citizens live close to subsistence levels. food. Owing to continuing population growth. all current technologies are inadequate for replacing the traditional energy architecture on the scale needed. and Mexico—production has flattened. particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural losses are expected to mount with substantial impacts forecast by most economists by late this century. particularly water scarcity and loss of agricultural production. the world will be in the midst of a fundamental energy transition away from oil toward natural gas. India.2 billion persons to be added over the next 20 years. clean coal. Countries capable of significantly expanding production will dwindle. and the problem will worsen because of rapid urbanization worldwide and the roughly 1. However. a number of regions will begin to suffer harmful effects. Even with a favorable policy and funding environment for biofuels. Major technologies historically have had an “adoption lag. the transition to new fuels will be slow. Elsewhere—in China. with about 1. New technologies could again provide solutions. natural gas liquids. and the shift to Western dietary preferences by a larger middle class. nearly all of the remainder will be located in the core of the Middle East. and in the Pacific Islands. to be either cropland or freshwater scarce.

the diffusion of technologies and scientific knowledge will place some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within their reach. conditions will be ripe for disaffection. The force of ideology is likely to be strongest in the Muslim world—particularly the Arab core. we cannot rule out the possibility of an energy transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an energy infrastructure overhaul. other countries’ worries about a nuclear-armed Iran could lead states in the region to develop new security arrangements with external powers. and possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. Terrorist groups in 2025 will likely be a combination of descendants of long- established groups—that inherit organizational structures. ix . but others—motivated by a variety of factors.g. such as a desire for revenge or to become “martyrs”—will continue to turn to violence to pursue their objectives. proliferation. but its appeal could diminish if economic growth continues and youth unemployment is mitigated in the Middle East. In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as Pakistan. and conflict will remain key concerns even as resource issues move up on the international agenda. Also. and training procedures necessary to conduct sophisticated attacks—and newly emergent collections of the angry and disenfranchised that become self-radicalized.Despite what are seen as long odds now. a nuclear device. Episodes of low-intensity conflict taking place under a nuclear umbrella could lead to an unintended escalation and broader conflict if clear red lines between those states involved are not well established. One of our greatest concerns continues to be that terrorist or other malevolent groups might acquire and employ biological agents. Prospects for Terrorism. enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests—e. recharging plug-in hybrid autos. For those terrorist groups that are active in 2025. Economic opportunities for youth and greater political pluralism probably would dissuade some from joining terrorists’ ranks. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025. Although Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is not inevitable. growing radicalism. and selling energy back to the grid. command and control processes. With many of these technologies. and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend of Islam is likely to gain traction. In the absence of employment opportunities and legal means for political expression. Conflict. energy conversion schemes—such as plans to generate hydrogen for automotive fuel cells from electricity in the homeowner’s garage—could avoid the need to develop complex hydrogen transportation infrastructure.. and Proliferation Terrorism. It is not clear that the type of stable deterrent relationship that existed between the great powers for most of the Cold War would emerge naturally in the Middle East with a nuclear-weapons capable Iran. or less likely. the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower. stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices. acquire additional weapons. to create mass casualties. The greatest possibility for a relatively quick and inexpensive transition during the period comes from better renewable generation sources (photovoltaic and wind) and improvements in battery technology. We believe ideological conflicts akin to the Cold War are unlikely to take root in a world in which most states will be preoccupied with the pragmatic challenges of globalization and shifting global power alignments. and consider pursuing their own nuclear ambitions. Afghanistan. Nigeria.

They also are likely to want to preserve their policy freedom to maneuver. and counterbalancing moves but it also will create opportunities for multinational cooperation in protecting critical sea lanes. even actions short of war will have important geopolitical consequences. to be essential for maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regimes. x . and enhanced strength of nonstate actors and networks. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. A future use of nuclear weapons probably would bring about significant geopolitical changes as some states would seek to establish or reinforce security alliances with existing nuclear powers and others would push for global nuclear disarmament. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers. The spread of nuclear technologies and expertise is generating concerns about the potential emergence of new nuclear weapon states and the acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorist groups. and political-military repercussions. but because of their growing geopolitical and economic clout. economic. this could result in interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources. The diversity in type of actor raises the likelihood of fragmentation occurring over the next two decades. The buildup of regional naval capabilities could lead to increased tensions. climate change. In the worst case. If nuclear weapons are used in the next 15-20 years. the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. proliferation. A More Complex International System The trend toward greater diffusion of authority and power that has been occurring for a couple decades is likely to accelerate because of the emergence of new global players. and energy security. The rising BRIC powers are unlikely to challenge the international system as did Germany and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries. The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. The possibility of a future disruptive regime change or collapse occurring in a nuclear weapon state such as North Korea also continues to raise questions regarding the ability of weak states to control and secure their nuclear arsenals.Types of conflict we have not seen for awhile—such as over resources—could reemerge. However. the worsening institutional deficit. for example. rivalries. allowing others to carry the primary burden for dealing with such issues as terrorism. potential expansion of regional blocs. The multiplicity of actors on the international scene could add strength— in terms of filling gaps left by aging post-World War II institutions—or further fragment the international system and incapacitate international cooperation. Maritime security concerns are providing a rationale for naval buildups and modernization efforts. such as China’s and India’s development of blue-water naval capabilities. With water becoming more scarce in Asia and the Middle East. although remaining very low. cooperation to manage changing water resources is likely to become more difficult within and between states. they will have a high degree of freedom to customize their political and economic policies rather than fully adopting Western norms. particularly given the wide array of transnational challenges facing the international community.

Establishment of such quasi-blocs would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. Regional clusters could compete in setting trans-regional product standards for information technology. and other aspects of the “new economy. accommodate changing memberships. Europe. the US probably will continue to be seen as a much-needed regional balancer in the Middle East and Asia. an absence of regional cooperation in Asia could help spur competition among China. At the same time. Intrinsic to the growing complexity of the overlapping roles of states. and growing use of cyber warfare attacks increasingly will constrict US freedom of action. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—concentrating on specific issues—increasingly will be a part of the landscape. India.Existing multilateral institutions—which are large and cumbersome and were designed for a different geopolitical order—will have difficulty adapting quickly to undertake new missions. On newer security issues like climate change. Religion-based networks may be quintessential issue networks and overall may play a more powerful role on many transnational issues such as the environment and inequalities than secular groupings. institutions. including internal developments in a number of key states—particularly China and Russia—are also likely to be crucial determinants of US policy.” On the other hand. where the US will continue to possess considerable advantages in 2025. Respect for the dissenting views of member nations will continue to shape the agenda of organizations and limit the kinds of solutions that can be attempted. sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs: North America. The US will continue to be expected to play a significant role in using its military power to counter global terrorism. proliferation of long-range precision weapons. The United States: Less Dominant Power By 2025 the US will find itself as one of a number of important actors on the world stage. and augment their resources. biotechnology. Despite the recent rise in anti-Americanism. Even in the military realm. A more constrained US role has implications for others and the likelihood of new agenda issues being tackled effectively. albeit still the most powerful one. but NGO networks are likely to be limited in their ability to effect change in the absence of concerted efforts by multilateral institutions or governments. advances by others in science and technology. the multiplicity of influential actors and distrust of vast power means less room for the US to call the shots without the support of strong partnerships. Greater Asian regionalism—possible by 2025—would have global implications. xi . expanded adoption of irregular warfare tactics by both state and nonstate actors. and nonstate actors is the proliferation of political identities. US leadership will be widely perceived as critical to leveraging competing and divisive views to find solutions. and Japan over resources such as energy. No one political identity is likely to be dominant in most societies by 2025. Efforts at greater inclusiveness—to reflect the emergence of the newer powers—may make it harder for international organizations to tackle transnational challenges. nanotechnology. Developments in the rest of the world. which is leading to establishment of new networks and rediscovered communities. and East Asia. intellectual property rights.

as with many other uncertainties. We put WMD terrorism and a Middle East nuclear arms race in this category. Current trends suggest a dispersion of power and authority will create a global governance deficit. the surprise element is only a matter of timing: an energy transition. for example is inevitable. Pressure from below may force the issue. We put uncertainties such as whether China or Russia becomes a democracy in this category. and surprises. In this work. we emphasize the overall potential for greater conflict—some forms of which could threaten globalization. it would represent another wave of democratization with wide significance for many other developing states. or a leader might begin or enhance the democratization process to sustain the economy or spur economic growth.2025—What Kind of Future? The above trends suggest major discontinuities. Political pluralism seems less likely in Russia in the absence of economic diversification. the role of immigration. As a set. Japan. Also uncertain are the outcomes of demographic challenges facing Europe. public health improvements. In some cases. including the emerging ones. The key uncertainties and possible impacts are discussed in the text and summarized in the textbox on page vii. Examples include nuclear weapons use or a pandemic. they do not cover all possible futures. and possible decline. In this case. The transition from wood to coal helped trigger industrialization. but. Some uncertainties would have greater consequences—should they occur—than would others. the scenarios are potential game-changers. a transition—particularly an abrupt one—out of fossil fuels would have major repercussions for energy producers in the Middle East and Eurasia. They present new situations. we have highlighted new challenges that could emerge as a result of the ongoing global transformation. None of these is inevitable or even necessarily likely. and laws encouraging greater female participation in the economy are some of the measures that could change the trajectory of current trends pointing toward less economic growth. shocks. xii . Technology. and even Russia. or predicaments that represent departures from recent developments. potentially causing permanent decline of some states as global and regional powers. Whether global institutions adapt and revive—another key uncertainty—also is a function of leadership. the new powers supplant the West as the leaders on the world stage. dilemmas. An energy transition from one type of fuel (fossil fuels) to another (alternative) is an event that historically has only happened once a century at most with momentous consequences. Other discontinuities are less predictable. If either country were to democratize. Reversing those trend lines would require strong leadership in the international community by a number of powers. the only questions are when and how abruptly or smoothly such a transition occurs. In the four fictionalized scenarios. which we highlight throughout the text. increased social tensions. • In A World Without the West. In none of these cases does demography have to spell destiny with less regional and global power an inevitable outcome. They are likely to result from an interaction of several trends and depend on the quality of leadership. A sustained plunge in the price of oil and gas would alter the outlook and increase prospects for greater political and economic liberalization in Russia. China’s growing middle class increases the chances but does not make such a development inevitable.

• In BRICs’ Bust-Up. unexpected major impacts narrow the world’s range of options. nonstate networks emerge to set the international agenda on the environment. xiii .• October Surprise illustrates the impact of inattention to global climate change. disputes over vital resources emerge as a source of conflict between major powers—in this case two emerging heavyweights—India and China. eclipsing governments. • In Politics is Not Always Local.

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its unstructured hierarchy of old powers and composition hybrid and heterogeneous as rising nations. mitigate the risks of rapid change nation-states and will lack an overarching currently appear incapable of rising to the approach to global governance. History tells us that rapid change brings many China and India will at times be reticent and dangers. These risks include the growing networks—will continue to increase. owing to the inability of include issues connected with resource governments to provide for basic needs. and even criminal 2004. Several prospect of a nuclear arms race in the Middle countries could even be “taken over” and run East and possible interstate conflicts over by criminal networks. and the diffusion of power befits a transition that will still be a work in from state to nonstate actors. the relative power of various with risks—more than we envisaged when we nonstate actors—including businesses. both will still be many ongoing trends. However. constraints in energy. an earlier phase of globalization came to a halt. The US will international system are fraught with remain the single most important actor but risks…” will be less dominant. and including security. The “system” will be multipolar with many clusters of both state and nonstate actors. The most following the Second World War—will be salient characteristics of the “new order” will almost unrecognizable by 2025. worries about climate change. Multipolar 3 See Mapping the Global Future: Report of the international systems—like the Concert of National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project. progress in 2025. Global institutions that could help the world deal By 2025. The transformation is being fueled by a globalizing economy. and water. the next 20 years of transition Concurrent with the shift in power among toward a new international system are fraught nation-states. we do not believe that more concerned about their own internal we are headed toward a complete development than changing the international breakdown—as occurred in 1914-1918 when system. The breadth of transnational South Asia. states as we know them might issues requiring attention also is increasing to wither away.dni. As was true of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. be the shift from a unipolar world dominated “international system” is a misnomer as it is by the United States to a relatively likely to be more ramshackle than orderly. food. which could end up accelerating on the world stage. published Mapping the Global Future3 in religious organizations. which that is emerging is unprecedented because it is can be found at: www. marked by “…we do not believe that we are headed an historic shift of relative wealth and toward a complete breakdown [of the economic power from West to East. nonstate actors that are not grouped into rival The international system—as constructed camps of roughly equal weight. In areas of Africa or resources. tribes. Europe—have existed in the past. Despite the recent financial at other times impatient to assume larger roles volatility. but the one National Intelligence Council. Indeed. more composed of many actors in addition to generally. and by international system]…However.html. the international community will be with these transnational issues December 2004. global and encompasses a mix of state and 1 . In 2025. the next 20 the increasing weight of new players— years of transition toward a new especially China and India.

supply disruptions. is whether political instability in producer countries. In contrast.” What is uncertain. assesses the likelihood of major discontinuities to be high. positing that most major powers have forsaken the idea of balancing the US. Comparison Between Mapping the Global Future: Report of the Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World The most dramatic difference between Mapping the Global Future: Report of the Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World is the latter’s assumptions of a multipolar future. Russia. The two documents also differ in their treatment of energy supply. and China. but the US is one among many global actors who manage problems. In contrast. 2 . emphasizing that “no single outcome seems preordained” and that the next 20 years of transition toward a new international system are fraught with risks. and therefore dramatic changes in the international system. and religious and socio-economic status. energy supplies “in the ground” are considered “sufficient to meet global demand. but the 2025 report considers energy scarcity as a driving factor in geopolitics. the future structure of the international system. and the dividing lines among groups that will cause conflict or convergence. 2025 sees the world in the midst of a transition to cleaner fuels. In 2020. The 2025 report. New technologies are projected to provide the capability for fossil fuel substitutes and solutions to water and food scarcity. India. it emphasizes the domination of fossil fuels. and new alternative sources. the 2020 report projects continued US dominance. or competition for resources might deleteriously affect international oil markets. The 2025 report describes a world in which the US plays a prominent role in global events. Though 2020 mentions the global increase in energy consumption. In both reports. however. globalization is seen as a driver so pervasive that it will reorder current divisions based on geography. The scenarios in both reports address the future of globalization. absent major shocks. The 2020 report acknowledges that energy demands will influence superpower relations. according to the earlier report. ethnicity. demand. Both reports project probable strong global economic growth—fueled by the rise of Brazil. such as a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and possible interstate conflicts over resources.

In some cases.” Examples include the global turning points where multiple factors are impact of a nuclear arms exchange. we have from the trends we discuss.dni. National Intelligence Council. and the level of global new technologies will be developed and cooperation. in No single outcome seems preordained: the Western model of • The New Players. including resource constraints. which many • Scarcity in the Midst of Plenty. and secularism. for the Challenges? example.html trends 2015. we will describe seem implausible today could become possible alternative futures that could result feasible or even likely by 2025. we focused on such as viable alternatives to fossil fuel or critical uncertainties regarding the relative means to overcome food and water importance of the nation-state as compared constraints. • Demographics of Discord. for example. 3 . The reports can be found at www. A critical uncertainty is whether with nonstate actors. December 2004.challenges without concerted efforts by their Alternative Futures leaders. states commercialized in time to avert a significant are more dominant and drive global slowdown in economic growth owing to dynamics. assumed to be inevitable. and a intersect with one another and the role of “democratic” China. leadership will be crucial to the outcome. In some of the scenarios. the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project.dni. New technologies could provide solutions. and surprises. nonstate actors. may lose its luster—at least in the medium term. Other discontinuities are less predictable. This study is organized into seven sections that examine: More Change than Continuity The rapidly changing international order at a • The Globalizing Economy.4 We see the next looked at a number of single development 15-20 years as one of those great historical “shocks. democracy. December 2000. nongovernmental jeopardize the rise of new powers and deal a organizations (NGOs). A world in which shortages 4 See Global Trends 2015. economic liberalism. is inevitable. Recognizing that what may As with our previous works. the surprise element is only a • Will the International System Be Up to matter of timing: an energy transition. time of growing geopolitical challenges increases the likelihood of discontinuities. shocks. In constructing these scenarios. transition occurs. National from one in which scarcities are overcome Intelligence Council. and Mapping through technology or other means. A Dialogue About the predominate could trigger behaviors different Future with Nongovernment Experts. the only questions are when and how abruptly or smoothly such a • The US in a Power-sharing World. How such factors replacement for fossil fuels. a rapid likely to be in play. Such a slowdown would religious movements.html and www. and super-empowered serious blow to the aspirations of those countries not yet fully in the globalization game. • Growing Potential for Conflict.

present new situations. nonstate actors plays a crucial role in securing Western world—adds to growing instability a new worldwide climate change agreement. clash is triggered by Chinese suspicion of efforts by others to threaten Beijing’s energy A World Without the West. protectionist trade barriers are put local activists—combine to set the in place. The scientific 4 . dilemmas. In this world. expands into a global conflagration. such as relocating ongoing global transformation. new powers supplant the continued growth and development as a great West as the leaders on the world stage. politics is no October Surprise. various nonstate networks— antagonism in the US and Europe reaches a NGOs. communications.” None of these is inevitable or even access to vital resources. conflict the global landscape. depicted in a longer local and domestic and international diary entry of a future US President. religious groups. countries have been preoccupied with achieving economic growth at the expense of safeguarding the environment. In all the fictionalized scenarios. many agendas become increasingly interchangeable. In this world. but. Russia and China enter a marriage international agenda on the environment and of convenience. leading to very different breaks out between China and India over “worlds. It shows the extent to which conflict US feels overburdened and withdraws from in a multipolar world is just as likely to occur Central Asia. The scenarios parts of coastal cities.individuals play more important roles. and transnational interest groups. growing middle classes. newer powers. New York City is hit players operate independently and sometimes by a major hurricane linked to global climate conflict with one another. we highlight world leaders must begin to think about challenges that could emerge as a result of the taking drastic measures. The lack of any General. key players interact in warnings. Other scenarios change has accelerated and possible impacts envision more interaction as autonomous will be very destructive. China. and crescendo. The SCO gains ascendance outlined in an article by a fictional Financial while NATO’s status declines. the NY Stock Exchange is severely damaged and. In community has not been able to issue specific some of the scenarios. including Afghanistan. they are potential game. and others are forced to deal with the potential for spillover and instability Politics is Not Always Local. or predicaments that would cause upheavals in BRICs’ Bust-Up. The global political coalition of stable bloc—whether in the West or the non. business leaders. in Central Asia. In this world. Europe between rising states as between older and will not step up to the plate and take the lead. The changers. potentially threatening In this new connected world of digital globalization. through partnerships and point has been reached in which climate cross-border affiliations. in the face of such destruction. The scenario highlights the head of the Shanghai Cooperation importance of energy and other resources to Organization (SCO). other countries—India and use their clout to elect the UN Secretary Iran—rally around them. Outside powers necessarily likely. In this world. Anti-China Times reporter. as with many other intervene before the conflict escalates and uncertainties. supplies. The power. and disorder. Russia. but worries increase that a tipping competing groups. Misperceptions and miscalculations described in a fictional letter from a future lead to the clash. change.

laid the groundwork for WW II. and an even more bloody world war encompassing multiple genocides. We—as others—have oftentimes underestimated its impact. Roosevelt. and rise of new powers than technology alone. collapse of empires. while tensions between European “great powers” were on the rise. basing their predictions largely on linear projections without exploring possibilities that could cause discontinuities. appear to suggest: • Leaders and their ideas matter. The actions of dominating leaders are the hardest element to anticipate. disrupting traditional social and geographic boundaries. combined with the lingering resentments over the Versailles peace settlement. At several junctures in the 20th century. ushered in by the Great Depression. few envisioned the lethal situation about to unfold. leadership is key even in societies where institutions are strong and the maneuvering room for wielding personal power is more constrained. 5 . Although the bipolar and nuclear age did not lack war and conflict. The collapse of multinational and ethnic empires—begun after WW I and continuing with the end of the colonial empires in the post- WW II period—also unleashed a long series of national and ethnic conflicts that reverberates today. Western experts thought liberal and market ideas had triumphed. Lessons from the last century. it did provide a stable framework until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler or Mao Zedong. experts forecasting the next 20 years—roughly the time frame of this study— often missed major geopolitical events. and Truman. Before WW I. The development of a globalized economy in which China and India play major roles has opened a new era without clear outcomes. • Economic volatility introduces a major risk factor. No history of the past hundred years can be told without delving into the roles and thinking of such leaders as Vladimir Lenin. geopolitical rivalries and their consequences have been more significant causes of the multiple wars. from the extent of mutual slaughter to the downfall of age-old empires. The postwar period saw the establishment of a new international system—many of whose institutions—the UN and Bretton Woods—remain with us. Many stress the role of technology in bringing about radical change and there is no question it has been a major driver. However. Josef Stalin. Stalin’s gulags. Historians and social scientists have discovered a strong correlation between rapid economic change—both positive and negative—and political instability. however. Today’s globalization also has spurred the movement of people. As demonstrated by the impacts of Churchill. Long-Range Projections: A Cautionary Tale In the 20th century. In the early 1920s. few had an inkling of major changes in the offing. over the past century. The massive dislocation and economic volatility introduced by the end of the “first” globalization in 1914-1918 and the rise of protectionist barriers in the 1920s and 1930s. • Geopolitical rivalries trigger discontinuities more than does technological change.

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These percent of the world’s wealth. relatively low labor costs combined with certain government policies Back to the Future have shifted the locus of manufacturing and Asia’s economic powerhouses—China and some service industries to Asia. These shifts are the countries will likely surpass the GDP of all driving force behind globalization that—as other economies except the US and Japan by we underlined in our Mapping the Global 2025. India. and losers such as most of Latin America (with France. transforming capita income for decades. several factors. Japan. the number of 7 . India. This shift derives from two technology and services. especially. The years around historic patterns of economic flows and 2025 will be characterized by the “dual underlying stocks. but they will continue to lag in per Future report—is a meta-trend. speed. including China and as Japan also appear increasingly challenged Russia. and directional Growth projections for Brazil. and Russia. Russia. These two is likely to endure. claiming $2 trillion in inbound investment from the recipient foreign exchange reserves in 2008. the exception of Brazil and a few others) and Africa are receiving neither a stake in the China. the global shift in relative wealth and and China have them collectively matching economic power now under way—roughly the original G-7’s share of global GDP by from West to East—is without precedent in 2040-2050. for the first time since the 18th century. and directional flow. in descending order: the US. speed. have created sovereign wealth funds by inchoate financial links among these (SWFs)5 with the aim of using their hundreds emerging markets. which suggests that the resulting are set to be the largest contributors to transfer of economic power we are witnessing worldwide economic growth. particularly on and commodity prices have generated issues of monetary policy and openness to windfall profits for the Gulf states and foreign investment. Western countries to reduce oil consumption the global shift in relative wealth and and demand. Second. the eight largest economies in 2025 will be.. The US and Eurozone are receiving much of this emerging market 5 liquidity. creating pressures for identity” of these Asian giants: powerful. Russia. such as modern history. Germany. According to these same modern history. but whether they will benefit Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) constitute capital generated from government surpluses and invested in relative to their current position depends on private markets abroad. First. the UK. Certain industrialized states such developing countries. and the domestic key sources. has emerged as a new initial asset transfer nor any significant financial heavyweight. early China. relatively poor compared to Westerners. China and shifts in demand and supply are deep and India. Since 2005. sustained increases in oil policies of recipient states. the ability of these states to economic power now under way—roughly capitalize on a favorable export climate in from West to East—is without precedent in sectors of comparative strength.” projections. including the ability of In terms of size. “In terms of size. particularly in China and India. flow. structural. Rapidly countries. Although this transfer is not zero-sum. Strong India—are restoring the positions they held global demand for these products has made two centuries ago when China produced for wide economies of scale margins across approximately 30 percent and India 15 Asia. but rebalancing that are painful for both rich and many individual Chinese or Indians feeling poor countries.

” State capitalism years. Some of these funds will class” is projected to swell from 440 million return to the West in the form of investments.5 trillion within five model—“state capitalism. and auto parts. A stunning 135 million from West to East but is concentrating more people escaped dire poverty between 1999 under state control. in the developing world is increasing significantly. the Russia in energy and metals. The Boston Consulting Group. home appliances.of billions of dollars’ worth of assets to Over the next several decades the number of achieve higher returns to help them weather people considered to be in the “global middle economic storms. With some notable exceptions like India. globalization game. according economic competitiveness. but the China in steel. to 1. Marketplace Rising in the East? The monumental achievement of millions Growing Middle Class escaping extreme poverty underpins the rise We are witnessing an unprecedented moment of new powers—especially China and India— in human history: never before have so many on the international scene but does not tell the been lifted out of extreme poverty as is whole story. Most of the new entrants direct investment (FDI) by emerging powers will come from China and India. and shrink by about 23 percent. By 2025-2030. However. These states are not desire to perpetuate current account surpluses. rather than to buffer development but are using a different commodity market volatility. 84 were headquartered in Brazil. according to the World non-OECD world listed in a 2006 report from Bank. SWFs will swell to over $6. India in IT portion of the world considered poor will services. In the wake of the 2008 and 2004 alone—more than the population of global financial crisis. from Brazil in the fundamentals for entering the agribusiness and offshore energy exploration. the states that are beneficiaries of the massive states with SWFs has grown from three to over 40. pharmaceuticals. Russia. throughout the world. Many countries— companies is emerging from the new powers. exceeding is a loose term to describe a system of total fiscal reserves and comprising some 20 percent of all global capitalization. foreign to the World Bank.1 percent. especially the landlocked and resource- helping to further solidify their position in the poor ones in Sub Saharan Africa—lack global marketplace. and Gulf the aggregate sum under their control from around $700 billion to $3 trillion. and shift of wealth—China. Should current trends hold. as many of the economic policies blur distinctions between states that created them recently have done so out of a public and private. and to $12-15 trillion within a decade. or to following the Western liberal model for self- cultivate intergenerational savings. the state’s role in the Japan and almost as many as live in Russia economy may be gaining more appeal today. there is a dark side to the global middle class coin: continued divergence A generation of globally competitive at the extremes. The range of functions states—are non-democratic and their served by SWFs also has expanded. Today wealth is moving not just happening today.6 percent of the thereby promoting greater productivity and world’s population to 16. China and State Capitalism: A Post-Democratic India.2 billion or from 7. and world’s poor—still 63 percent of the telecommunications equipment. Russia. Of the top globe’s population—stand to become 100 new global corporate leaders from the relatively poorer. 8 . • However.

marketplace. Ironically. and wealth flowing into these states. Given the However. emerging countries’ preference for greater 9 . Taiwan. • An Open Export Climate. their particularly China. following this path is desire for a weak currency despite strong potentially greater given their weight on the domestic economic performance requires world stage. the major heavy intervention in currency markets. the impact of Russia. Others—like South Korea. enhancement of the state role in Western leading to heavy official asset economies now under way as a result of the accumulation. typically until now in the current financial crisis may reinforce the form of US Treasury bonds. and These states typically favor: Singapore—also chose state capitalism as they initially developed their economies.economic management that gives a prominent state control and distrust of an unregulated role to the state.

Globalization at Risk with the 2008 Financial Crisis? As with most of the trends discussed in this report. However. Gulf Cooperation between today’s efforts and those of Council (GCC) and Chinese officials have earlier periods. Proactive fiscal and monetary policies probably will ensure the current panic and likely deep national recessions will not turn into an extended depression. many • Renewed Efforts Toward Industrial economists predicted that SOEs would be Policy. will be challenged to renovate the IMF and devise a globally transparent and effective set of rules that apply to differing capitalisms and levels of financial institutional development. increasing the potential for market segmentation. Western governments now own large swaths of their financial sectors and must manage them. Developing countries have been hurt. is that these increasingly used various forms of states now directly own the economic sovereign investment. They were their economies often have an interest in wrong. • Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) and added ladder into high technology and Other State Investment Vehicles. World leaders. Russia. increasing protectionist pressures and financial fragmentation. The crisis is accelerating the global economic rebalancing. SWFs are the luring foreign capital. the biggest change—not anticipated before the crisis—is the increase in state power. however. steep rises in unemployment and inflation could trigger widespread political instability and throw emerging powers off course. In the early 1990s. several. buying foreign assets and providing direct financial assistance to still-struggling countries for political favors or to seed new regional initiatives. and the thriving. they will be in a position to leverage their likely still sizeable reserves. are at considerable risk. Resurgence of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). if China. SOEs are far from extinction. the impacts from the financial crisis will depend heavily on government leadership. The crisis has increased calls for a new “Bretton Woods” to better regulate the global economy. China. however. most widely publicized but only one of many sovereign • Rollback of Privatization and the investment vehicles. and in many cases seek to Gulf states have state plans to diversify their economies and climb the value- 10 . Governments that highly manage a relic of the 20th century. States entering wherewithal to implement their plans and private markets are doing so partly for the need not rely on incentivizing parties or prospect of higher return. such as Pakistan with its large current account deficit. and Mideast oil exporters can avoid internal crises. although reduced economic growth could slow globalization’s pace. Failure to construct a new all-embracing architecture could lead countries to seek security through competitive monetary policies and new investment barriers. In the West. are industrial policy. Russia. potentially politicizing markets. Even those with cash reserves—such as South Korea and Russia—have been severely buffeted. The significant difference amassed huge assets. Having service sectors.

• Greater Trade and Investment Bumpy Ride in Correcting Current Global Protectionism. while this capital market’s depth and complexity others—in understanding that few if any date to the 1980s but grew with rising asset emerging economies were immune from the prices and bull markets from the 1990s until widespread downturn—could come to regard recently. Specific problems to be between the West and the rapidly emerging overcome include: economic powers. particularly China and India. especially national rebalancing and course correction from these oil companies. potentially creating a the US to incur greater sums of debt. are likely to attract imbalances. SOEs. To the extent state-owned firms reach across One of the following developments or a state borders. for increased political control. The ultimately unsustainable cycle of imbalances. expand beyond their own borders. they may become vehicles combination could cause an adjustment: a for geopolitical influence. where the state has struggled to keep draw from the financial crisis. particularly slowdown in US consumption and an those dealing in key strategic resources attendant increase in the US savings rate. of the current financial crisis—could change History suggests that this rebalancing will this trajectory. an increase in demand from emerging Asian markets. Much into realignment. and such as energy. The righting of these imbalances investment for the surfeit of ready capital will be bumpy as the global economy moves that these states are accumulating. such interpret the crisis as a rationale for hoarding as derivatives and credit swaps. SOEs serve a secondary economic policy coordination—in part a function as pressure valves. The difficulties of global like SWFs. together with the willingness of political tensions. They also can act as vehicles of a bumpy ride. The seeds of yet more in the way of a cushion. Greater controls and economic and political readjustments have international regulation—a possible outcome often spread beyond the financial arena. helping to byproduct of the growing political and relieve inflation and currency appreciation financial multipolarity—increase the chances pressures. Some may pace with private financial engineering. the Wall Street events of 2008 mark particularly in the commodities and the opening chapters of a larger story of energy sectors. perception of uneven benefits from 11 . although a gap on the role of require long-term efforts to establish a new the state in the economy is likely to remain international system. The financial engineering—based the stockpiling of reserves as less of a upon a magnitude of leverage unthinkable priority. The increasing role of the state as a player in Whether imbalances stabilize or rebound out emerging markets has contrasted until to 2025 depends in part on the particular recently with nearly opposite trends in the lessons that the emerging powers choose to West. Increasingly aggressive Imbalances foreign acquisitions by corporations based The refusal of emerging markets to allow in the rapidly emerging economies— currency appreciation despite booming many will be state-owned—will raise economies. albeit foreign trade and investment. Indeed. even a decade ago—in turn has injected an unprecedented degree of risk and volatility Major financial disruptions and the needed into global markets. has public backlash in countries against created a mutually supporting.

as regions become assets and the appreciation of the dollar. • A Decline in the Dollar’s International quelling their effects before global contagion Role. these China. globalization in the US may fuel unparalleled global reserve currency by protectionist forces. Financial Institutions. through their state-owned energy firms. future to exploit the unique role of the dollar in international trade and investment to freeze • Slowing Democratization. by authoritarian regimes. This may • An Accelerated Resource Grab. 2025. these multiple financial centers may developing world. Insomuch as the recent global imbalances. and China and emerging markets than the IMF and eventually India in the East. Over time. Russia. the financial World Bank combined. however. Russia. create redundancies that help insulate markets against financial shocks and currency crises. offers an alternative model adversaries. and become a first among equals in a market basket of currencies. often see a boost. and this trend landscape for the first time will be genuinely could even continue with unwinding global and multipolar. Gulf states are interested in land leases Growing use of the euro is already evident. economic underperformance. and the GCC states will downsides are likely to be accompanied by lead to diplomatic realignments and new many positives. and purchases elsewhere to ensure potentially making it harder for the US in the adequate food supplies. Similarly. Islamic finance may also direct aid and foreign assistance. pathway. US China. The new force the US to consider more carefully powers increasingly will have the means how the conduct of its foreign policy to acquire commodities in an effort to affects the dollar. the dollar could lose its status as an incentives to preserve geopolitical stability to 12 . Without a steady ensure continued development. While such a global and directly outbidding the World Bank on multipolar financial order signals a relative development projects. This model may prove Incentives and inclinations to move away attractive to under-performing from the dollar will be tempered. and as they relationships between these states and the develop. China. and India have linked their national foreign policy actions might bring security to increased state control of and exposure to currency shock and higher access to energy resources and markets interest rates for Americans. more invested in their financial epicenters. China already is financial crisis heightens interest in less beginning to couple SWF investment with leveraged finance. such as it recently has for political development in addition to accomplished with financial sanctions against demonstrating a different economic the leadership in North Korea and Iran. Such foreign decline for US power and a likely increase in investment by newly rich states such as market competition and complexity. source of external demand for dollars. in addition to weak uncertainties and instabilities in the democracies frustrated by years of international financial system. assets and disrupt the financial flows of its particularly. Despite recent inflows into dollar takes hold. Multiple Financial Nodes • The Overshadowing of International Anchored by the US and EU in the West. Sovereign wealth Russia and the GCC states in Central Asia funds have injected more capital into and the Middle East.

Science and Technology Leadership: A Test for the Emerging Powers The relationship between achievements in science and technology and economic growth has been long established. nine factors can contribute to a modern NIS: fluidity of capital. makes the key economic decisions and. Such opportunities include distributed electrical power generation. This is especially the case in those instances where companies are building new infrastructure and not burdened by historical patterns of development. in the regional tensions could divide the West with case of China and increasingly Russia. Companies in China. development of clean water sources. shelter these financial flows will increase. private sector development infrastructure. China and India are expected in 10 years to achieve near parity with the US in two different areas: scientific and human capital (India) and government receptivity to business innovation (China). and the next generation of Internet and new information technologies (such as ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things—see the foldout). business sophistication to mature innovation. The United States is expected to remain dominant in three areas: protection for intellectual property rights. have such “financiers How Long? of last resort” been content to limit their The state-centric model in which the state influence to strictly financial realms. Early and significant adoption of these technologies could provide considerable economic advantage. The NIS model is evolving as information technology and the effect of increased globalization (and multinational corporations) influence national economies. • The idea of an NIS was first developed in the 1980s as an aid to understanding how some countries were proving better than others at turning intellectual concepts into commercial products that would boost their economies. the inevitability of the traditional Western recipe—roughly liberal economics and 13 . legal systems to protect intellectual property rights. but for power. flexibility of the labor pool. but the path is not always predictable. More significant is the overall effectiveness of a nation’s National Innovation System (NIS)—the process by which intellectual concepts are moved toward commercialization for the benefit of a national economy. however. raises questions about economic and monetary priorities. government receptivity to business. According to a NIC-contracted global survey of scientific experts. Inter. and cultural propensity to encourage creativity. India. According to the NIC-commissioned study. and other major developing countries have unique opportunities to be the first to develop a host of emerging technologies. the United States currently boasts a stronger innovation system than the developing economies of China and India. China and India will narrow significantly but not close the gap in all remaining factors. available scientific and human capital. Rarely. that such a jointly grow the global economy. complicating Western efforts to lead and History suggests. and encouragement of creativity. information communication technologies. marketing skills. the US and EU having increasingly divergent democracy is restricted. redirection toward regional financial centers could soon spill over into other areas of Diverging Development Models. if ever.

democracy—for development. Over the next over the next two decades is a particularly
15-20 years, more developing countries may critical test for the long-term sustainability of
gravitate toward Beijing’s state-centric model an alternative to the traditional Western
rather than the traditional Western model of model. Although democratization probably
markets and democratic political systems to will be slow and may have its own Chinese
increase the chances of rapid development character, we believe the emerging middle
and perceived political stability. While we class will press for greater political influence
believe a gap will remain, the enhanced role and accountability of those in charge,
of the state in Western economies may also particularly if the central government falters
lessen the contrast between the two models. in its ability to sustain economic growth or is
unresponsive to growing “quality of life”
In the Middle East, secularism, which also has issues such as increasing pollution or the need
been considered an integral part of the for health and education services. The
Western model, increasingly may be seen as government’s own efforts to boost S&T and
out of place as Islamic parties come into establish a “high tech” economy will increase
prominence and possibly begin to run incentives for greater openness to develop
governments. As in today’s Turkey, we could human capital at home and attract expertise
see both increased Islamization and greater and ideas from outside.
emphasis on economic growth and
modernization. Historical patterns evinced by other energy
producers suggest deflecting pressures for
“China, particularly, offers an alternative liberalization will be easier for Russian
model for political development in addition authorities. Traditionally, energy producers
to demonstrating a different economic also have been able to use revenues to buy off
pathway.” political opponents; few have made the
transition to democracy while their energy
The lack of any overarching ideology and the revenues remain strong.
mix-and-match of some of the elements—for
example Brazil and India are vibrant market A sustained plunge in the price of oil and gas
democracies—means the state-centric model would alter the outlook and increase prospects
does not yet constitute anything like an for greater political and economic
alternative system and, in our view, is liberalization in Russia.
unlikely ever to be one. Whether China
liberalizes both politically and economically


Latin America: Moderate Economic Growth, Continued Urban Violence
Many Latin American countries will have achieved marked progress in democratic consolidation
by 2025, and some of these countries will have become middle income powers. Others,
particularly those that have embraced populist policies, will lag behind—and some, such as
Haiti, will have become even poorer and still less governable. Public security problems will
continue to be intractable—and in some cases unmanageable. Brazil will become the leading
regional power, but its efforts to promote South American integration will be realized only in
part. Venezuela and Cuba will have some form of vestigial influence in the region in 2025, but
their economic problems will limit their appeal. Unless the United States is able to deliver
market access on a permanent and meaningful basis, the US could lose its traditionally privileged
position in the region, with a concomitant decline in political influence.

Steady economic growth between now and 2025—perhaps as high as 4 percent—will fuel
modest decreases in poverty levels in some countries and a gradual reduction of the informal
sector. Progress on critical secondary reforms, such as education, regressive tax systems, weak
property rights, and inadequate law enforcement will remain incremental and spotty. The
relative growing importance of the region as a producer of oil, natural gas, biofuels, and other
alternative energy sources will spur growth in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, but state
ownership and political turmoil will impede efficient development of energy resources. The
economic competitiveness of Latin America will continue to lag behind Asia and some other fast
growing areas.

Population growth in the region will be relatively moderate, but the rural poor and indigenous
populations will continue to grow at a faster rate. Latin America will have a graying population
as the growth rate of adults aged 60 and over rises.

Parts of Latin America will continue to be among the world’s most violent areas. Drug
trafficking organizations, sustained in part by increased local drug consumption, transnational
criminal cartels, and local crime rings and gangs, will continue to undermine public security.
These factors, and persistent weaknesses in the rule of law, will mean that a few small countries,
especially in Central America and the Caribbean, will verge on becoming failed states.

Latin America will continue to play a marginal role in the international system, except for its
participation in international trade and some peacekeeping efforts.

US influence in the region will diminish somewhat, in part because of Latin America’s
broadening economic and commercial relations with Asia, Europe, and other blocs. Latins, in
general, will look to the United States for guidance both globally and for relations with the
region. An increasingly numerous Hispanic population will ensure greater US attention to, and
involvement in, the culture, religion, economics, and politics of the region.


Women as Agents of Geopolitical Change
Economic and political empowerment of women could transform the global landscape over the
next 20 years. This trend already is evident in the area of economics: The explosion in global
economic productivity in recent years has been driven as much by fostering human
resources—particularly through improvements in health, education, and employment
opportunities for women and girls—as by technological advances.

• The predominance of women in Southeast Asia’s export manufacturing sector is a likely key
driver of that region’s economic success; women agricultural workers account for half the
world’s food production—even without reliable access to land, credit, equipment, and

• Over the next 20 years the increased entry and retention of women in the workplace may
continue to mitigate the economic impacts of global aging.

Women in much of Asia and Latin America are achieving higher levels of education than
men, a trend that is particularly significant in a human capital-intensive global economy.

• Demographic data indicate a significant correlation between a higher level of female literacy
and more robust GDP growth within a region (e.g., the Americas, Europe, and East Asia).
Conversely, those regions with the lowest female literacy rates (southern and western Asia;
the Arab world; and Sub-Saharan Africa) are the poorest in the world.

• Improved educational opportunities for girls and women also are a contributing factor to
falling birth rates worldwide—and by extension better maternal health. The long-term
implications of this trend likely include fewer orphans, less malnutrition, more children in
school, and other contributions to societal stability.

Although data on women’s political involvement are less conclusive than those regarding
economic participation, political empowerment of women appears to change governmental
priorities. Examples as disparate as Sweden and Rwanda indicate that countries with
relatively large numbers of politically active women place greater importance on societal
issues such as healthcare, the environment, and economic development. If this trend continues
over the next 15-20 years, as is likely, an increasing number of countries could favor social
programs over military ones. Better governance also could be a spinoff benefit, as a high
number of women in parliament or senior government positions correlates with lower corruption.

Nowhere is the role of women potentially more important for geopolitical change than in the
Muslim World. Muslim women do far better assimilating in Europe than their male relatives,
partly because they flourish in the educational system, which facilitates their entry into jobs in
information or service industries. Sharply declining fertility rates among Muslims in Europe
demonstrate this willingness to accept jobs outside the home and a growing refusal to conform to
traditional norms. In the short term, the decline of traditional Muslim family structures may help
explain the openness of many young Muslim men to radical Islamic messages. However, in

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however that training and education of Middle Eastern youth is not driven by the needs of employers. especially for science and technology. education has become a key determinant of countries’ economic performance and potential. through satellite dishes and the Internet. These Islamic countries also receive foreign influences from European mass media. women might help show the way to greater social assimilation and reduce the likelihood of religious extremism. lagging only slightly behind OECD high- income countries. There are some signs of progress. although few European universities are rated as world class. Continued export of US educational models with the building of US campuses in the Middle East and Central Asia could boost the attractiveness and global prestige of US universities. but the quality and accessibility of secondary and higher education will be even more important for determining whether societies successfully graduate up the value-added production ladder. The modernizing countries of the Islamic Mediterranean have close ties to Europe. the US economy would likely benefit because companies tend to base their operations near available human capital. to which these countries have sent many migrants.(Continued…) rearing future generations. Although further opening of US classrooms and laboratories could mean greater competition for US students. Higher Education Shaping the Global Landscape in 2025 As global business grows increasingly borderless and labor markets more seamless. Adequate primary education is essential. UN data and research findings by other institutions suggest. including education but also nutrition and healthcare. Funding as a proportion of GDP has grown to around 5 percent in most European countries. Migrants return to visit or resettle and bring with them new ideas and expectations. begin to reap dividends on recent investments in human capital. 17 . The impact of growing numbers of women in the workplace may also have an impact outside Europe. particularly China. Spending on education in the Arab world is roughly on par with the rest of the world in absolute terms and surpasses the global mean as a percentage of GDP. The US may be uniquely able to adapt its higher education and research system to rising global demand and position itself as a world education hub for the growing number of students that will enter the education market out to 2025. The US lead in highly skilled labor will likely narrow as large developing countries. India faces a challenge because inadequate primary education is widespread in the poorer regions and top-flight educational institutions cater to a relatively privileged few.

18 .

These declines could approach or countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. reaching approximately 1. where the roughly 16 percent of humanity will live in under-30 group represents 60 percent of the the West. and Although the global population increase is Australia by more than 3 million. Canada. (See maps on page 20. From 2009 to 2025. contrast. These demographic reconfigurations will while those in Latin America and the offer social and economic opportunities for Caribbean will increase by about 100 some powers and severely challenge million. The populations of more than 50 countries will • Between now and 2025. India’s population is projected to climb by around 240 million by 2025. China. other Eastern European countries. services. Ukraine. will nearly all be located and 24 percent in 1980.8 billion to around 8 billion people. and Japan are expected to see stresses on vital natural resources. the countries of Sub-Saharan majority and minority populations within and Africa are projected to add about 350 among emerging and established powers.) changing the absolute and relative size of young and old.2 billion between 2009 and 2025— continue to grow—the US by more than from 6.4 population age structures promises to be more billion persons between 1980 and today. In 2025. and ethnic • In aggregate. almost all countries in Eastern than two-thirds) by 2025.3 billion. the already diverse array of national than it was. Populations Growing. 40 million.5 million. rural and urban. and a few the Middle East and South Asia. and a few other industrial states World population is projected to grow by with relatively high immigration rates will about 1. Canada by 4. Asia’s other giant. varied than ever. established arrangements in others. Japan. Diversifying—at the Same Time Australia. and • The populations of the US. million people during the same period. Canada. Two-thirds of these percent. placing additional Europe. its current population of over 1. Russia. the “youngest” countries.) • The largest increase will occur in India. representing about one-fifth of all growth. most of exceed 10 percent of the current the remaining fast-growing countries are in populations in Russia. across the northern edge of the world map. and migration are (See graphic on page 22. Trends in birth. increase by more than a third (some by more Italy. and the gap between the Demographers project that Asia and Africa youngest and oldest profiles will continue to will account for most of the population widen. down from levels that added 2. their populations decline by several and infrastructure. is projected to add more than 100 million to 19 . in Sub-Saharan Africa. down from the 18 percent in 2009 population or more. death. and New Zealand. In Australia.45 billion people. The “oldest” countries—those in growth out to 2025 while less than 3 percent which people under age 30 form less than of the growth will occur in the “West”— one-third of the population—will mark a band Europe. the United States. Declining. Ukraine. substantial—with concomitant effects on resources—the rate of growth will be slower By 2025.

20 .

there will be steep increases are likely to heighten tensions. In Japan. If fertility rose immediately to the 21 . Japan’s GDP growth contracting since the mid-1990s and its is projected to drop to near zero according to overall population since 2005. • The picture for Western Europe is more Persistent Youth Bulges mixed. the Countries with youthful age structures and Netherlands. Today’s some models. increases. the Populations ratio of seniors to people in their working Population aging has brought today’s years would continue to rise steadily through developed countries—with a few exceptions the late 2030s. Given population will occur during the 2010s and growing discontent with current levels of 2020s. Even with productivity possibly higher. the period all Western European countries and will have of most rapid growth in the ratio of seniors a substantially younger age structure than the (age 65 and older) to the working-age native population (see page 20).The Pensioner Boom: Challenges of Aging replacement level in Western Europe. slower employment growth from a shrinking work force probably will reduce • Japan is in a difficult position: its Europe’s already tepid GDP growth by 1 working-age population has been percent. In the rest of the Middle East and the Caucasus. according to experts. this The aging of societies will have economic ratio will have climbed to one to three. such as two working-age Japanese. boosting the fiscal burden of old-age immigrants among native Europeans. Europe. such benefit programs. The UK. on par with Japan 2025. would not to linger beyond 2025 will be located in Sub- reverse the aging trend for decades in Europe Saharan Africa. the number of countries in this “arc of (and well below the replacement level of instability” will have decreased by 35 to 40 2. By the 2030s. The remainder will be and Japan. the children per woman. By 2010.” Today. defense. populations could reach significant proportions—15 percent or more—in nearly In almost every developed country.5 children per woman. and the Nordics will likely rapidly growing populations form a crescent maintain the highest fertility rates in stretching from the Andean region of Latin Europe but will remain below two America across Sub-Saharan Africa. France. fertility probably will stay below through the northern parts of South Asia. Three quarters of the Large and sustained increases in the fertility three dozen “youth bulge countries” projected rate. percent owing to declining fertility and maturing populations. non-European minority in all likelihood will never be so high again. about one senior for every four working-age people in the developed world. and then region.1 children per woman). By 1. and consequences. there will be one senior for every expenditures on other priorities. By 2025. This number has never populations from shrinking in Western before been so high and. nearly 7 out of every 10 people in the developed world are in the The annual level of net immigration would traditional working years (ages 15 to 64)—a have to double or triple to keep working-age high-tide mark. by pensions and health coverage will squeeze out 2025. The cost of trying to maintain projections envision a society in which. even if they began now. By 2025. point. Belgium. it would continue to such as the US—to a demographic “tipping rise through the late 2040s.

and the Maghreb states of projected to remain on rapid-growth North Africa (Morocco. Iraq. Democratic Republic of Congo (DROC). Turkey. Algeria and trajectories. and Yemen—are Lebanon. Indonesia. bulge states—such as Afghanistan. Colombia.located in the Middle East and scattered and adjacent Afghanistan and Pakistan across Asia and among the Pacific Islands. argue that this demographic bonus is most advantageous when the country provides The populations of already parlous youth- an educated work force and a business. Chile. Ethiopia. Costa Rica. Potential beneficiaries include Turkey. and Iran will are projected to grow more than 50 percent diminish rapidly but those in the West larger than today’s. about 55 million people. Saudi Arabia structures with large proportions of young 22 . while • The current youth bulges in the Maghreb the populations of Afghanistan and Yemen states.” Experts volatility and violence. friendly environment for investment. Pakistan. Yemen. and Malaysia. Nigeria. All will retain age Bank/Gaza. Lebanon. Pakistan’s and Nigeria’s Tunisia). Unless employment conditions change • The emergence of new economic tigers by dramatically. Iran. populations are each projected to grow by Vietnam. will persist through 2025. youth in weak states will 2025 could occur where youth bulges continue to go elsewhere—externalizing mature into “worker bulges. Ethiopia and DROC will likely add about 40 million each.

The Impact of HIV/AIDS • Europe will continue to attract migrants
from younger, less developed, and faster
Neither an effective HIV vaccine nor a self- growing African and Asian regions
administered microbicide, even if developed nearby. However, other emerging centers
and tested before 2025, will likely be widely of industrialization—China and southern
disseminated by then. Although prevention India and possibly Turkey and Iran—
efforts and local behavioral changes will could attract some of this labor migration
depress infection rates globally, experts as growth among their working-age
expect HIV/AIDS to remain a global populations slows and wages rise.
pandemic through 2025 with its epicenter of
infection in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike • Labor migration to the United States
today, the vast majority of people living with probably will slow as Mexico’s industrial
HIV will have access to life-extending anti- base grows and its population ages—a
retroviral therapies. response to rapid fertility declines in the
1980s and 1990s—and as competing
• If prevention efforts and effectiveness centers of development arise in Brazil and
remain at current levels, the HIV-positive the southern cone of South America.
population is expected to climb to around
50 million by 2025—up from 33 million Urbanization. If current trends persist, by
today (22 million in Sub-Saharan Africa). 2025 about 57 percent of the world’s
In this scenario, 25 million to 30 million population will live in urban areas, up from
people would need anti-retroviral therapy about 50 percent today. By 2025, the world
to survive during 2025. will add another eight megacities to the
current list of 19—all except one of these
• In another scenario assuming fully scaled- eight will be in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
up prevention by 2015, the HIV-infected Most urban growth, however, will occur in
population would peak and then fall to smaller cities of these regions, which are
near 25 million worldwide by 2025, expanding along highways and coalescing
bringing the number needing anti- near crossroads and coastlines, often without
retroviral therapy to between 15 and 20 formal sector job growth and without
million people. adequate services.

Identity Demography. Where ethno-religious
adults, a demographic feature that is groups have experienced their transition to
associated with the emergence of political lower birth rates at varying paces, lingering
violence and civil conflict. ethnic youth bulges and shifts in group
proportions could trigger significant political
Changing Places: Migration, Urbanization changes. Shifts in ethno-religious
and Ethnic Shifts composition resulting from migration also
Moving Experiences. The net migration of could fuel political change, particularly where
people from rural to urban areas and from immigrants settle in low-fertility
poorer to richer countries likely will continue industrialized countries.
apace in 2025, fueled by a widening gap in
economic and physical security between • Differing rates of growth among Israel’s
adjacent regions. ethnic communities could abet political
shifts in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).


By 2025, Israeli Arabs, who currently East, and South Asia (see box on page 25).
comprise a fifth of the population, will Immigration and integration politics, and
comprise about a quarter of Israel’s confrontations with Muslim conservatives
expected population of nearly 9 million. over education, women’s rights, and the
Over the same period, Israel’s ultra- relationship between the state and religion are
orthodox Jewish community could nearly likely to strengthen right-of-center political
double, becoming larger than 10 percent organizations and splinter the left-of-center
of the population. political coalitions that were instrumental in
building and maintaining Europe’s welfare
• Irrespective of their political status in states.
2025, the populations of the West Bank,
currently about 2.6 million people, and By 2025, international migration’s human
Gaza, now at 1.5 million, will have grown capital and technological transfer effects will
substantially: the West Bank by nearly 40 begin to favor the most stable Asian and Latin
percent; Gaza by almost 60 percent. Their American countries. Although the emigration
combined population in 2025—still of professionals probably will continue to
youthful, growing, and approaching 6 deprive poor and unstable countries across
million (or exceeding that figure, Africa and parts of the Middle East of talent,
according to some projections)—promises the likely return of many wealthy and
to introduce further challenges to educated Asian and Latin Americans from the
institutions hoping to generate adequate US and Europe will help boost the
employment and public services, maintain competitiveness of China, Brazil, India, and
sufficient availability of fresh water and Mexico.
food, and achieve political stability.
Demographic Portraits: Russia, China,
A number of other ethnic shifts between now India, and Iran
and 2025 will have regional implications. For Russia: A Growing Multiethnic State?
example, growing proportions of Native Currently a country with around 141 million
Americans in several Andean and Central people, Russia’s demographically aging and
American democracies are likely to continue declining population is projected to drop
to push governments in those countries below 130 million by 2025. The chances of
toward populism. In Lebanon, ongoing stemming such a steep decline over this
fertility decline in the Shiite population, period are slim: the population of women in
which currently lags ethnic neighbors in their 20s—their prime childbearing years—
income and exceeds them in family size, will will be declining rapidly, numbering around
bring about a more mature age structure in 55 percent of today’s count by 2025.
this community—and could deepen Shiite
integration into the mainstream of Lebanese Russia’s high rate of male middle-age
economic and political life, easing communal mortality is unlikely to change dramatically.
tensions. Muslim minorities that have maintained
higher fertility will comprise larger
Western Europe has become the destination proportions of the Russian population, as will
of choice for more than one million Turkic and Chinese immigrants. According
immigrants annually and home for more than to some more conservative projections, the
35 million foreign born—many from Muslim- Muslim minority share of Russia’s population
majority countries in North Africa, the Middle will rise from 14 percent in 2005 to 19


Muslims in Western Europe
Western Europe’s Muslim population currently totals between 15 and 18 million. The largest
proportions of Muslims—between 6 and 8 percent—are in France (5 million) and the
Netherlands (nearly 1 million), followed by countries with 4 to 6 percent: Germany (3.5 million),
Denmark (300,000), Austria (500,000), and Switzerland (350,000). The UK and Italy also have
relatively large Muslim populations, 1.8 million and 1 million respectively, though constituting
less overall proportions (3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively). If current patterns of
immigration and Muslim residents’ above-average fertility continue, Western Europe could have
25 to 30 million Muslims by 2025.

Countries with growing numbers of Muslims will experience a rapid shift in ethnic composition,
particularly around urban areas, potentially complicating efforts to facilitate assimilation and
integration. Economic opportunities are likely to be greater in urban areas, but, in the absence of
growth in suitable jobs, the increasing concentration could lead to more tense and unstable
situations, such as occurred with the 2005 Paris surburban riots.

Slow overall growth rates, highly regulated labor markets, and workplace policies, if maintained,
will make it difficult to increase job opportunities, despite Europe’s need to stem the decline of
its working-age population. When coupled with job discrimination and educational
disadvantage, these factors are likely to confine many Muslims to low-status, low-wage jobs,
deepening ethnic cleavages. Despite a sizeable stratum of integrated Muslims, a growing
number—driven by a sense of alienation, grievance, and injustice—are increasingly likely to
value separation in areas with Muslim-specific cultural and religious practices.

Although immigrant communities are unlikely to gain sufficient parliamentary representation to
dictate either domestic or foreign policy agendas by 2025, Muslim-related issues will be a
growing focus and shaper of the European political scene. Ongoing societal and political tension
over integration of Muslims is likely to make European policymakers increasingly sensitive to
the potential domestic repercussions of any foreign policies for the Middle East, including
aligning too closely with the US on policies seen as pro-Israeli.

percent in 2030, and 23 percent in 2050. In a population. The advantageous condition of
shrinking population, the growing proportion having a relatively large working population
that are not Orthodox Slavs will likely and small proportions of both old-age and
provoke a nationalist backlash. Because childhood dependents will begin to fade
Russia’s fertility and mortality problems are around 2015, when the size of China’s
likely to persist through 2025, Russia’s working-age population will start to decline.
economy—unlike Europe’s and Japan’s—will Demographic aging—the onset of larger
have to support the large proportion of proportions of retirees and relatively fewer
dependents. workers—is being accelerated by decades of
policies that have limited childbirth and by a
Antique China? By 2025, demographers tradition of early retirement. By opting to
expect China to have almost 1.4 billion slow population growth dramatically in order
people, nearly 100 million above its current to dampen growing demand for energy, water,


15-to-24 year olds will projected to peak and begin a slow decline.8 children per woman masks vast unfriendly to markets and private businesses. much of India’s work force Others speculate that. despite low fertility. Delhi. India’s demographic duality will today. unskilled laborers looking for work could rekindle dormant animosities between India’s central government and ethno-nationalist parties in the South. which at present is 2. better educate. by then. Iran’s north. By 2025. reverse its restrictive policies on childbearing In this time frame. job-hungry youth bulge 26 . Only one aspect of Indian entrepreneurial families have lived for Iran’s future is sure: its society will be more decades in southern cities. China is hastening the aging of its will largely dissipate over the next decade. differences between the low-fertility states of unsettling for investors. where women’s status is low and population of 66 million will grow to around services lag. Although North than extremist politics. a large proportion of yielding more mature population and work China’s population will be retired or entering force growth rates comparable to current rates retirement. India’s current fertility rate of political leadership. Although China may over time in the US and China (near 1 percent per year).and food. By 2025. Second. and the higher rates of populous states in the Two additional demographic near-certainties so-called Hindi-speaking belt across the are apparent: first. and eventually to shift significant male-dominated imbalance that to more technical industries and raise living will create a large pool of unmarried males. creating opportunities to accumulate adults in 2025 will still experience a savings. and Kolkata on the one hand. a new India’s densely populated northern states. Having experienced one of the most rapid fertility declines in history—from more than six children per woman in 1985 to less than two today—Iran’s population is destined for dramatic changes by 2025. Iran’s Unique Trajectory. the arrival of demographically mature than ever before and whole communities of Hindi-speaking strikingly different than its neighbors. The country’s politically restless. Mumbai. account for just one-sixth of those in the working age group compared to one third By then. impoverished. and crowded districts find career and consumption more attractive of rural northern India. marriage-age children. the working-age to achieve birth cohorts more closely population will grow large relative to balancing infant girls and boys. Whether Iran capitalizes on this demographic bonus depends on the country’s Two Indias. Some experts believe this echo bulge have widened the gap between north and signals a resurgence of revolutionary politics. in the more educated growth will come from the most poorly and developed Iran of 2025. population. south. its youth bulge (an echo produced by births population is projected to overtake China’s during the current one) will be ascending— around 2025—just as China’s population is but in this one. standards. Largely owing to growth in 77 million by 2025. young adults will educated. and more focused on South India and the commercial hubs of oil revenues than on broader job creation.

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Demography is not always destiny. even with 6 National Power scores are the product of an index additional reforms to address mounting social combining the weighted factors of GDP.6 Historically. The relative fuel will be central to its long-term prospects. both countries are China will have the world’s second largest likely to remain inwardly focused and per economy and will be a leading military capita wealth will lag substantially behind power. Scores are pressures arising from growing income calculated by the International Futures computer model disparities. poor and are expressed as a state’s relative share business regulation. difficult. other countries with and growing power of more countries potentially high-performing economies—Iran. defense spending. and technology. population. dispute the notion of patterns in the Muslim world. By 2025. a fraying social safety net.” of Europe and Japan. along stage and especially for establishing new with many Europeans. Few countries are poised to have more ascent is not guaranteed and will require impact on the world over the next 15-20 years overcoming high economic and social than China. Rising Heavyweights: China and India Although we believe chances are good that China: Facing Potential Bumps in the China and India will continue to rise. their Road. emerging economic powerhouses are likely to feel still poor in relation to Westerners even • US security and economic interests could though their collective GDP increasingly will face new challenges if China becomes a outdistance those of individual Western peer competitor that is militarily strong as states. For Russia. or even recede. Most emerging play increasingly important roles on the world powers already want a greater say and. remaining in the top tier well as economically dynamic and energy where it has been since its remarkable hungry. any one power having the right to be a hegemon. the greater diversity as China and India. albeit transitions away from dependence on fossil still the most powerful one. portends less cohesiveness and effectiveness Indonesia. are likely to determine their long-term defense spending. the United States will find itself in but diversifying the economy so that Russia the position of being one of a number of can maintain its standing after the world important actors on the world stage. political and economic clout of many Europe and Japan also will be confronting countries will shift by 2025. emerging multipolar Although the rise of no other state can equal systems have been more unstable than bipolar the impact of the rise of such populous states or even unipolar ones. hunger for foreign (percentage) of all global power. for individual states (see graphic on page 28). and technology trajectories. resurgence during the late 1990s and early part of the 21st century may be extremely The pace of China’s economic growth almost certainly will slow. for example—could for the international system. according to an demographic challenges. and Turkey. If current trends persist. The potential for less cohesiveness “Few countries are poised to have more and more instability also is suggested by the impact on the world over the next 15-20 relatively steeper declines in national power years than China. Because of this. It could also be the largest importer of Western economies throughout the period to natural resources and an even greater polluter 2025 and beyond. decisions taken now International Futures model measuring GDP. Individuals in these than it is now. 29 . by 2025 hurdles. population.

managing tensions by achieving significant and high domestic savings and investment growth without jeopardizing the Party’s rates to propel continued economic growth. youthful Chinese leaders could. the people living in absolute poverty. In addressing these challenges. not at aligning these efforts do not appear to include opening India with any country or international the system to free elections and a free press. Although 2025. China’s economic health will be “the country of the future. it will not angrily when their expectations are no have the ability to assure high levels of longer met. So far. Most of China’s grounds for such high expectations as do economic growth will continue to be the Chinese. the Communist Party and international confidence.” If foreigners affected by that of other economies— treat the country less deferentially. but xenophobic forms of Chinese nationalism. reduced reliance on agriculture. but key sectors rely on foreign markets. these partnerships are aimed at of the Party’s dominant role. maximizing India’s autonomy. to find new ways to retain public acceptance However. with New monopoly of political power—against the Delhi as one of the poles and serving as a restrictions necessary to protect that political and cultural bridge between a rising monopoly. Even if the Chinese Government can accustomed to rising living standards react manage to address these issues. India’s growing economic changes. enduring corruption. as they have for the past India’s impressive economic growth over the three decades. but the regime would be tempted to deflect public 30 . Although a protracted slump past 15 years has reduced the number of could pose a serious political threat. and few people have had economic performance. Moreover. nationalistic Chinese could respond angrily. we expect the nation’s rapidly expanding middle class. and accountable governance. however. the country could be moving India faces lingering deficiencies in its toward greater political pluralism and more domestic infrastructure. That said. energy production. As a partly on foreigners’ calculations that it is result. the country could be hit by a “perfect storm” if many of them demand attention at the same • Historically. coalition. Indian leaders will strive for a public tolerance for the Communist Party’s multipolar international system. particularly the United States and the EU. Any of these interference. however. Indeed. skilled labor. stoking the more virulent and problems might be soluble in isolation. Over the next to sustain economic growth—essential to 15-20 years. Chinese leaders must balance the openness necessary India: A Complicated Rise. derived primarily its position are likely to undergo further from its economic growth and its successful transformations. continue population. barring the “perfect storm” described above. and criticism by blaming China’s woes on foreign environmental devastation. domestically driven. political monopoly. now drives New Delhi leaders themselves talk openly about the need toward partnerships with many countries. and technology as • China’s international standing is based well as globalized production networks. Facing so many social and China and the United States. Communist Party democratic record. people who become time. we do not foresee social India probably will continue to enjoy pressures forcing real democracy in China by relatively rapid economic growth.

” policymaking is unlikely to be reversed. and public health sectors. Indian market for US goods will grow substantially as New Delhi reduces If Russia diversifies its economy.000 international financial institutions such as the conscripts. the key to maintain an army that today relies on 750. and more self-assured in to be multi-sided affairs yielding awkward 2025…. particularly if Russia does not Indian diaspora—composed largely of highly invest more in its existing human capital. The shortages. but they will not threaten India’s human capital. probably will avoid We believe Indians will remain strongly ties that could resemble an alliance committed to democracy. Indian leaders.growing gap between rich and poor will military also will be eager to benefit from become a more important political issue. expands and diversifies its unity. example. Russia has the Regional and ethnic insurgencies that have potential to be richer. However. New Delhi will. India’s develop a more pluralistic. key because of the growing reach of the Maoist infrastructure bottlenecks. but the pace and scale of reform will fluctuate. but the polity could relationship. multiple constraints could separatist movement. Other Key Players Russia’s Path: Boom or Bust. and plagued India since independence are likely to more self-assured in 2025 if it invests in persist.[but] multiple constraints could limit coalitions with unclear mandates. however. too. A Indian leaders do not see Washington as a sooner-than-expected conversion to military or economic patron and now believe alternative fuels or a sustained plunge in the international situation has made such a global energy prices before Russia has the benefactor unnecessary. albeit not 31 . By 2017. and integrates with global markets. partly. and goodwill are essential force hard policy choices. We assess New Delhi will remain economy. skilled professionals—will remain a key rebuild its S&T base. an economic toll with severe labor force and the largest source of remittances. for to India’s continued rise as a global power.000 18-year-old males from which to largest export destinations. chance to develop a more diversified however. it could restrictions on trade and investment. Chief among them are a instability in several parts of the country shortfall in energy investment. more political coalitions. more powerful. The labor migrants. The Russia’s ability to achieve its full economic general direction of India’s economic potential. and employ foreign element in deepening US-Indian ties. decaying education Naxalite movement. as a hedge against any growth. with national power being shared across successive “Russia has the potential to be richer. expanded defense ties with Washington. confident that it can contain the Kashmiri On the other hand. India is limit Russia’s ability to achieve its full likely to experience heightened violence and economic potential. pursue the benefits of favorable US economy probably would constrain economic ties. an underdeveloped banking sector. development of hostile ties with China. Future elections are likely powerful. technology. Indian policymakers are convinced that US Russia’s population decline by 2025 will capital. Russia is likely to have only The United States will remain one of India’s 650. become more fragmented and fractious. and crime and corruption. Population decline also could take World Bank and foreign commercial lending.

reflecting Moscow’s political stability and democratization on reemergence as a major player on the world Europe’s periphery by taking in additional stage. structures. toward achieving the vision of current leaders communities will become acute if citizens and elites: a cohesive. and faced with a sudden lowering of expectations influential global actor able to employ resort to more narrow nationalism and independently a full spectrum of political. A more proactive and influential foreign The EU will be in a position to bolster policy seems likely. and a leading Ukraine and Turkey. Less likely. a rising middle Brussels from European voters and move past class. which most states have not begun to Russia could become a significantly more implement or even to contemplate. We believe social benefits programs. political system—the result of resolve a perceived democracy gap dividing institutional consolidation. integrated. expenditures are likely to be cut further to stave off the need for serious restructuring of Europe: Losing Clout in 2025. concentrate on parochial interests. The European Union would need to 32 . authoritarian petro-state or even Europe’s demographic deficits except likely a full dictatorship. Shared giant distracted by internal bickering and perceptions regarding threats from terrorism competing national agendas.” The drop-off in working-age populations will prove a severe test for Europe’s social welfare The range of possible futures for Russia model. Progress on economic liberalization political trends. and Middle East capitals. political. failure to convince skeptical publics of the Controlling key energy nodes and links in the benefits of deeper economic. and Caucasus and Central Asia—vital to its social integration and to grasp the nettle of a ambitions as an energy superpower—will be a shrinking and aging population by enacting driving force in reestablishing a sphere of painful reforms could leave the EU a hobbled influence in its Near Abroad. There are no easy fixes for nationalistic. continued force in opposition to US global dominance. which is an unlikely but cutbacks in health and retirement benefits. and less able to and Islamic radicalism could align Russian translate its economic clout into global and Western security policies more tightly. The tension between the two is likely to continue only in gradual steps until trends—together with Russia’s sensitivity to aging populations or prolonged economic potential discontinuities sparked by political stagnation force more dramatic changes—a instability. a foundation stone of Western remains wide because of starkly divergent Europe’s political cohesion since World forces—liberal economic trends and illiberal War II. and the emergence of new stakeholders the protracted debate about its institutional demanding a greater voice. influence. Defense open and progressive country by 2025. new members in the Balkans. The challenge of Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress integrating immigrant.democratic. or crisis point that may not hit before some time other wild cards—makes it impossible to in the next decade and might be pushed off exclude alternative futures such as a even further. However. European and Western interests and universal ideals. especially Muslim. and military tools in support of happened in the past. as economic. notwithstanding disagreements on other issues and a persisting “values gap. and perhaps Asian. an important partner for Western. nevertheless plausible future. a major foreign policy crisis.

The working-age leverage. Japan’s decreasing reforms. Domestically. We anticipate continued Varying levels of dependence. declining in absolute numbers. perspectives on Russia’s democratic maturity with increased emphasis on high technology and economic intentions. will have difficulty of the West and Islam. Crime could be the overcoming their reluctance to naturalize gravest threat inside Europe as Eurasian foreigners. will be a test of Europe’s outward focus social. and economic systems will likely be between now and 2025. Increasing doubts restructured to address its demographic about Turkey’s chances are likely to slow its decline. In the absence of a collective force. Japan’s political. who the EU succeeds in making reforms that see Russia as a reliable supplier. reinforcing arguments in the new immigration policies like a long-term Muslim world—including among Europe’s visa option for visiting workers. broaden their scope. leading to Russia for energy in 2025. 33 . cultural aversion to substantial immigrant labor—will put a major strain on Japan’s Europe will remain heavily dependent on social services and tax revenues. with a corresponding increase in approach that would reduce Russia’s payments for food imports. Europe create a “European President” and “European could pay a price for its heavy dependence. security policy and European support for Japan will face a major reorientation of its NATO could erode. including Germany and Italy. The aging of the population also transnational organizations—flush from will spur development in Japan’s healthcare involvement in energy and mineral and housing systems to accommodate large concerns—become more powerful and numbers of dependent elderly. value-added production. this dependence will foster constant population. contract commitments because of Divergent threat perceptions within Europe underinvestment in their natural gas fields or and the likelihood that defense spending will if growing corruption and organized criminal remain uncoordinated suggest the EU will not involvement in the Eurasian energy sector be a major military power by 2025. however. and a more implementation of political and human rights volatile political situation.Europe’s strategic perspective is likely to attentiveness to Moscow’s interests by key remain narrower than Washington’s. an aging industrial base. national interests of the bigger powers will continue to complicate EU foreign and Japan: Caught Between the US and China. The shrinking of hampering nascent efforts to develop common Japan’s agricultural sector will continue. The Muslim minorities—about the incompatibility Japanese. Foreign Minister” and develops greater especially if Russian firms are unable to fulfill institutional capacity for crisis management. domestic and foreign policies by 2025 yet maintain its status as an upper middle rank The question of Turkey’s EU membership power. Any outright rejection risks wider population may force authorities to consider repercussions. EU polices on energy diversification and perhaps down to just 2 percent of the labor security. The spill over to infect Western business interests. consumer goods. differing restructuring of Japan’s export industries. One or more governments in Eastern or Central Europe The shrinking work force—and Japan’s could fall prey to their domination. and failure to products. despite efforts to tax increases and calls for more competition promote energy efficiency and renewable in the domestic sector to lower the price of energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. even if countries. and achieve consensus on Brussels’ role are information technologies.

of US forces there. circumstance and would move to shape political and economic forums in the With increasing electoral competition. and in part by continuing to develop putting further pressure on Tokyo to align 34 . • In a third scenario. a China that weaken or be perceived by Tokyo as continues its current economic growth weakening. Their likely response will be to draw closer to the United States. find itself dealing with an ad-hoc non- aligned movement of East Asian states On the foreign front. and push for greater development accommodation of a Chinese military of international multilateral organizations presence in the region and a in East Asia. including South move to assert its influence. Similarly. where four scenarios are possible. respond to a loss of the US security At the same time. the United States. short of clearly increasing concern to Japanese aggressive intent by China toward Japan. Tokyo is highly unlikely to agreement with Beijing well before 2025. and ASEAN members seeking to rally democratic states in East likely would follow such a US lead.includes a large number of unemployed and its own national power through advanced untrained citizens in their late teens and 20s. Tokyo would assume This could lead to a shortage of white collar strong support from Washington in this workers. leading to policy near its borders. Japan’s region to isolate or limit Chinese one-party political system probably will fully influence. • A fourth scenario would see the United increase their missile defense and anti. This would cause states in the disintegrate by 2025. Tokyo would likely others in the region. Japan might paralysis. Taiwan. and Tokyo will ultimately consider security arrangements work to maintain good political relations that give China a de facto role in and increase market access for Japanese maintaining stability in ocean areas near goods. Tokyo almost certainly would follow the • In a second scenario. military hardware. China’s military power umbrella by developing a nuclear and influence in the region will be of weapons program. including an East Asian corresponding realignment or drawdown Summit. leading to US Korea. but it is more likely that Japan will military strength and a China that has the witness a continual splitting and merging of potential to dominate nearly all nations competing political parties. Tokyo may seek a free trade Japan. Asia. policymakers. in part by Korea. In response. Japan may decide to move pattern will be increasingly important to closer to Beijing on regional issues and Japan’s economic growth. In this case. States and China move significantly submarine warfare capabilities. region. The Liberal Democratic region to make a difficult choice between Party may split into a number of contending their continued unease with Japanese parties. seek to toward political and security cooperation develop regional allies such as South in the region. should the United States’ security commitment to Japan • In the first scenario. Japan’s policies will be seeking to avoid being entrapped by either influenced most by the policies of China and Tokyo or Beijing. As a result. China’s economic prevailing trend and move closer to growth falters or its policies become Beijing to be included in regional security openly hostile toward countries in the and political arrangements.

appear to be unlikely by neighborhoods. rapid economic growth path. to buttress Brazil’s status as a modernizing world power. which but aside from its growing role as an energy assume a legal and regulatory framework producer and its role in trade talks. Optimistic scenarios. economic growth by 2025. Without advances in the rule of law. “The oil discoveries in the Santos Basin— potentially holding tens of billions of barrels The country’s maturing commitment to of reserves—could make Brazil after 2020 a democracy is on a secure footing with fair and major oil exporter…” open electoral processes and smooth transitions having become routine. Indonesia. setting a positive precedent even rapid economic growth will be undercut for his successors. its policies with those of the other actors diversified economy and put Brazil on a more in the region. another constellation of powerhouses likely to lessen the disruptions from crises is unlikely to erupt on the world scene over that have plagued the country in the past. either a radical an increasing proportion of the world’s turn toward a free-market and free trade. The oil discoveries in the Santos Basin—potentially Brazil: Solid Foundation for an Enhanced holding tens of billions of barrels of Leadership Role. The growing consensus for landmasses of the new powers like India and responsible fiscal and monetary policy is China. Mechanisms to regional and world leader have largely incorporate a growing share of the population become ingrained in the national into the formal economy also will be needed consciousness and transcend party politics. it will attractive to foreign investment. Others also will oriented economic model or a heavy-handed play a dynamic role in their own statist orientation. petroleum would only complement affairs. up-and- Dramatic departures from the current coming developing states could account for economic consensus in Brazil. internationally. the continent as a major player in world even then. Brazilian views about the by the instability that results from pervasive importance of playing a key role as both a crime and corruption. Lula da Silva. The Progress on social issues. exploited. Brazil has established a solid foundation for steady growth based on Up-and-Coming Powers political stability and an incremental reform Owing to the large populations and expansive process. By 2025 Brazil probably reserves—could make Brazil after 2020 a will be exercising greater regional leadership. Economically. such as reducing current President. project oil demonstrate limited ability to project beyond rising to a 15 percent share of GDP by 2025. However. Its progress in consolidating existing sources of national wealth. 2025. democracy and diversifying its economy will serve as a positive regional model. has a strong crime and poverty. will likely play a decisive socialist orientation and has pursued a role in determining Brazil’s future leadership moderate policy course domestically and status. the next decade or two. Turkey and a post-clerically run Brazil’s recent preliminary finds of new. major oil exporter when these fields are fully as first among equals in South American fora. possibly large offshore oil deposits have the but which fall outside the Arab core—appear potential to add another dynamic to an already well-situated for growing international roles. Iran—states that are predominantly Islamic. A growth-friendly macro-economic policy 35 .

Indonesians have circumstances. With Arab conflicts of the Middle East. authorities seek to develop their ties with energy suppliers—including close neighbors Russia and Iran—and bolster its position as a transit hub. Turkey’s most likely course involves a blending of Islamic and nationalist strains. and toward a greater international role as Turkish generally lowering the cost of doing business. this portion of the population could broaden separatist movements are largely fading away. including strengthening role in the Middle East. educated. are and away from decades of being mired in the increasingly found and arrested. which could serve as a model for other rapidly modernizing countries in the Middle East. 36 . Under those In the past decade. which Iranians view themselves. capital—political and economic reform in addition to a stable investment climate could Indonesia’s performance will depend upon fundamentally redraw both the way the world whether it can replicate its success at political perceives the country and also the way in reform with measures to spur the economy. particularly eastward and terrorists. the vitality of Turkey’s Indonesia could rise economically if its emerging middle class and its geostrategic elected leaders take steps to improve the locale raise the prospect of a growing regional investment climate. at times into a place of relative calm where support for secular Iranian middle-class. In the case of Iran. reforming the financial sector. abundant natural resources and a large population of potential consumers (it is the Turkey’s recent economic track record of world’s fourth most populous country). improving the regulatory weaknesses such as its heavy dependence on framework.climate would allow their natural economic Looking at Iran—a state rich in natural gas endowments to flourish. increased growth. moderate political solutions is strong. the country’s horizons. If empowered. finding little public support. and other resources and high in human radical political reform will be necessary. external energy sources may help to spur it reducing fuel and food subsidies. Economic the legal system. Over the next 15 years. economic resurgence could transformed their once-authoritarian country take place quickly in Iran and embolden a into a democracy. turning the vast archipelago latent cosmopolitan.

Although the emerging powers are likely to be preoccupied with domestic issues and sustaining their economic development. More plausible • Tensions between the principal actors in in our minds than a direct challenge to the the multipolar world are high as states international system is the possibility that the seek energy security and strengthened emerging powers will assume a greater role in spheres of influence. all of which ended in worldwide conflict. 37 . Global Scenario I: A World Preconditions for this scenario include: Without the West • Lagging Western growth prompts the US In this fictionalized account. given their diverse interests and competition over resources. The Shanghai areas affecting their vital interests. increasingly. possible outcome of the rise of new states. they will have the capacity to be global players. the new powers and Europe to begin taking protectionist supplant the West as leaders on the world measures against the faster-growing stage. Indeed. As detailed. Historically the rise of new powers—such as • Different models of state-society Japan and Germany in the late 19th and early relationships help underpin the powerful 20th centuries—presented stiff challenges to (albeit fragile) Sino-Russia coalition. clients in strategic regions—and Central Asia is in both Russia’s and China’s Such a coalition of forces could be a backyards. Cooperation Organization (SCO). we do not see these alternative coalitions as necessarily permanent fixtures of the new landscape. particularly in view of what may be growing especially. This is not inevitable nor the only emerging powers. the newer powers could as easily distance themselves from each other as come together. seeks reliable and dependable burden fatigue for Western countries. offering others an alternative to the West. as outlined in this chapter. competitor to institutions like NATO. the existing international system.

38 .

39 .

40 .

Egypt. physical effects will worsen throughout this natural gas liquids. An a limited solution and could exacerbate both increasing percentage of the world’s the energy and food situations. food and water shortages will assume Rising energy prices increase the cost for increasing importance for a growing number consumers and the environment of industrial- of countries during the next 15-20 years. On the other hand. Norway. India. Technological advances and flattened. combined with constraints on new unprecedented syndrome of problems could production—such as the control exerted now overload decisionmakers. Only six countries—Saudi Arabia. A switch from use world’s population by 2025 will itself put of arable land for food to fuel crops provides pressure on these vital resources. the from the convergence and interaction of many significant growth in demand from emerging stresses simultaneously. whose liquid hydrocarbon production (i. and resources. Oman. and globe’s temperature ultimately rises more 41 . in most cases. both fuel types and sources. economic development. population will be moving from rural areas to rainfall anomalies and constricted seasonal urban and developed ones to seek greater flows of snow and glacial melts are personal security and economic opportunity. than 2 degree centigrade—the threshold at The international system will be challenged which effects are thought to be no longer by growing resource constraints at the same manageable. Iraq (potentially). Others’ countries like China whose industries have production levels—Mexico. scale agriculture and application of Adding well over a billion people to the petrochemical fertilizers. and demography. aggravating water scarcities. The number of countries capable of policy decisions around the world germane to meaningfully expanding production will greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 decline. particularly for Tunisia—are already in decline. China. Continued escalation of energy as tar sands) will not be able to grow demand will hasten the impacts of climate commensurate with demand. Argentina. energy. time that it is coping with the impact of new players. not yet achieved high levels of energy Malaysia. forces alone will rectify the supply-and- demand imbalance. agricultural losses to pests. years are likely to determine whether the Iran. the UK. widely available could threaten continued Indonesia. Peru. forcibly cutting levels of many traditional energy producers— back on fossil fuel use before substitutes are Yemen. the UAE. The Dawning of a Post-Petroleum Age? By 2025 the world will be in the midst of a The already stressed resource sector will be fundamental energy transition—in terms of further complicated and. Qatar—have efficiency. Such a complex and markets. Brunei. Kuwait. The production change. Colombia. crude oil. Syria. making it difficult by state-run companies in the global energy for them to take actions in time to enhance market—limits the likelihood that market good outcomes or avoid bad ones.e.. Unlike earlier periods when storm damage. harming Many—particularly in Asia—will be joining agriculture in many parts of the globe. Access to relatively secure and clean Food and water also are intertwined with energy sources and management of chronic climate change. and unconventionals such period. Non-OPEC exacerbated by climate change. the middle class and will be seeking to Energy and climate dynamics also combine to emulate Western lifestyles. The greatest danger may arise resource scarcities loomed large. which involve amplify a number of other ills such as health greater per capita consumption of all these problems. Climatically.

” the “Seven Sisters” still had a strong influence on global oil markets and production. concentration has been increased control of food. Third-generation production. With the formation and establishment of OPEC in the 1960s and nuclear reactors have lower costs of power 1970s. The prized fuel in the shorter and Beijing is likely to be under increasing term likely will be natural gas. the Western oil companies’ influence and clout declined. and worries about climate oil and gas resources by national oil change are likely to color what will continue companies. Three countries— percent of total world oil production in 2025. America (the US. refining. Increased coal production could The number and geographic distribution of oil extend non-renewable carbon-based energy producers will decrease concurrent with systems for one or even two centuries. North projected to grow by 43 percent during 2003.7 Even though the use of natural gas is likely to Driven by shareholders. ground provides resources for future China. national oil companies have natural gas would put a new premium on strong economic and political incentives to energy sources that are cheap. which contains Considering oil and natural gas together. When the Club of Rome made its to be an historically unprecedented age of famous forecast of looming energy scarcities. and Qatar—hold over 57 percent The major producers increasingly will be of the world’s natural gas reserves.Russia—are projected to account for 39 highly concentrated. and limit investment in order to prolong the close to markets. and water. economic options. an amount proportion—18 percent—of total world greater than that expected from Africa and the production by 2025. being the “dirtiest. By 2025. but the 7 The “Seven Sisters” refers to seven Western oil increase will not be sufficient to fill growing companies that dominated mid-20th century oil demand for electricity. “Aging populations in the developed world. invest. abundant. Saudi Arabia alone will account for expected to produce an appreciable almost half of all Gulf production. two some two-thirds of world reserves. they responded to grow steadily in absolute terms. Canada. Caspian area combined. Three of the largest and production horizon. OPEC countries—Russia and Iran—emerge as production in the Persian Gulf countries is energy kingpins. puts in the atmosphere despite its much Although natural gas deposits are not smaller GDP. according to the US in the amount of carbon emissions it DoE/Energy Information Agency projections. Russia. coal may be price signals to explore. international pressure to use clean consumption of natural gas is expected to technologies to burn it. and India—and Russia possess the generations in oil states that have limited their four largest recoverable coal reserves. China is overtaking grow by about 60 percent. they are The use of nuclear fuel for electrical power generation is expected to expand. and promote the fastest growing energy source despite technologies necessary to increase production. and distribution. and Mexico) is 2025. representing 67 percent of known global reserves. Keeping oil in the fastest-growing energy consumers—the US. A partial consequence of this growing growing resource constraints in energy. prosperity.” Rising prices for oil and By contrast. Iran. China another energy transition: the move to will still be very dependent on coal in 2025 cleaner fuels. Nevertheless. necessarily co-located with oil. located in the Middle East. 42 .

If uranium should prove to be electricity prices and are beginning to be in short supply. and better waste and proliferation Available uranium is likely to be sufficient to management features than previous reactor support the expansion of nuclear energy designs. limit the future deployment of nuclear power. concern over proliferation of nuclear expertise and material. improved safety characteristics.generation. electricity in China. could continue to support the global industrialized countries. is unlikely to 43 . which is the principal uncertainty over licensing and spent fuel feedstock for nuclear power. along with recycling of used nuclear power plants are currently in fuels. because of its infrastructure the demand for nuclear power. India. requirements. Third-generation nuclear reactors without reprocessing well into the second half are economically competitive at present of the century. and The supply of uranium. reactors capable of breeding deployed around the world. growing demand for expansion of nuclear energy. South Africa and other rapidly growing countries will increase However. Although most nuclear fuels.

Timing is Everything All current technologies are inadequate for replacing traditional energy architectures on the scale needed. 44 . or hydrogen. A major reason for this lag is the need for new infrastructure to handle major innovation. energy conversion schemes—such as plans to generate hydrogen for automotive fuel cells from electricity in a homeowner’s garage—could avoid the need to develop complex hydrogen transportation infrastructure. Also. non-ethanol biofuels derived from genetically modified feed stocks may be able to leverage the considerable investment in liquid petroleum transport and distribution infrastructure. is likely to be at least twice as costly as gasoline.” A recent study found that in the energy sector. especially cellulosic biomass. Adoption of natural gas. Technologies to use natural gas have been widely available since at least the 1970s. Similarly. and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025 (see foldout).. yet natural gas still lags crude oil in the global market because the technical and investment requirements for producing and transporting it are greater than they are for oil-based fuels. Other ways of converting nonfood biomass resources to fuels and chemical products should be more promising. would further boost food prices. The present generation of biofuels is too expensive to grow. clean coal. With many of these technologies. illustrates the difficulty of a transition to something new. Even with the favorable policy and funding environment that would be needed for biofuels. the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower. recharging plug-in hybrid autos. The greatest possibility for a relatively quick and inexpensive transition during that period comes from better renewable generation sources (photovoltaic and wind) and improvements in battery technology. but they remain in their infancy and are at least a decade away from commercial production. For energy in particular. Despite what are seen as long odds now. a fuel superior to oil in many respects. Long-lasting hydrogen fuel cells have potential. and retail activities. major technologies historically have had an “adoption lag. it takes an average of 25 years for a new production technology to become widely adopted.g. massive and sustained infrastructure investments made for almost 150 years encompass production. we cannot rule out the possibility of a transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an infrastructure overhaul. Development of clean coal technologies and carbon capture and storage is gaining momentum and—if such technologies were cost-competitive by 2025—would enable coal to generate more electricity in a carbon-constrained regulatory environment. we expect any new form of energy to demand similarly massive investment. and their manufacture consumes essentially the same amount of energy they produce.” An Argonne National Laboratory study found that hydrogen. and selling energy back to the grid. transportation. refining. enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests—e. from well to tank. stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices. such as those based on high-growth algae or agricultural waste products. Because a new form of energy is highly unlikely to use existing infrastructure without modifications. Enormous infrastructure investment might be required to support a “hydrogen economy. Simply meeting baseline energy demand over the next two decades is estimated to require more than $3 trillion of investment in traditional hydrocarbons by companies built up over more than a century and with market capitalizations in the hundreds of billions of dollars. marketing.

Even with higher oil prices. China. low hurdles are just too big. Judicious application of resources to increase their national Russia’s increased revenues to the economy. which would make lifting the overall secular rise in energy costs. and elsewhere. a 45 . and resources to increase their national power. though cushioned by when high oil prices were caused by an its massive financial reserves. States physical). and seek to improve energy technological breakthroughs and rapid end-use efficiencies to offset the higher priced commercialization of a substitute fuel. Such a profile includes most of East Africa and the The Geopolitics of Energy Horn. more stable countries fare Administration and several leading energy better but their prospects for economic growth consultants believe higher price levels are would drop somewhat and political turbulence likely. impossible. legal (permitting). and Laos. increased production in Iraq. service-sector oriented supply and growing demand. failure. well below $100 a barrel are periodically China also would need to mine and transport likely with the expected increased volatility more domestic coal. high current account deficits. over the course of 20 years. build more nuclear and need not come about as a result of power plants. and economic Russia and Iran would have the financial infrastructure. Efficient. produce clear winners and losers. DoE’s Energy Information With higher prices. These causes OECD economies are not immune but are are unlike the case in 1970s and early 1980s harmed the least. Most of the 32 states that import 80 percent or more of A sustained plunge in oil prices would have their energy needs are likely to experience significant implications for countries relying significantly slower economic growth than on robust oil revenues to balance the budget they might have achieved with lower oil or build up domestic investment. power…” social needs. will be at risk of state have major geopolitical implications and. Russia and Iran would have the financial Angola. their power and influence would depend on how they used their profits to invest in human “With high prices. greater energy efficiencies with currently The extent and modalities of steps to increase available technology. Nepal. financial stabilization. Only at the end of GDP per capita. A number of these states have been generation by 2025 to cover anywhere near identified by outside experts as at risk of state the increasing demand would be virtually failure—the Central African Republic. Both high and low energy price levels would such as Pakistan. Central Asia. expansion of nuclear power prices.processing. Plausible scenarios for a downward shift and change in market psychology include slowing With high prices. periods of both could occur. major exporters such as global growth. For Iran. particularly perilous state profile. financial standing as measured by an academic national transfers connected with the energy trade power index. and foreign policy instruments would likely more than double Russia’s Even at prices below $100 a barrel. would be hit by intentional restriction in supply. Pivotal yet problem-beset countries. for example. our 15-20 year period are we likely to see a and heavy international indebtedness form a serious ramp up of nuclear technologies. at least to 2015. and construction characterized by high import dependence. The infrastructure (human and DROC. prices millions more out of poverty more difficult. major exporters such as capital. imports. because of plateauing could occur.

Absent support from Venezuela. which have been making massive investments designed to transform themselves into global tourist and transport hubs. particularly if its economy remains heavily tied to energy exports. and could be reduced to middle power status. Cuba might be forced to begin China-like market reforms. establishing or strengthening ties with Western partners—including with the US—will increase. Across the Arab world. as its leaders will be forced to tighten up on the costs of the royal establishment. The regime could face new tensions with the Wahabi establishment as Riyadh seeks to promote a series of major economic reforms—including women’s full participation in the economy—and a new social contract with its public as it tries to institute a work ethic to accelerate development plans and diversify the economy. Bolivia. Pressure for economic reform will increase. and other petro-populist regimes could unravel completely. Venezuela. the geopolitical implications of a shift away from oil and natural gas will be immense. Iranian leaders might be more willing to trade their nuclear policies for aid and trade. if that has not occurred beforehand because of already growing discontent and decreasing production. potentially putting pressure on the clerical governing elite to loosen its grip. Early oil decline states—those exporters which had peaked or were declining as is currently the case with Indonesia and Mexico—may be better prepared to shift the focus of their economic activities and diversify into non-energy sectors. Winners and Losers in a Post-Petroleum World We believe the most likely occurrence by 2025 is a technological breakthrough that will provide an alternative to oil and natural gas. SWFs are being deployed to develop non-oil sectors of the economy in a race against oil as a diminishing asset. Russia will potentially be the biggest loser. but implementation will lag because of the necessary infrastructure costs and need for longer replacement time. are likely to manage the transition well. However. 46 . • Saudi Arabia will absorb the biggest shock. Outside the Middle East. the drop in oil and gas prices will undermine any populist economic policies. For Iraq. bolstered by their robust sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). • In Iran. whether the breakthrough occurs within the 2025 time frame or later. Incentives to open up to the West in a bid for greater foreign investment. The smaller Gulf states. emphasis on investing in non-oil sectors of its economy will increase.

FOLDOUT 427436 47 .




Lack of access to stable supplies of water is reaching Under any scenario energy dynamics could unprecedented proportions in many areas of produce a number of new alignments or the world (see map on page 55) and is likely groupings with geopolitical significance: to grow worse owing to rapid urbanization and population growth. Iran. rising be able to forge even closer ties with affluence. construction of hydroelectric power stations on major rivers may improve flood control. Ethiopia. access to oil and gas. Pakistan. Use of water for contracts. Malawi. Moscow’s sphere. Pipelines subsidizing populist economic programs and to India transiting restive regions may sustaining funding for intelligence and connect New Delhi to local instabilities. The 51 . The chance of succeeding.4 billion people. security operations and other programs designed to extend its regional power. 36 notions of free markets and liberal democracy countries. Iran will see this as an opportunity to solidify China’s support for The World Bank estimates that demand for Tehran. market. which probably would strain food will rise by 50 percent by 2030. Food. In developing countries. are projected to fall into this reliance on Riyadh by strengthening ties category by 2025. is likely to be forceful in irrigation is far greater than for household keeping Central Asian countries within consumption.drop in oil prices to the $55-60 range or • We believe India will scramble to ensure below would put significant pressure on the access to energy by making overtures to regime to make painful choices between Burma. could be badly dented. Eritrea. Kingdom is the only supplier capable of with a combined population of about 600 responding in a big way to China’s million. particularly since are projected to fall into this category by history suggests the US and other Western 2025. to be either cropland or freshwater petroleum thirst. and Syria. preferences by a larger middle class. agriculture currently consumes over 70 Russia-controlled outlet. Beijing’s ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen. scarce. unexpected changes in energy markets. and Central Asia. are a credible alternative to Western Owing to continuing population growth. home to about 1. Demand for water for • Russia. as the “Experts currently consider 21 countries. Experts currently consider 21 countries with a apparently able to achieve economic growth combined population of about 600 million to absent political freedoms or a fully free be either cropland or freshwater scarce. and shifts to Western dietary Russia. as a Beijing’s ties to Riyadh. 36 countries. • China will continue to seek to buttress its but it might also cause considerable anxiety to market power by cultivating political downstream users of the river who expect relationships designed to safeguard its continued access to water. Among the new entrants will be states adapt more quickly and effectively to Burundi. home to about 1. and Climate Change notion that state-dominated economies.4 • Beijing will want to offset its growing billion people. absent a non. Tehran may also result of growing world population. and. needing Caspian area natural gas agricultural purposes and hydroelectric power in order to satisfy European and other generation also will expand. Colombia. Owing to continuing population growth. The Water.” to other producers. has a good percent of the world’s water.

the opening of an Arctic waterway a tangle of difficult-to-manage consequences. the world will have government revenues derive from the to juggle competing and conflicting energy production of energy and raw materials. and forests erratic. Additionally. states in the southern and eastern regions of Keeping food prices down to placate the the continent. This intense hurricanes and withering heat “fuel farming” tradeoff. as presently 80 percent of the country’s exports and 32 percent of Between now and 2025. yielding addition. increasing the risk of tight in Siberia and also offshore in the Arctic. increases in African probably will continue to be hampered by grain yields probably will be substantial. along infestation enabled by warmer climates. The demographic trend warmer temperatures should make the for increased urbanization—particularly in reserves considerably more accessible. not all soil in Canada can take prices. and being a circumpolar prices in the global market to fluctuate at power ringing a major portion of a warming levels above today’s highs. net energy demand for by expectations of rising fuel costs and more heating/cooling will likely drop. rising demand for protein among growing Access to the resource-rich Hudson Bay middle classes worldwide. patterns—could play a greater role in food However. and supplies in the future. advantages. demand for by damaged infrastructure as the Arctic biofuels—enhanced by government tundra melts and will need new technology to subsidies—will claim larger areas of cropland develop the region’s fossil energy. this time in Sub-Saharan Africa. and greater volumes of irrigation water. with international markets settling bonus. and Australia). speculation—invited seasons will lengthen. even Canada will be spared several serious North as biofuel production and processing American climate-related developments— technologies are made more efficient. By 2025. with the US and EU partners—is likely to work to launch a second Green Revolution. However. coupled with periodic waves—and climate change could open up export controls among Asian producers and millions of square miles to development. but misguided agriculture policies that limit the increases will be confined principally to investment and distort critical price signals. In security and food security concerns. This developing states—underscores the likelihood would be a huge boon to the Russian that failed policies will continue. advantage of the change in growing season. Canada. which could global food sector has been highly responsive help dampen price volatility in worldwide to market forces. could provide economic and commercial In the major grain exporters (the US. will force grain would be improved. which will have deepened trade urban poor and spur savings for industrial and security relations with East and South 52 . Russia has safe bet in many countries—these policies are vast untapped reserves of natural gas and oil likely to persist. Some economists Arctic could be a geopolitical and economic argue that. If political elites are more worried Russia has the potential to gain the most from about urban instability than rural incomes—a increasingly temperate weather. economy. and some forest products are already A consortium of large agricultural experiencing damage due to changes in pest producers—including India and China. Two Climate Change Winners investment has distorted agricultural prices in the past. climate change-induced weather will expand somewhat into the tundra. but farm production grain markets. Russia could be hurt Argentina. agricultural growing at lower grain volumes.

states of concern. more current research suggests the date could be as soon as 2013. the Arctic is unlikely to spawn major armed conflict. wealthy. these states share a common interest in regulating access to the Arctic by hostile powers. Nonetheless. Canada. and Norway—as evidenced by the emergence of competing territorial claims. The National Snow and Ice Data Center suggests a seasonally ice-free Arctic by 2060. Although serious near-term tension could result in small-scale confrontations over contested claims. such as between Russia and Norway. so the Arctic does not pose any lifeblood blockade dangers. Asian states. Resource and shipping benefits are unlikely to materialize by 2025.000 nautical miles and a week’s sailing time off a trip compared with use of the Suez Canal. the UK privileged countries is likely to increase. Russia. Thus the number of migrants seeking In addition to the currently projected to move from disadvantaged into relatively scarcities of freshwater and cropland. The US National Petroleum Council has said that some of the technology to exploit oil from the heart of the Arctic region may not be ready until as late as 2050. and Canada and Denmark. Circumpolar states have other major ports on other bodies of water. Most attempts to upgrade irrigation and rural displaced persons traditionally relocate within transportation networks and to extend credit their home countries. The two most important implications of an opening Arctic are improved access to likely vast energy and mineral resources and potentially shorter maritime shipping routes. these potential riches and advantages are already perceptible to the United States. broad agreement exists focus on mining and petroleum extraction are about the risks of large scale migration and likely to foil most of the consortium’s the need for better preparation. but in the future many and investment. ten-fold increase over today’s entire documented refugee and internally displaced 53 . Transiting the Northern Sea Route above Russia between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific would trim about 5. Additionally. diminishing capabilities to accommodate them. allowing population growth are likely to find their home countries have to outpace gains in agricultural productivity. Although this is considered high civil conflict and the political and economic by many experts. Japan. and by their shared need for assistance from high-tech companies to exploit the Arctic’s resources. Latin America into displaced “climate migrants”—representing a the US. The Treasury-commissioned Stern Report largest inflows will mirror many current estimates that by the middle of the century migratory patterns—from North Africa and 200 million people may be permanently Western Asia into Europe. or dangerous nonstate actors. and Southeast Asia into Australia. Voyaging between Europe and Asia through Canada’s Northwest Passage would trim some 4. Strategic Implications of an Opening Arctic Estimates vary as to when the Arctic is likely to be ice free during the summer. Elsewhere south of the Sahara.000 nautical miles off of a trip using the Panama Canal. and Korea will benefit from increased energy resources provided by any Arctic opening and shorter shipping distances. Denmark. resource-deficient trading states such as China. The greatest strategic consequence over the next couple of decades may be that relatively large. populations.

and other interests. but large-scale users in the developed world—such as the US—also would be shaken and the global economy could be plunged into a recession or worse. 54 . magnitude of extreme climate shifts but territory. Scientists currently have limited environment may cause nations to take capability to predict the likelihood or unilateral actions to secure resources. or the importance of the interests to emerging economies that are still low on the be defended or won. efficiency curve. Willingness to believe—based on historic precedents—that it engage in greater multilateral cooperation will will not occur gradually or smoothly. the economic probably would disadvantage the rapidly context. worries about climate Many scientists worry that recent assessments change effects may be more significant than underestimate the impact of climate change any physical changes linked to climate and misjudge the likely time when effects will change. Perceptions of a rapidly changing be felt. such as the cutbacks in allowable CO2 emissions behavior of other countries. Drastic depend on a number of factors.Over the next 20 years.

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including water stress and scarcity. and many will be seeking economic opportunity or physical safety via out-migration owing to conflict. despite increased global demand for commodities. Central Africa contains the most troubling of these cases. Although Africa is already assuming more of its own peacekeeping responsibilities. Poor economic policies—rooted in patrimonial interests and incomplete economic reform—will likely exacerbate ethnic and religious divides as well as crime and corruption in many countries. the region will be vulnerable to civil conflict and complex forms of interstate conflict—with militaries fragmented along ethnic or other divides. Congo-Brazzaville. increased resource income may not benefit the majority of the population or result in significant economic gains. The divide between elite and non-elite populations is likely to widen. Cuba. the region’s population is expected to reach over one billion. but the most populous states in the region and those with high population growth could backslide. intervention. or widespread unemployment. civil conflict. Over one-half of the population will be under age 24. and global trade. Ruling elites are likely to continue to accrue greater income and wealth. Africa will continue to push for UN reform and for permanent representation on the UN Security Council. The earliest global effects of climate change. and metals to world markets and increasingly will attract the attention of Asian states seeking access to commodities. although many African governments will remain critical of US policies on issues like the Middle East. 56 . However. limited control of border areas. including Congo-Kinshasa. African attitudes toward the US will remain positive. including China and India. population stresses. gas. In contrast to other regions of the world. at times. and insurgents and criminal groups preying on unarmed civilians in neighboring countries. and Chad. and the majority of African states are on a democratic path. Sub-Saharan Africa: More Interactions with the World and More Troubled In 2025. and political instability. notwithstanding the effects of HIV/AIDS. climate change. The weakness of states and troubled relations between states and societies probably will slow major improvements in the region’s prospects over the next 20 years unless there is sustained international engagement and. Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be a major supplier of oil. Southern Africa will continue to be the most stable and promising sub-region politically and economically. Central African Republic. reinforcing conditions that could generate divisive political and religious extremism. Today almost one-half (23 of 48) of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are classed as democracies. By 2025. will begin to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025. while poverty will persist or worsen in rural areas and sprawling urban centers. Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the most vulnerable region on Earth in terms of economic challenges.

will mitigate effects even over the longer term. Although this scenario focuses on an event that occurs in the US. Uncertainties about the halt the effects of climate change. according to many scientists. 57 . new level of vulnerability. but serious consideration also would be given to relocating other institutions to ensure continuity of operations. Global Scenario II: October Preconditions assumed in this scenario Surprise include: In the following fictionalized account. may preoccupy policymakers even while options for solving such problems dwindle. according to this account. Coping with the greater frequency of such events. at least in the short run. particularly those lacking hit a tipping point at which climate change transparency. Most scientists believe we will not • Despite significant technological progress. An extreme weather event—as described in this scenario—could occur. about climate change deepens. Such a world involving potentially major dislocations could threaten both developed and developing countries. know whether we have hit a tipping point no technological “silver bullet” is found to until it is too late. other governments have been caught by surprise with different types of environmental disasters and have suffered a loss of standing. lose legitimacy as they fail has accelerated and whether there is little we to cope with environmental and other can do—including reducing emissions—that disasters. pace and specific vulnerabilities or impacts from climate change are likely to persist over • National solutions to environmental the next 15-20 years even if our knowledge problems are short term and inadequate. thrusting the world into a neglect and degradation. coupled with other physical impacts of climate change such as growing water scarcities and more food crises. Mitigation efforts—further cutbacks in carbon emissions—are unlikely to make any difference. relocating the New York Stock Exchange to a less vulnerable location is considered. In this example. global • Nations adopt a “growth-first” mentality inattention to climate change leads to major leading to widespread environmental unexpected impacts. Scientists are currently uncertain whether we already have • Governments.

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vulnerability to systemic changes in world We now assess the potential for conflict— energy markets also may act as a goad to both interstate and intrastate—over the next further economic reform. nuclear weaponry. Over the next 15-20 years. and interstate conflict. The combination of only one or two will become genuine increasingly open economies and persistently democracies and one or two will end up with authoritarian politics creates the potential for civil disorder and conflict because rulers insurgencies. regional states to intensify these efforts and consider actively pursuing nuclear weapons. sell sophisticated conventional weaponry in Today. and development of new trade nuclear weapons rather than to develop actual corridors. miscalculate the tradeoffs or take gambles By 2025. many states regulatory performance. including energy agreements. but other portions of the region some regimes may succeed. in Mapping the Global Future. Technological impediments and a increased rates of growth are likely to be desire to avoid political isolation and seek sustained if energy prices remain high. to be clear in one way or the other and the region will either be swept up in an arms race Growing Risk of a Nuclear Arms Race in or have found another way to try to establish the Middle East regional security. where economic goals maintaining authoritarian rule. In the medium-to-longterm. civil war. and South and preserve their access to energy supplies and to Central Asia. but not greater integration into the global economy so high that they depress growth in other regions. competition among outside powers anxious to the Balkans. we assessed that those states most competition for influence within the region. Large parts of the For regimes. and parts of Southeast Asia. ensuring a continuing threat. States may prefer to regional investment and related technology retain the technological ability to produce transfers. Although predominate. particularly in the greater Middle East. A Shrinking Arc of Instability by 2025? This will add a new and more dangerous In our previous study. pockets of support will remain. the odds are that remain ripe for conflict. parts of this arc are experiencing exchange for greater political influence and increasing economic activity. susceptible to conflict are in a great arc of including via proxies—Shia in Iran’s case and instability stretching from Sub-Saharan Africa Sunnis for most of its neighbors—and a through North Africa. high levels of outside and intra. moderate to high levels of GDP growth. the Caucasus. deepening financial have had nuclear weapons ambitions but have markets. slow but perceptible economic reform. including greater 15-20 years to be greater than we anticipated diversification in energy-rich states. weapons. particularly as reactions to the decisions Iran makes about its lethal technology is expected to become more nuclear program could cause a number of accessible. such as imperatives of fostering economic growth and East Asia. improved Not Inevitable… Historically. Mapping the Global dimension to what is likely to be increasing Future. managing economic change will region will become less volatile than today involve a delicate balancing act between the and more like other parts of world. into the Middle East. Awareness of increasing 61 . not gone the distance. Although we believe the A number of states in the region are already appeal of al-Qa’ida and other international thinking about developing or acquiring terrorist groups will diminish over the next nuclear technology useful for development of 15-20 years. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are likely that don’t pay off.

instability. consequences are likely to flow from Korean Saudi Arabia. Other strategic Turkey. Security guarantees from existing nuclear however. but it We see a unified Korea as likely by 2025—if could be a tall order to expect such guarantees not as a unitary state. including prospects for new levels expressed interest in building new nuclear of major power cooperation to manage new power facilities. Bahrain. demilitarization. the possession of see Iran’s development of nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons may be perceived as making a latent weapons capability as an existential it “safe” to engage in such activities. provided that fundamental shift of power in the region. working to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continues. A energy in the Middle East. other countries in Middle East with multiple nuclear-weapons the region may decide not to seek a capable states. be more likely to find international and may drive some to consider acquiring acceptance and economic assistance by their own nuclear deterrent. or even threat or as resulting in an unacceptable. key concern of the Arab states in the region however. could motivate Tehran to forego nuclear weaponization. Egypt. fueling concern loosely confederated Korea might complicate about the potential for a nuclear arms race. and Libya are or have unification. or is deterrent relationship that existed for most of seen in the region as having acquired a latent the Cold War would emerge naturally in the nuclear weapons capability. It is more likely. incident between nuclear-armed states. than in some form prompt regional responses that could be of North-South confederation. denuclearization efforts. refugee reinforce perceptions of its intent and ability flows. the final …But Potentially More Dangerous than the disposition of the North’s nuclear Cold War. larger conventional attacks. even an Iranian “We see a unified Korea as likely by 2025— capacity to develop nuclear weapons might if not as a unitary state. Rather than episodes of corresponding capability. However. Future Iranian and enduring challenges. to develop nuclear weapons potentially would prompt additional states in the region to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs. such as demonstrations of its nuclear capabilities that denuclearization. 62 . suppressing or shortening low-intensity however. and trigger shifts in the balance of reunified Korea struggling with the large power in the Middle East appears to be the financial burden of reconstruction will. and certain redlines are not crossed. United Arab Emirates. perhaps in a manner similar to responsible for the surge of interest in nuclear what occurred in Ukraine post-1991. The prospect that nuclear infrastructure and capabilities at the time of weapons will embolden Iran. lead to greater reunification remain uncertain. Each such therefore will seek offsetting capabilities. and financing reconstruction. Iran’s growing ensuring the denuclearization of the nuclear capabilities are already partly Peninsula. A Non-nuclear Korea? be regarded by them as a sufficient offset to an Iranian nuclear weapons capability. A new.” destabilizing. then in some form of to satisfy all of those concerned about a North-South confederation. that a few of Iran’s neighbors will conflicts and terrorism. It is not certain that the type of stable If Iran does develop nuclear weapons. would hold the potential for nuclear powers that regional states find credible may escalation. While diplomacy nuclear Iran.

so will the increasingly being supported by military number of countries potentially willing to capabilities leading to the potential for provide nuclear assistance to other countries heightened tensions and even conflict. enough countries might decide to relationships with energy-producing states. If the number of fields. such as Asia or the Arctic. The rising energy demands of growing especially the United States. Although Russia and China currently are working cooperatively New Conflicts Over Resources? to reduce the leverage of outside powers. competition populations and economies may bring into between the two in Central Asia could question the availability. contested ownership.The continued spread of nuclear capabilities geopolitical implications as states undertake in the greater Middle East. The potential for theft or Energy-deficient states may employ transfers diversion of nuclear weapons. Such fields. where several strategies to hedge against the possibility that states will be facing succession challenges existing energy supplies will not meet rising over the next 20 years. may be located in areas of relationships and geopolitical concerns. even actions short of war will have important 63 . In the worst case this could lead to interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources to be essential to maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regime. creating the potential for conflict. in obtaining its access to energy supplies especially if accompanied by increased in parts of the former Soviet Union. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. and of arms and sensitive technologies and the technology—and the potential for promise of a political and military alliance as unauthorized nuclear use—also would rise. Such a interfere with China’s relations in the situation would heighten tensions between region or China becomes more aggressive states competing for limited resources. or to terrorists. political turbulence in the Middle East and a general loss of confidence in the ability of the • The future development of novel drilling marketplace to satisfy rising demands. also will raise new demands. inducements to establish strategic Finally. However. access to energy. and escalate if in the future Russia seeks to affordability of energy supplies. Energy security considerations are concerns over the capacity of weak states to already driving countries such as China and maintain control over their nuclear India to purchase equity stakes in energy technologies and arsenals. leading to a further blending of energy-state however. and evolving competitions are nuclear-capable states increases. materials. ultra-deep oil fields. seek nuclear weapons capabilities in reaction to an Iranian capability that countries beyond • Central Asia has become an area of the region would begin pursuing their own intense international competition for nuclear weapons programs. techniques may create new opportunities National companies could control the lion’s to find and exploit previously unexplored share of the world’s hydrocarbon resources. reliability.

• In a more negative scenario. based on the importance of oil to the world economy and the threat of instability. Libya. An important cluster of North African countries—Algeria. The region’s future will depend on how leaders manage oil windfalls. regional leaders will choose to invest in the region. Social scientists have found that. as an increasing proportion of the population had a stake in the system. and regional conflicts. demographic changes. • Foreign investment—much of it originating from within the region—will increase integration between Arab economies and drive private-sector development. a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries are positioned where Taiwan and South Korea were before their takeoff in the 1960s and 1970s. and Tunisia—has the potential to realize such a demographic-democratic nexus in the period to 2025. formerly authoritarian states like South Korea and Taiwan felt they could experiment with political liberalization. and social policies that encourage more growth. educational. authoritarian regimes will hold tightly to power and become more repressive. • To maximize growth potential. MENA governments will need to improve their educational systems to produce a more technically skilled work force and encourage citizens accustomed to public sector jobs to accept the demands and volatility of the private sector. leaders will fail to prepare their growing populations to participate productively in the global economy. In a positive scenario in which economic growth becomes increasingly rooted and sustained. Demographically. and regional conflicts will remain unresolved as population growth strains resources. the proportion of the economically active populations (ages 15-64) in countries like Egypt will exceed that of the economically dependent population by a much greater amount than in any other region. Morocco. and implement security agreements that help prevent future instability. Over the next 15 or so years. This differential provides an opportunity to accelerate economic growth if governments put appropriate economic and social policies in place. move forward with political reform that empowers moderate—and probably Islamic—political parties. The most promising industries for job growth are likely to be in services.) In other regions. Prospects are best in the North African and Gulf states. (East Asian economies prospered because of sustained government efforts to improve rapidly the quality of the work force through universal education and by developing export industries. but it is unclear whether these authoritarian regimes will exploit these opportunities to liberalize. Middle East/North Africa: Economics Drives Change. integrating young adults into the work force—coupled with a declining birth rate and shrinking youth bulge—has provided an opening for democratization. implement economic. (Continued on next page…) 64 . but with Major Risk of Turmoil The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will remain a geopolitically significant region in 2025. putting the region on a different developmental path than East Asia. Egypt. work to settle regional conflicts. pressure for political change.

nationalist identity. Yemen. deeply rooted conflicts. and ambivalence toward the United States will make any transition from regional dissenter toward stakeholder perilous and uneven. would broaden the ideological and political discourse within secular and Islamic circles. A political consensus within Iran to develop further its significant economic potential—fueled potentially by a sustained popular backlash against corruption and economic mismanagement and a fall in energy rents—could provide an additional push to shift Iran’s factional politics to the left and an incentive for Iran to adjust its policies with a view toward easing US and international sanctions. and help defuse sectarian and ethnic tensions in the region. greater participation of women in the work force may spur new forms of progressive Islam. Iran’s trajectory is also likely to have lasting regional impacts—for good or ill. Even as some states may liberalize. a greater emphasis on economics and. 65 .(Continued…) A Two-Tier Muslim World? Although the Western paradigm separating religious and secular authority may still be less compelling to Muslim publics. in particular. for example. The channeling of political dissent into Islamic discourse—a variant of the global revival of religious identity in the aftermath of the Cold War—and states’ efforts to manipulate Islamic currents will reinforce the dominance of Islam in Middle Eastern politics and society in 2025. its regional orientation will have difficulty discounting external and internal pressures for reform. modernized versions of Islam could take root by 2025. Pakistan. Spillover from turmoil in these states and potentially others increases the chance that moves elsewhere in the region toward greater prosperity and political stability will be rocky. with considerable political and social turmoil generated in the process. undermine a traditional pretext for maintaining large militaries and curtailing freedoms. An Iranian perception of greater shared interests with the West in Iraq and Afghanistan. if secularization in southern Europe is a guide. Afghanistan. Although Iran’s aims for regional leadership—including its nuclear ambitions—are unlikely to abate. But over time. pressures for greater political pluralism are likely to produce a bigger role for Islamic political parties and a re-thinking of how Islam and politics should interact and influence each other. As a result. and limited economic prospects are likely to keep Palestine. Iran’s fractious regime. Resolution of the Syrian and Palestinian conflicts with Israel. in the short term they might benefit from unease over the changing role of women and alternative family models. and others in the high-risk category. This does not mean that extremist strands will disappear. The success of efforts to manage and resolve regional conflicts and to develop security architectures that help stabilize the region will be a major determinant of the ability of states to grow their economies and pursue political reform. most importantly. lower fertility promotes religious and political stability and. others may fail: youth bulges. and sustained progress on Arab-Israeli peace that weakens Iranian-Syrian ties and accommodates or sidelines Iran’s sub-state allies would provide security incentives and pressures on Iran to adjust its regional role.

Mutual suspicions regarding the statements by al-Qa’ida leaders indicate intentions behind naval build-ups by terrorists are interested in striking Persian potential regional rivals or the Gulf oil facilities. facilities. attempts to cut off China’s seaborne energy supplies by threatening mutual disruption of sea trade. naval buildups and modernization efforts in Pakistan. With water transfers of energy from suppliers in the becoming more scarce in several regions. Other national navies in the Middle East and States using their control of energy Asia will not be able to replace the US Navy’s resources as weapons of political coercion role in protecting strategic sea lines of and influence. Israel- 66 . in 2025 Asian heated interstate recriminations and possibly countries will remain dependent on sea to low-level armed conflicts. and Asia. Energy Security the region. are providing the rationale for a series of which feeds the major rivers of China. rivalries. Maritime security concerns Such regions include the Himalayan region. undermine terrorist attacks will be a key security concern efforts for international cooperation. India. The protection of energy establishment of alliances that exclude pipelines. Middle East. This is raising concerns about cooperation over changing water resources is the future of maritime security in a zone likely to be increasingly difficult within and extending from the Persian Gulf to East and between states. and response to China’s further development conflict within strategic energy-producing of naval power projection. but it could lead to increasingly number of pipeline projects. however. and Bangladesh. Southeast Asia. Concerns about assuring future access to energy supplies also are fostering increased Climate change is unlikely to trigger naval competition. This would enable Moscow to use its counterbalancing. straining regional relations. • A naval arms race in Asia may emerge in Domestic instability. Russia is seeking to position communication in 2025. Ethnic and political race might also be spurred by “anti- violence and criminal activity currently access” capabilities—such as attack threaten a large portion of Nigeria’s oil submarines and long-range antiship production. and shipping from key players would. to protect critical economic energy security include: assets and secure access to energy resources. Public lanes. such as China’s and India’s development of “blue-water” naval Other possible examples of the militarization of capabilities. State failure in a key energy missiles—that become widely viewed as producing country may require military efforts by Beijing to extend its political intervention by outside powers to stabilize influence in the region and to deter energy flows. control over energy flows to promote Russian interests and influence. but the buildup of itself to control energy supply and related regional naval capabilities could lead to transportation networks from Europe to East increased tensions. • Growing concerns over maritime security may create opportunities for multinational Threats posed by terrorism and piracy to cooperation in protecting critical sea energy production and transit. A naval arms and exporting states. Despite the growing interstate war. insurgencies. and mission for military forces.

would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons. prompting calls for global nuclear disarmament and energizing counterproliferation and counterterrorism measures. How the world would respond over the long-term to another use of nuclear weapons would. If nuclear weapons are used destructively in the next 15-20 years. Future asymmetries in conventional military capabilities among potential rivals might tempt weak states to view nuclear weapons as a necessary and justifiable defense in response to the threat of overwhelming conventional attacks. the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. Another Use of Nuclear Weapons? The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. and the future utility of nuclear weapons would drive global reactions regarding counterproliferation and nuclear disarmament. The possibility of a future disruptive regime change or collapse occurring in a nuclear weapon state such as North Korea also continues to raise questions regarding the ability of weak states to control and secure their nuclear arsenals. In addition to these longstanding concerns. although remaining very low. and political-military repercussions. • A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon or an escalating conflict between two nuclear powers. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. In such cases. particularly in conjunction with the proliferation of long-range missile systems. Options for limited physical destruction attacks such as those that use very low-yield weapons or high-altitude nuclear blasts designed to disrupt an enemy’s information networks and systems via an electromagnetic pulse effect could further erode the taboo against nuclear weapon use and prompt reassessments of the vulnerabilities of modern conventional military forces. however. (Continued on next page…) 67 . likely depend on the context in which such weapons were used. enhance the perception of the utility of nuclear weapons in defending territorial sovereignty and increase pressures for proliferation in countries that do not possess a strong conventional military or security guarantees. new political-military developments could further erode the nuclear “taboo. Prevailing perceptions regarding whether the use of a nuclear weapon was justified. such as India and Pakistan. The spread of nuclear technologies and expertise is generating concerns about the potential emergence of new nuclear weapon states and the acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorist groups. A successful nuclear weapon test or use of a nuclear weapon by a state to deter or halt a conventional attack might. Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers. economic. the defending power might try to limit the potential for escalation by employing a nuclear weapon test to signal resolve and deter aggression or by confining the use of nuclear weapons to the defense of its own territory.” The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran spawning a nuclear arms race in the greater Middle East will bring new security challenges to an already conflict-prone region. future acquisition of nuclear weapons by states with weak command and control procedures and safeguards increases the probability of accidental or unauthorized nuclear use. Furthermore. on the other hand. the level of destructiveness it created.

the spread of new technologies. or environmental mitigated in the Middle East. but its appeal could diminish if economic generated by resource scarcities. a future use of nuclear weapons probably would bring about significant geopolitical changes as some states would seek to establish or reinforce security alliances with existing nuclear powers and others would push for global nuclear disarmament. Terrorism: Good and Bad News Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025. could use networks and • In the absence of employment global communications to recruit and train opportunities and legal means for political new members. As long as turmoil and societal disruptions. manipulate public disaffection. however. “For those terrorist groups active in 2025. ethnic rivalries. and coordinate attacks. and development. Economic degradation. and other social issues. however. disenfranchised that become self- radicalized. national boundaries. proliferate radical ideologies. and disenfranchised. for example. growing radicalism. opportunities for youth and greater political conditions will remain conducive to the pluralism probably would dissuade some from spread of radicalism and insurgencies. such as a communications and mass media. training procedures necessary to conduct and robust new mechanisms for multilateral sophisticated attacks—and newly cooperation to deal with climate change may emergent collections of the angry and foster greater global collaboration. 68 . conditions will be ripe for manage their finances. downtrodden. poor growth continues and youth unemployment is governance. possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. along the Jordan River • Terrorist and insurgent groups in 2025 (Israel-Jordan) and the Fergana Valley of will likely be a combination of Central Asia.(Continued…) In either case. poverty.” climate change. In Europe. the impacts of reach. but others— radicalism could be fueled by global motivated by a variety of factors. Increasing desire for revenge or to become “martyrs”— interconnectedness will enable individuals to will continue to turn to violence to pursue coalesce around common causes across their objectives. Such dire scenarios are not descendants of long-established groups— inevitable even with worse-than-anticipated that inherit organizational structures. divisions could emerge between some countries in Western Europe that support nuclear disarmament and those of Eastern Europe that still might fear Russia’s nuclear arsenal. In some situations these new networks could the diffusion of technologies and scientific act as forces for good by pressuring knowledge will place some of the world’s governments through non-violent means to most dangerous capabilities within their address injustice. expression. increase in the Middle East. Other groups. Future joining terrorists’ ranks. and opinion. Economic command and control processes. Palestinian Territories. climate change impacts. creating new cohorts of the angry.

Why al-Qa’ida’s “Terrorist Wave” Might Be Breaking Up As al-Qa’ida celebrates its 20th birthday. The two primary strategic aims of al-Qa’ida—the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate and the removal of US and Western influence so that “apostate” regimes can be toppled—are clearly threats to many existing Muslim governments and are resulting in stronger counterterrorism measures. Lebanon. A wave of terror is a cycle of activity—which can last up to 40 years—characterized by expansion and contraction phases: rise. Objectives that pose a threat to the existing political order court tough counterterrorism measures. Kuwait. Marxism. The wave of terror concept was developed by UCLA Professor David C. Jordan. if they could come to pass. nationalism. (Continued on next page…) 69 . Recent scholarly research indicates that terrorist groups that kill civilians seldom accomplish their strategic goals. on their own soil. would solve the practical problems of unemployment. driven by a common vision—such as anarchism. most experts assert that the struggle against it will continue indefinitely. Saudi Arabia. • According to one study of public attitudes toward extremist violence. Rapoport and provides a basis for the comparative analysis of terrorist movements. United Arab Emirates. The report also found that majorities in all Arab countries oppose jihadi violence. inability to attract broad-based support. and self- destructive actions—might cause it to decay sooner than many people think. and dysfunctional governance. the so called “long war. Its harsh pan-Islamist ideology and policies appeal only to a tiny minority of Muslims. poor educational systems. similar terrorist activities occur in many countries. Egypt. and their decay contributes to the breaking of the wave. Morocco. examination of available evidence suggests that at least 40 percent of the victims have been Muslims. Despite sympathy for some of its ideas and the rise of affiliated groups in places like the Mahgreb. there is little support for al-Qa’ida in any of the countries surveyed—Algeria. and Yemen. • Al-Qa’ida is alienating former Muslim supporters by killing Muslims in its attacks. al-Qa’ida has not achieved broad support in the Islamic World. Research indicates that terrorists’ strategic objectives fail on two fronts. In each wave. or Islamic extremism. Although determining precisely the number of Muslims worldwide who have died in al-Qa’ida attacks is difficult. by any group. Qatar. perhaps shortening the lifespan of the Islamic terrorist wave. floodtide of violence. and ebb. while objectives that are seen as neither achievable nor relevant to solving problems have little appeal to elites or the general populace. • There is little indication that the vast majority of Muslims believe that such objectives are realistic or that.” Other experts who have studied past “waves” of terrorism believe that al-Qa’ida is an “aging” group by terrorist standards and suffers from strategic weaknesses that could cause it to decay into marginality. poverty. Terrorist groups who form the crest of each wave usually dissolve before the entire wave does. Al-Qa’ida’s weaknesses—unachievable strategic objectives.

support for terrorist security or military forces and to create mass networks in the Muslim world appears to be casualties. reach. the of special operations-type forces. and the employment For those terrorist groups active in 2025.(Continued. Improved sympathize with terrorists’ objectives. surveillance capabilities.) The roughly 40-year cycle of terrorist waves suggests that the dreams that inspire terrorist group members’ fathers to join particular groups are not attractive to succeeding generations. To succeed. citing the need for enhanced industries is spreading expertise and internal security and their desire to control the capabilities and increasing the accessibility of influx of unwanted refugees and immigrants. thermobaric and the appeal within societies. The globalization of biotechnology Governments. terrorist groups need a tactical weapons will increase the potential large number of passive supporters who that they will be used by terrorists. and the spread of terrorists’ communications among themselves cheap sensors and robotics that could be used indicates they see themselves in a “losing” to create more capable improvised explosive battle with Western materialistic values. anti-tank guided missiles and other man- Reducing those numbers is key to lessening portable weapon systems. expanding domestic security forces. and inability to become a mass movement. rather than transforming into a political movement like Hizbollah or Hamas. decreased organizational élan. al-Qa’ida is using a stratagem that rarely is successful. unachievable strategic objectives. The proliferation of advanced declining. Because history suggests that the global Islamic terrorist movement will outlast al-Qa’ida as a group. Surveys and analysis of jihadist websites indicate growing popular dissatisfaction with Some governments will likely respond to civilian casualties—particularly of fellow increasing terrorism and internal threats by Muslims—caused by terrorist actions. Recent academic research indicates that only 6 percent of terrorist groups active in the last 40 years have achieved their proclaimed strategic objectives. biological pathogens suitable for disruptive may increasingly erect barricades and fences attacks. diffusion of technologies and scientific Counterterrorism and counterinsurgency knowledge will place some of the world’s missions increasingly will involve urban most dangerous capabilities within their operations as a result of greater urbanization. may also be used by terrorists or insurgents Gated communities will continue to spring up seeking an advantage against opposing 70 . The prospect that al-Qa’ida will be among the small number of groups able to transcend the generational timeline is not high..” On a positive note. and inability to attract new members. Analysis of other advanced explosives. strategic counterterrorism efforts will need to focus on how and why a successor terrorist group might evolve during the remaining years of the “Islamic terrorist wave. Al-Qa’ida’s lack of success in executing attacks against the “far enemy” could portend a period of operational futility leading to increased frustration.. given its harsh ideology. Radiological and chemical weapons around their territories to inhibit access. devices illustrate this danger. In relying almost exclusively on terrorism as a means to achieve its strategic objectives.

and the employment of new forms of warfare such as cyber and space warfare are providing state militaries and nonstate groups the means to escalate and expand future conflicts beyond the traditional battlefield. combined with hand-held navigation devices and high-capacity information systems that can contain large amounts of text. maps. The growing importance of information technologies as an enabler of modern warfighting capabilities will make information itself a primary target in future conflicts. Warfare in 2025 is likely to be characterized by the following strategic trends: The Increasing Importance of Information. psychological. and communication networks and systems including anti-satellite. Future proliferation of long-range precision weapons will permit a growing number of states to threaten rapid destruction of an adversary’s critical economic. The Changing Character of Conflict Conflict will continue to evolve over the next 20 years as potential combatants adapt to advances in science and technology. 71 . By 2025 some states probably will deploy weapons designed to destroy or disable information. and military and information infrastructures. enhanced command and control. radiofrequency. The Evolution of Irregular Warfare Capabilities. including precision tactical and man-portable weapon systems. Modern communication technologies such as satellite and cellular phones. The advancement of weapons capabilities such as long-range precision weapons. The Prominence of the Non-military Aspects of Warfare. and information-based forms of conflict will become more prevalent in conflicts over the next two decades. improving target and surveillance capabilities. and commercial encryption. economic. The spread of light weaponry. The Expansion and Escalation of Conflicts Beyond the Traditional Battlefield. sensor. states and nonstate adversaries will engage in “media warfare” to dominate the 24-hour news cycle and manipulate public opinion to advance their own agenda and gain popular support for their cause. and execute dispersed operations. political. The adoption of irregular warfare tactics by both state and nonstate actors as a primary warfighting approach in countering advanced militaries will be a key characteristic of conflicts in 2025. and information and communication technologies will significantly increase the threat posed by irregular forms of warfare over the next 15-20 years. coordinate. and the expanding use of artificial intelligence and robotics. Non-military means of warfare. and laser weapons. In the future. and digital images and videos will greatly enable future irregular forces to organize. such as cyber. the Internet. improving weapon capabilities. Containing the expansion and escalation of conflicts will become more problematic in the future. the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. and changes in the security environment. energy. Advances in information technologies are enabling new warfighting synergies through combinations of advanced precision weaponry. resource.

and economic policy. If conflict there players realign themselves. the significant patterns of tribal interaction and Taliban and other Islamist activists might conflict. and shift unable to maintain internal stability could constantly in Afghanistan as the various continue to roil the region. if Pakistan is unable to hold together until 2025.within many societies as elites seek to insulate The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in themselves from domestic threats. • By 2025 the government in Baghdad could still be an object of competition • Globalization has made opium among the various factions seeking Afghanistan’s major cash crop.8 maximizing Pashtun space at the expense of Punjabis in Pakistan and Tajiks In 2025. and to control assistance. well as internal contestants. considering the trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan. economic authority. and Saudi Arabia will have Tribal and sectarian disputes probably will increasing difficulty staying aloof. gain access to local resources. Alternatively. An Iraq continue to arise. Afghanistan may still evince and others in Afghanistan. and Iraq: Local Province and tribal areas probably will Trajectories and Outside Interests continue to be poorly governed and the source Developments in Afghanistan. be fought out. 8 The Durand Line is the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan—an artificial division that the Afghan Government does not recognize. strong central authority. Outsiders will breaks into civil war. and advance other immediate interests or more ambitious—and costly— goals. sectarian. the foreign aid and pride of place. and India are not further What happens in Iraq will affect neighbors as developed. tribal. and local notables will compete to establish and maximize areas of political and social • Western-driven infrastructure. centrifugal forces are likely to remain strong even if Kabul In Iraq. economic links for trade with Central Asia. Pakistan. By 2025. Pakistan. 72 . alternatives. and construction are likely to the distribution of those resources through provide new stakes for local rivalries their patronage networks. Pakistan. rather than country will have difficulty developing a self-standing agent of political authority. and or supporter of cross-border instability. Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Afghanistan. Syria. rather than the basis for a cohesive Western-style economic and social unity. Iraq could continue to choose between making temporary alliances provide a strong demonstration of the adverse to destroy terrorist enemies. the trajectories a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is of these three states probably will have likely to emerge and act together to erase the diverged sharply. Iran. Durand Line. With the exception of the Taliban prove able to overawe at least some tribal interlude. particularly as long as legitimacy. increases its sway. Afghanistan has not experienced politics. If Iraq will critically affect regional stability. access to resources. Turkey. not the global order. numerous ethnic.

political experimentation. In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as in Afghanistan. Increasing religious observance and the failures of secular Arab nationalism will leave Islamic political and social movements best positioned to assert ideological influence over governments and publics in much of the Muslim world over the next 15-20 years. will encourage the spread of Salafism (reverence for the earliest period in Islam). security systems. but Tehran will identities. and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend is likely to gain traction. The trend toward bypassing tradition. In countries where economic and demographic trends are favorable and publics and governments opt for the benefits of globalization. The direction of Islam’s internal ideological struggle will be determined primarily by local conditions. 73 . which risks undermining Western allies in the Muslim world. End of Ideology? We judge that ideological conflicts akin to the Cold War are unlikely to take root in a world where most states will be preoccupied with the pragmatic challenges of globalization and shifting global power alignments. and economic subsistence networks will • All players will look to the United States animate robust local and sectarian to guarantee stability. aided by the spread of media technologies. a stable to suggest popular adherence to being Iraq could provide a positive example of “Iraqi. consequences of sectarianism to other • Public opinion polls likely will continue countries in the region. especially in the Middle East. The force of ideology is likely to be strongest in the Muslim world—particularly the Arab core where Islam’s diverse expressions will continue to influence deeply social norms and politics as well as serve as a prism through which individuals will absorb the economic and cultural forces of globalization. social organizations.” but the persistence of competing economic growth and political development. and respect for religious pluralism. The ensuing Islamic discourse will be increasingly fluid as the clerical leadership detaches from established seats of learning and traditions of jurisprudence and asserts its own interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith (oral tradition). including its most radical forms. there will be strong incentives to revive and broaden Islamic teachings that promote a culture of innovation. Nonetheless. Pakistan. Nigeria. scientific learning. Alternatively. continue to fear US designs for Iran’s own regime and sovereignty. the dispersal of religious authority into networks of like-minded thinkers also could set the stage for a revival of innovative perspectives on Islam’s relationship to the modern world and provide a counterweight to the radical trend.

Shi’a. tribal leaders. and other loyalties of officers and troops with a notables could remain a destabilizing factor. have historically been divided. much more robust sense of corporate élan In addition. any significant increase in the and national purpose. Tribes of mixed Sunni-Shi’a ethnicity could serve as an integrating intercommunal glue. and personal rivalries among the Sadrs. and other Shi’a notables are likely to continue to color politics in this community. agitation by replacing the current tribal and sectarian Sunni jihadists. Hakims. 74 .The Sunnis will have an interest in the central Development of a well-integrated national state only if it provides them with what they army would be an important factor in judge to be an adequate share of resources maximizing prospects for a more largely generated outside their areas of functional Iraqi state. but only if economic development leads to a more transparent and trustworthy central administration and national system for material production and distribution. This would require control. number of Iraqi Sunnis emigrating to Jordan and Syria could jeopardize the stability of those countries. flush with their newfound primacy. Absent this satisfaction.

a In this worst- case. In the interim. tens to hundreds of millions of Americans within the US Homeland would become ill and deaths would mount into the tens of millions. to be likely candidates for such a transformation. critical infrastructure degradation and economic loss on a global scale would result as approximately a third of the worldwide population became ill and hundreds of millions died.b Outside the US. Despite limits imposed on international travel. 75 . travelers with mild symptoms or who were asymptomatic could carry the disease to other continents. but other pathogens—such as the SARS coronavirus or other influenza strains—also have this potential. Experts consider highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strains. it probably will first occur in an area marked by high population density and close association between humans and animals. and virulent human respiratory illness for which there are no adequate countermeasures could initiate a global pandemic. and the symptoms and after-effects will vary according to the specific characteristics of whatever pathogen is responsible for a pandemic. Slow public health response would delay the realization that a highly transmissible pathogen had emerged. Under such a scenario. To propagate effectively. Potential Emergence of a Global Pandemic The emergence of a novel. internal and cross-border tension and conflict will become more likely as nations struggle—with degraded capabilities—to control the movement of populations seeking to avoid infection or maintain access to resources. If a pandemic disease emerges by 2025. This scenario posits plausible characteristics that fall within a range of possibilities for these variables. the mortality rate. inadequate health-monitoring capability within the nation of origin probably would prevent early identification of the disease. Waves of new cases would occur every few months. how many people become sick. The absence of an effective vaccine and near universal lack of immunity would render populations vulnerable to infection. such as H5N1. Weeks might pass before definitive laboratory results could be obtained confirming the existence of a disease with pandemic potential. The emergence of a pandemic disease depends upon the natural genetic mutation or reassortment of currently circulating disease strains or the emergence of a new pathogen into the human population. where human populations live in close proximity to livestock. A breakthrough in the next several years could reduce the risk posed by pandemic influenza during upcoming decades. b How fast a disease spreads. a disease would have to be transmitted to areas of higher population density. If a pandemic disease emerges. highly transmissible. Unregulated animal husbandry practices could allow a zoonotic disease such as H5N1 to circulate in livestock populations—increasing the opportunity for mutation into a strain with pandemic potential. _____________________________ a US and global health organizations currently are working to develop vaccines that may prevent or mitigate influenza pandemics. how long they stay sick. such as many areas of China and Southeast Asia. clusters of the disease would begin to appear in towns and cities within Southeast Asia.

Also illustrated by this scenario is the competition by rising powers for resources. Global Scenario III: BRICs’ Preconditions underpinning this scenario Bust-Up include: In this fictionalized scenario. As outlined in this scenario. With increasing resource resource shortages. disputes over acute in the Asian economies. which are particularly constraints likely out to 2025. The sense of • A rise in nationalist sentiments occurs vulnerability is heightened by the dwindling with the intense energy competition in this number of energy producers and increasing zero-sum world. A world in which there are • A balance of power emerges that more confrontations over other issues—such resembles a 21st century replay of the as new trade barriers—is likely to increase the years before 1914. concentration in unstable regions such as the Middle East. potential for any dispute to escalate into conflict. misperceptions—along with miscom- munications—could play as important a role as any actual threats. In thinking about the increased potential for conflict in this multipolar world. 76 . we need to keep in mind the scope for the emerging powers to clash with one another. Chinese fears of • A steady period of growth has slowed as disruption of China’s energy supplies spark a states struggle to cope with energy and clash with India. resources appear to us to be a growing potential source of conflict. Both China and India—though rich in coal—have limited and dwindling oil and gas reserves and must rely on foreign sources.

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and even criminal including climate change. NGOs. Most of the pressing transnational problems— religious organizations. philanthropic The trend toward greater diffusion of foundations. and obtain necessary resources. or more likely. the only—and often not the most important—actors on the world stage and • This multipolarity is also unlikely to the “international system” will have include a single dominant nation-state morphed to accommodate the new reality. will further erode prospects for the United ingly ineffective institutions. many informal impede international cooperation. Current trends suggest multilateral institutions or governments. we are unlikely to see an be limited in their ability to effect change in overarching.—are of social. crime networks. with shifting coalitions of the emergence of newer powers—may make member nations. unlikely to be effectively resolved by the actions of individual nation-states. and political issues. Although states will not institutional overhaul. with the overwhelming power and But the transformation will be incomplete legitimacy to act as the agent of and uneven. international organizations. NGOs and philanthropist foundations— concentrating on specific issues—increasingly Multipolarity without Multilateralism will be a part of the landscape but are likely to In such a world. it harder for international organizations to 81 .) relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses. etc. challenges. The groupings. influence decisions on a widening range failing states. economic. unitary approach the absence of concerted efforts by to global governance. regulation of networks—will grow as these groups globalized financial markets. Recent trends suggest that diversity in both types and kinds of actor existing multilateral institutions—which are increases the likelihood of fragmentation over large and cumbersome—will have difficulty the next two decades given the apparently adapting quickly enough to undertake new waning ability of legacy international missions. and companies. the discussion of the role of the US. often ad hoc and Quests for greater inclusiveness—to reflect fragmented efforts. nation-states will no longer be system. an expanded Security Council—or for sustaining broader reforms of the UN • By 2025. migration. and enhanced strength of action—particularly within the current or nonstate actors and networks. growth in Nations to strengthen consensus among its regional blocs. but it also has the potential to solving transnational problems—with new further fragment the existing system and to institutions. (See below for disappear from the international scene. authority and power occurring for a couple decades is likely to accelerate because of the • This fragmentation of interests and actors emergence of new global players. increas. gaps left by aging post-World War II Leaders will pursue alternative approaches to institutions. The need The growing multiplicity of actors could for effective global governance will increase strengthen the international system by filling faster than existing mechanisms can respond. advanced communications members for effective multilateral technologies. comprehensive. accommodate changing institutions to address new transnational memberships. social movements. tribes. that global governance in 2025 will be a patchwork of overlapping.

appears little chance of an alternative bloc increasing worries about resources—such as forming among them to directly confront the energy or even water—could easily put the more established Western order. Indeed a repeat of the 19th century’s “Great Game” some or all of the rising powers may be with outsiders contending for the exclusive content to take advantage of the institutions right to control market access. from Western-driven these differing perspectives. the but we cannot rule out such possibilities. characterized late 19th century multipolarity will be less significant in the emerging one.tackle transnational challenges. unresolved border issues. particularly China and UN General Assembly to NATO and the India. and others goals of economic development. Effective action also may be impeded by the climate change. While sharing a more state-centric view. and military rivalries that the increasing number of transnational issues. their membership does not necessarily fuel are developed quickly injects a have to involve heavy responsibilities or potentially dangerous risk of instability. IMF. strategic rivalries are likely to diverse enough. have a shared interest in maintaining a EU—may find the challenges to be stable and open order. their alternative approaches—can be melded with the traditional Western ones to form a We anticipate that arms races. continue to shape the agenda of organizations and limit the kinds of solutions possible. smaller countries in the neighborhood the fact that agreement on new permanent 82 . in but whether the emerging powers will be the case of Central Asia. but they espouse particularly difficult. How Many International Systems? Large and enlarging organizations—from the The emerging powers. At the same fall in national power if alternatives for fossil time. For some. This is likely to continued economic development. As we have seen. There is unlikely to be different “means. As burden-sharing. investment. Given apply across the board. the question institutions to those of the historic Third arises as to whether the new players—and World. where large deposits given—or will want—additional power and of energy resources increase the potential for responsibilities is a separate question. West’s traditional laissez faire recipe for economic development. Respect for may seek outsiders’ protection or intervention the dissenting views of member nations will in a balancing effort. energy. The existing focus back on territorial disputes or international organizations—such as the UN. and other resource existence of too many institutions—many of needs are likely to be more problematic for which have declining purpose—with limited what many see as their primary goal of legitimacy and effectiveness. India. However. border issues is particularly noteworthy or. grows. and World Bank—may prove sufficiently responsive and adaptive to Asia is one region where the number of such accommodate the views of emerging powers. For national interests of the emerging powers are most countries. and their dependence on revolve around trade. technology globalization compelling enough. that there innovation. WTO. The fact that a without assuming leadership burdens number of countries may experience a sharp commensurate with their status. and acquisition.” Their spectacular any effort to “zero base” the international economic success has been achieved with an organizational structure such that some economic model that is at odds with the organizations go away or are reinvented. territorial cohesive international system able to tackle expansion. allowing them to pursue their the national power of China.

in the worst case—absent greater regional cooperation—concern over oil supply routes could lead to a China-Japan-India naval arms race. will be key factors shaping regional (Continued on next page…) 83 . if it occurs. could fill the vacuum left by a weakening multilaterally based international order but could also further undermine that order. movement over the next 15 years toward an Asian basket of currencies—if not an Asian currency unit as a third reserve—is more than a theoretical possibility. and some 70 percent of Asian imports are from the Middle East. Some two-thirds of Mideast oil exports go to Asia. and whether Taiwan’s relationship to the Mainland moves toward conflict or is resolved peacefully. and other “new economy” products. • Such a development would be in part an effort by Asians to insulate themselves from financial volatility outside their region. facilitate economic integration. buoyant confidence. Establishment of such quasi-blocs also would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization agreements and regional clusters could compete in the setting of trans-regional product standards for IT. • Aspects of Asian regionalism that are difficult to quantify include the growing habits of cooperation. a remarkable series of pan-Asian ventures— the most significant being ASEAN + 3—began to take root. This pattern is likely to intensify. extra-regional players such as the US will continue to be a significant part of the 2025 Asian economic equation. Developments in the security realm—where Asian integration is currently weakest and where trends toward competition and hedging persist—could dilute regionalism. Europe. nanotech. intellectual property rights. possibly sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs (North America. Asia arguably has evolved more rapidly over the last decade than the European integration did in its first decade(s). Greater Regionalism—Plus or Minus for Global Governance? One exception to the trend toward greater multipolarity with less multilateralism may occur on a regional level in Asia. An Asian regional energy posture could set the terms for the rest of the world. Whether this nexus is primarily commercial— complementary investments and military sales—or acquires an increasingly political/strategic character could determine the character of the international system. Although few would argue that an Asian counterpart to the EU is a likely outcome even by 2025. Greater Asian integration. and to achieve greater representation at the global table. • As stated. In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. if 1997 is taken as a starting point. In the economic realm. and East Asia). biotech. However. Asian regionalism would have global implications. Whether and how Korea is reunified and the status of its nuclear program. frequency of encounters by a host of high-level officials and the cultural diffusion that is bridging historical and political differences and is engendering a new sense of community.

domestic and nonstate actors focused on specific issues. their elite-based of domestic goals. members of the Security Council appears as terrorism. proliferation. the rising powers are also likely genuine intent to solve problems. business to want to preserve their policy freedom to self-interest. such as competition over resources. energy. or powers enough responsibility for them to climate change. for example. manufacturing. climate change. One large uncertainty is politics and limit their willingness to whether the political will exists to reshape the compromise on major international economic international system to offer the emerging issues such as trade. another reason for them to prefer to or radically alter the international system as be bystanders rather than leaders in a did Germany and Japan in the 19th and early multilateral system. Whether greater or lesser integration occurs also depends largely on the future character of Sino- Japanese ties. This is the first time in modern history that China and Japan have been major regional and global actors at the same time. The emerging powers will have a high degree of freedom to “customize” A World of Networks their political and economic policies rather In response to likely deficits in global than fully adopting Western norms. Japan. • Others. networks will form among states of their growing geopolitical clout. 20th centuries. Peaceful resolution of the Korea and Taiwan disputes and a Franco-German type entente between China and Japan would sharply diminish the regional desire for a US “offshore” balancer role. Because governance. markets. and convergent goals and interests. finance. and the desire of maneuver and will want others to carry the burden of dealing with global challenges such 84 . lack strategic “Most experts…do not expect the rising economic and political visions and do not powers to challenge or radically alter the possess domestic grassroots support for international system…” deep economic liberalization. including a technology. Managing and adjusting to a transition to a reunified Korea could expand the Six-Party talks into a mechanism that features new levels of cooperation among the US. Current trends suggest traditional security concerns are declining in importance but may be replaced by new issues. Russia’s and China’s provides an additional excuse to forego a resource nationalism and state capitalism global role which could come at the expense underpin. moral grounds. remote even over the next 15-20 years and energy security. US allies and security partners in the region will not trade in the US balancing role for any collective regional security arrangement until the political and economic consequences of China’s rise become better known. finance. such as India. A key question is whether they can transcend historical suspicions and compete peacefully. and China. Many global issues require sacrifices or abrupt Most experts—US and foreign—we consulted changes to these countries’ development do not expect the rising powers to challenge plans. shoulder more global burdens. However. and roles in global resource These networks will operate to pursue extraction.(Continued…) dynamics.

In some cases. With the groundwork done in the two hemispheres. Current examples of such based networks may be quintessential issue networks include the Financial Stability networks and overall may play a more Forum. while avoiding the stigma of is the third most popular Arabic website in solutions being imposed by external the world (al-Jazeera’s is number one).” but with substantial clout—to report on or oversee some aspects of governance. Although religious groups have been a great international organizations. (IT). the Carbon Sequestration Leadership powerful role than secular transnational Forum. Using beneficiary of globalization. entrepreneurs. and management of the “new post-industrial economy. or A Growing Role for Religion. low overhead. outcomes in the period out to 2025. whose activities reap high status and great wealth. especially for those who lack the means of communication and influence 85 . governments. especially if those countries have will influence outcomes. Indeed. The numbers and types of NGOs could well explode by 2025. and the of whole new patterns of authority and capacity of individuals and groups to affiliate leadership across the Global South entails with each other using the Internet will autonomous ministers and religious facilitate such collectives. religion also has their broad contacts and multiple national the potential to be a primary vehicle for identities. international organizations. religion world. trade. gaining and Matthew Ashimolowo or Sunday legitimacy and sometimes taking credit for Adelaja for Christians. a new set of evangelists and megachurch preachers social actors—super-empowered individuals probably will seek to become the leaders of and even criminal networks—increasingly nations. the emergence Low entry costs. Within the Christian tradition. These elites are been economically devastated during a global empowered by their wealth and an array of downturn. the nucleus of an issue also has the potential to be a primary vehicle network will be a national or international for opposition to that same modernizing commission or body of experts—unelected process. and NGOs. the Global South informal contexts. Before 2025. we could be entering a new age of clerical Issue groups likely will help develop and leadership in which religious leaders become diffuse standards and regulations for various major power brokers in resolving future realms. outcomes across national and organizational Religious structures can channel social and boundaries. they help leverage “transnational” opposition to that same modernizing process. Religion- other issues. nation-states will be able to and North—Amir Khalede for Muslims adopt problem-solving measures. some In addition to such issue groups.” For some • Rich rewards in power and influence kinds of issues. political protest. national and transnational contacts— oftentimes spanning businesses. and the International Partnership for groupings in exerting influence and shaping the Hydrogen Economy. regulatory regimes. Khalede’s website initiatives. the networks likely will already fall to those religious provide the basis for agreement among entrepreneurs and televangelists who span nation-states. including information technology international disputes and organizations and NGOs to be “Although religious groups have been a relevant to the problems facing a changing great beneficiary of globalization.

Philippines. Sectarian Indonesia. China. If even the government will face “no-go” areas in many moderately severe projections of climate large cities as has already happened in cities change are correct. clans. state and local and in much of Africa. religious zealots. The increasing and egalitarianism. Religious other fealty-driven communities. fragmentation in developing nations would be 86 . predominately and other differences within Islam will be a Christian states with substantial Muslim source of tension or worse. The challenge of minorities (e. will remain battlegrounds in this sectarian struggle. DROC. significant Christian minorities (Egypt. Without some version of a revived Marxist and other religious safety nets. the degree of chaos and class-based or secular ideology. enhancing social stability nationalists. Class struggles will advantaged or left behind by modernization. including the growing international system is that no single political gaps between rich and poor.g. Ethiopia. and governments unable to do so. and Sudan). they also help people cope with face a combination of challenges from those same forces. and other places in Africa Tanzania). India. numbers of migrants moving to cities from rural areas will coalesce in neighborhoods If global economic growth did suffer a severe settled by previous co-ethnics or will find reverse—akin to the Indonesian crisis of the themselves targeted for recruitment by gangs late 1990s but on a worldwide scale— and more complex criminal structures. As religiously based rural insurgencies and ethnic these communities coalesce and become struggles probably would ensue in a number “self-governing” or sometimes co-opted by of countries including Brazil. notions of multiethnic If religious structures offer vehicles to resist integration and the value of “diversity” could globalization. and perhaps and economic development. Nigeria. organized crime groups. and Muslim (Ethiopia. one predominantly Muslim countries with category possibly will continue to stand out. This is relevant Intolerance? because many of the economic trends that will dominate the next two decades have the potential to drive social fragmentation and One aspect of the growing complexity of the popular resentment. and Nigeria. and Islamic activism could produce a more Uganda) or finely balanced between Christian intense backlash of Christian activism. Islam will remain a robust identity. the vast and nationality—is likely to be dominant in disparities between nations and regions most societies by 2025. The and between states able to manage the Internet and other multi-media will enable the consequences of globalization and those with revitalization of the reach of tribes. the impacts could spur like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. matter as much as religion and ethnicity. In 2025. religious conflict through large sections of Africa and Asia. Among the countries at Although inherited and chosen layers of greatest risk of such conflict and scapegoating identity will be as “authentic” as conventional of minority communities are a number of categories of citizenship and nationality.Proliferating Identities and Growing available to social elites. Explosive activists can draw on sacred texts and long urbanization will facilitate the spread of these historical tradition to frame popular identities and increase the likelihood of grievances in terms of social justice rhetoric clashes between groups. the urban and identity—such as the conflation of citizenship rural gulfs in India and China..

the better economic performance of many authoritarian governments could sow doubts among some about democracy as the best form of government. usually of a fundamentalist or the resources or infrastructures to provide theocratic nature. but advances are likely to slow and globalization will subject many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures that could undermine liberal institutions. where opinion views it positively independent of any material benefits. adequate healthcare. 87 . The alternative social system provided by religious organizations has been a potent factor in winning mass support for religion. the have become more urban over the last 30 or more critical the role of religious institutions 40 years.Future of Democracy: Backsliding More Likely than Another Wave We remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for greater democratization. • Ironically. surveys show growing frustration with the current workings of democratic government and questioning among elites over the ability of democratic governments to take the bold actions necessary to deal rapidly and effectively with the growing number of transnational challenges. Still. • Elsewhere surveys have shown democracy having taken root. economic setbacks could enhance prospects for movement toward pluralism and greater democratization in China and Russia. • As we have suggested elsewhere in the text. The surveys we consulted indicated that many East Asians put greater emphasis on good management. The government’s standing in Russia would be similarly challenged if living standards fell dramatically. As predominantly rural societies The weaker the state and its mechanisms. welfare. particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. nascent democracies have historically been shown to be unstable to the extent that they lack strong liberal institutions—especially rule of law—which can help support democracy during economic downturns. This holds across faiths. Case studies suggest widespread corruption is especially threatening because it undermines faith in democratic institutions. than democracy. The Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy increasingly rests on its ability to ensure greater material wealth for Chinese society. millions of migrants have been and the stronger the appeal of religious attracted to larger urban complexes without ideologies. and education. Elsewhere even in many well-established democracies. Resentment of elite corruption is already on the rise but may overwhelm the regime in event of a serious economic crisis. including increasing standards of livings. far worse.

longstanding practices of an institutionalized part of the political corruption. if not foreign minerals. and other strategic markets—in policies. fostering greater corruption and manipulation of foreign policies to their advantage. and an absence of the rule of law. For many resource-rich addition to their traditional involvement in countries. Increased basis for the whole economy and energy demand for energy worldwide provides policies are a key consideration in foreign opportunities for criminals to expand their policy decisions. evolved into influential businessmen and become valuable partners for corrupt • The illicit activities of organized crime in officials. influence market actions. criminals may be criminal networks in managing the world’s in a position to control states and resources—especially global energy. and economic environment and where the potential for penetration by organized over time organized crime figures have crime is high. energy revenues provide the international narcotics trafficking. given their far-reaching Further fragmenting the international system tentacles into government offices and is the threat posed by growing transnational corporate board rooms. the energy sector provide affiliated companies with an unfair competitive • As Russian and Eurasian suppliers capture advantage in the global energy market. we expect these organized crime networks to expand their operations. 88 .A “Shadow” International System by 2025? • Over time. With energy supplies networks is probably greatest in Eurasian increasingly concentrated in countries with markets where organized crime has been poor governance. a larger and larger portion of the energy markets in Europe and Asia. activities through direct ties to energy suppliers and leaders of countries where • The likelihood of penetration by criminal suppliers are located.

labor unions. NGOs. formal and informal relationships with Growing public concerns about states. religious organizations. environmental degradation and government inaction come together in this example to • Communications technology permits “empower” a network of political activists to ubiquitous and constant integration into wrest control of the issue out of country-level identity networks. 89 . The dispersion of power and authority away • Diasporas. officials in capitals. and others sub-national and transnational entities acquire significant power and establish including social and political movements. charge of setting the international agenda. Global Scenario IV: Politics Is Preconditions for this scenario include: Not Always Local • National governments’ relevance and In this fictionalized scenario. Environmentalism is an issue for which there is a widespread confluence of interests and desires. a new world power lessens in an increasingly emerges in which nation-states are not in decentralized world. Global communications technology enables individuals to affiliate directly with identity-driven groups and networks that transcend geographic boundaries. ethnic from nation-states has fostered the growth of groups.

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A world of G-77 countries realize they are absorbing relatively few conflicts with other major environmental harm from polluters and are powers would smooth the way toward not averse to the US intervening with Beijing. and to a lesser extent. Further. and opportunity costs of being the world’s leader are reassessed by Other states will continue to seek US American voters. of antagonism. military power. the US is still likely to continue New Relationships and Recalibrated Old to be seen as a much-needed regional balancer Partnerships in the Middle East and in Asia. in many regions. a nuclear Iran many decades. Despite the rise in anti-Americanism over the past decade. security umbrella to Israel and other states. Economic and opportunity leadership on the newer “security” issues. for example. development of a multipolar system in which the US is “first” among equals. many favor new tradeoffs. overriding modus operandi for others China’s military modernization program is a 93 . The United States will have greater impact The level of concern may rise even if Asia’s on how the international system evolves over security improves. military. but it will have less power eventuality the opposite reaction is also in a multipolar world than it has enjoyed for possible. In the end.” economic. Most determinants of US policy. countries view US leadership as critical to encouraging major developing countries like Developments in the rest of the world. others will seek US leadership on events will shape the parameters of US countering WMD proliferation by taking steps foreign policy. Contingencies—such as the to dissuade interest in WMD. strengthening use of nuclear weapons or WMD terrorism— nonproliferation regimes. China and India that are emitters of including internal developments in a number greenhouse gasses to take on serious of key states—particularly China and commitments to reduce carbon emissions in a Russia—are also likely to be crucial post-2012 emissions control regime. In and resource nationalism become the addition to its increasing economic power. fostering Demand for US Leadership Likely to deterrence in the use of WMD. For example. We believe that US world…particularly [in] China and Russia— interest and willingness to play a leadership are also likely to be crucial determinants of role also may be more constrained as the US policy. with a PRC- the next 15-20 years than any other Taiwan accommodation. Capacities will Shrink the consequences of WMD use. the US will no longer have the same flexibility in choosing among as “Developments in the rest of the many policy options. A recent An increasingly multipolar world suggests a survey (see box on pages 95-96) indicates greater number of actors—including growing unease with China’s rise among its influential nonstate ones—with whom the US neighbors and. growing source of concern to its neighbors. In the Middle East. and mitigating Remain Strong. rolling back or eliminating WMD in countries of concern. a leveling off and other powers will have to contend. and technology. preventing could convulse the entire international system acquisition of WMD and associated expertise and refocus the US role. Owing to the relative decline would increase pressure for extension of a US of its economic. costs in particular may cause the US public to such as climate change. though in such an international actor. if not some improvement in Descent into a world in which mercantilism attitudes toward the United States.

such as Brazil. to assume more expansive regional 94 . On the other hand.probably would narrow the number of US roles and to increase their involvement on partners. We expect other countries. development of an During the period out to 2025. An earlier-than-anticipated move changes to the international order until away from fossil fuels also could undercut Beijing and New Delhi judge that they are in Russia’s recent resurgence. zero-sum world. A sense of increased threat—whether from Less Financial Margin of Error terrorism or a resurgent Russia—could The dollar is vulnerable to a major financial change the European calculus on the need for crisis and the dollar’s international role is more defense spending and greater capacity likely to decline from that of the unparalleled for unified action. and reliance on India are likely to remain status quo powers foreign technological expertise and focused on their own development.” to something of a Maghreb and Middle East economic and first among equals in a basket of currencies social developments increases the potential by 2025. difficult choices in increase its political and security role in the the conduct of American foreign policy. future international security effort in the Economic collapse. the international community. humanitarian needs owing to climate change. Japan. In the Middle East. especially in the security realm. may tradeoffs and force new. eager for the US or others to seek radical however. will become more Europe will face difficult domestic challenges dependent on NGOs to shoulder the burden of that could constrain its ability to play a larger humanitarian relief. China and independent middle class. This decline will entail real East. system than do other rising powers. especially in China’s Middle East. Growing interest in “global reserve currency. if certain key global issues such as trade and not confrontation among the powers in such a climate change. a world of continuing prosperity would enhance Current trends suggest Russia has a more prospects for greater burden-sharing and steps immediate interest in directly challenging towards revitalization of multilateralism and what it sees as a US-dominated international global institutions. The role of NGOs will grow case. where the US is likely to remain the dominant external actor. could lead to a nationalistic upsurge and commensurate with the increase of increased tensions with foreign powers. their relationships with the US are powers—in addition to European ones— likely to deepen if their plans for greater could seek or be drawn into roles in any economic development remain on track. or gradually with global what it accomplished with enlargement to the rebalancing. global role. Asian States. a better position to help set the new rules of the road. current Although the emerging powers will want to trends suggest a greater role for Asian states preserve ample leeway and autonomy to exert which are reinforcing their growing economic regional influence independent of the United links with stronger political ties. In turn. A more diversified economy. increasing the risks of tensions. This could occur suddenly in the for Europe to play a stabilizing role similar to wake of a crisis. drawing investment for development of its energy benefits from the current system and not too resources could change that trajectory. region. including the US. including the United States. to keep pace with China.

(Continued on next page…) 95 . and business practices—are seen abroad as admirable. Polling in 2008 by Pew’s Global Attitudes Project found US favorability ratings up in 10 of the 21 countries for which trend data are available. the US image became less favorable in 27 of 33 countries polled. Africa continues to harbor goodwill toward the United States. The views of Central and East Europeans. and the EU deepen practical multilateral approaches to international problems. culture. Anti-Americanism on the Wane? America’s reputation abroad has fluctuated over the decades—from the Ugly American of the 1950s to the widespread international protests over Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s to anti- nuclear activism in Europe in the 1980s. as well as Pakistan and North Africa. the new US military command. Between 2002 and 2007. In contrast to regions more uniformly pro. perceptions of the United States will be complex. India is an important exception. The downward trajectory of America’s reputation suggested above may have bottomed out. To the extent that certain aspects of American life—for example. but avoiding a heavy movement of military assets into Moscow’s perceived Near Abroad would stave off the tensest of relations with Russia. its key allies. Looking ahead. disentangling anti-terrorism from a perceived war on Islam. such as its foreign policies. S&T. To the extent Iran is perceived to be a dangerous revisionist power. who are traditionally favorable toward the United States. education. No single set of US actions will reassure all states of the former Soviet Union. people and states in the region will tend to view US military capability positively. Attitudes critical of the United States can be parsed into two basic categories: • “Transitory criticism” fueled by disagreements with specific aspects of the United States that can change with time. the surveys suggest African opinion about the United States will remain favorable.or anti-American. what regional drivers and dynamics might be pivotal for encouraging such a turnaround? Europe/Eurasia. probably will recede over time to the West European norm. Near East/South Asia. • “Anti-Americanism” reflecting deep and undifferentiated antipathy toward most aspects of the United States. Societies most hostile to the United States are found in the Islamic Middle East. NATO. If AFRICOM. keeping views flexible and open to revision. and humanitarian and economic developmental aid continues. Sub-Saharan Africa. people. The views of Western Europeans appear to be buoyed to the extent that the United States. Publics in Sub-Saharan Africa tend to find American lifestyles and standards of living enviable. does not present an overly militarized face to citizens in African countries. Drivers for turning around the US image include a strong commitment to significant progress on Israel/Palestine. Anti-Americanism has experienced an upsurge during this decade. Europe/Eurasia tends to hold more volatile views of the US. and seeking to provide aid to needy citizens in addition to military-security elites. its political system.

As traditional ways of life are upset around the globe. independent of the owner. and energy security. some wariness will be displaced onto Beijing. • The US is benefiting from a likely turn in the battle of ideas. Despite China’s economic growth. factors favorable to the United States: • Many state leaders and publics are distrustful of vast power itself. Some level of migration to the United States for jobs and subsequent remittance of earnings back to Latin America will be a key. much more so in Central America. As China becomes more powerful.(Continued…) East/Southeast Asia: Views of the United States in this region are relatively positive. unwanted foreign ideas and customs will appear more the product of modernity than of American sprawl. support for terrorism has declined dramatically over the last few years in many Muslim countries. Also important will be the degree to which US and Latin interests are viewed as shared. Internet connectivity. and to a lesser extent in Southeast Asia. food security. and confidence in Usama Bin Ladin has waned. Public perceptions are at risk of downward swings in China. Latin America: On balance. what does the tally sheet of factors affecting anti-Americanism look like out to 2025? First. depending on portrayals of the United States in the country’s official media. 96 . and the United States’ own function as a counterweight will become more appreciated. • As big emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere grow. views of the United States are fairly favorable and stable. but less so in the Andean region. especially on multilateral tasks such as interdicting illegal drug supplies and combating organized crime and gangs. globalization will less often be equated with Americanization. however. On balance. and nascent Asian integration. and foremost. First. The United States will continue to be looked to as a reliable security partner in Northeast Asia. Potentially unfavorable would be perceived slowness in tackling pressing transnational problems such as global climate change. and direct satellite media on how individuals around the world receive their images of the United States. A currently indeterminate factor will be the effect of increasingly pervasive mobile telephony. major trends suggest that anti-Americanism is declining. Aggregating across regions. Fewer Muslims now consider suicide bombing justifiable. US “soft power” still eclipses China’s.

resource be viewed as the security partner of choice by scarcities. In the might engage in counterspace strikes. and transportation The impact on others desirous of a stronger infrastructures might be viewed by some US role could be equally great if the US adversaries as a way to circumvent US would decline or be unwilling to take action. systems. In the future. military superiority in both conventional and nuclear weapons and missile defense capabilities will be a critical element in 97 . environment leading to 2025 may raise questions about traditional US advantages in Enjoyed by the US for more than 60 years. network face of higher interest rates. and more intensive military many states confronted with the rise of competitions in the Middle East and East potential hostile nuclear powers. that other conventional military superiority. energy. potential US adversaries will loss of reserve status is unlikely. economic. nations will continue to envy and rely on to secure a safer world. particularly Israel ability to protect the “global commons” and and Japan. have to weigh the economic consequences of Cyber and sabotage attacks on critical US taking strong military action. higher taxes. The US will from risk of currency shocks. the US public would military operations on the eve of a conflict. US guarantees. advanced states costs of supporting those objectives. Although Asia. the dollar’s continue to try to level the playing field by decline may force the US into difficult pursuing asymmetrical strategies designed to tradeoffs between achieving ambitious exploit perceived US military and political foreign policy goals and the high domestic vulnerabilities. and attacks. and information warfare to disrupt US potential oil shocks. anti-access capabilities. could come to feel less secure ensure the free flow of energy could gain in 2025 than they do today as a result of greater prominence as concerns over energy emerging unfavorable demographic trends security grow. and nuclear weapons and other forms of WMD might be More Limited Military Superiority perceived by potential adversaries and US In 2025.” these privileges have perhaps so permeated US thinking as to go unnoticed. especially if there is also doubt the emergence of new nuclear-weapon states about the vitality of US security may constrain US freedom of action. The United States’ • Traditional US allies. affords the US a unique ability to run large fiscal account deficits without “Anticipated developments in the security reproach from the global economy. the US will still retain unique allies alike as increasingly constraining US military capabilities. especially its ability to freedom of action in time of crisis despite US project military power globally. conventional military power. strengths on the battlefield and attack directly In addition.• The dollar’s global reserve status confers deterring openly aggressive behavior on the privileges on the US including insulation part of any new nuclear states. for example. US financial dependence on US interests at home. The US also will continue to within their respective countries. while a steady using its military power to counter global source of outside demand for US dollars terrorism. While total However. the external powers for fiscal stability may curtail continued proliferation of long-range missile US freedom of action in unanticipated ways. which also be expected to play a significant role in enables lower interest rates. In addition.

The fragmentation number of electorates as better representing and breakdown of the global order into “planetary” interests and. but the international futures and each is suggestive of possible system is in for a bumpy ride as the military changes in the US role. the United States’ power scenarios to lay out possible alternative is greatly enhanced. and shift in government versus nonstate actor India. All actors— for the US and others to put together a plan not just the United States—will be affected by for more sustainable economic development. a other partnerships—in this case the Shanghai coalition of nonstate actors is seen by a large Cooperation Organization. such as the environment. For the first time. clash leads to internal upheavals increasing nationalist fervor. among more players than the US. unforeseen “shocks. Given anticipated. economic growth. A World Without the West. The US is implications of obvious trends like energy perceived by Beijing as favoring India to security. In this scenario. The US. but US fortunes also ride on the BRICs’ Bust-Up. in this scenario. like other governments. the next 15-20 years contain more which probably would make it more difficult contingencies than certainties. we have tried through the the BRICs’ disarray. and Leadership Will Be Key environmental damage is shared widely As we indicated at the beginning of the study. On some In dealing with unstable parts of the world in issues. but the protagonists must rely on a third party—in this case Brazil—to help While. growing strength and resiliency of the entire great power rivalries and increasing energy international system. and increased China’s detriment. Implicit in human actions are likely to be the crucial the scenario is the need for better US determinant of the outcomes. surprises are not easily reconstitute the international fabric. The results of Consequences miscalculation on the part of others—such as As we have made clear throughout this the Chinese—have significant political costs. US appears better able than most to absorb those shocks. and energy security. Great power war is conflict. Historically.Surprises and Unintended devastating crises. management of the tradeoffs among globalization. which we judge to be insecurity lead to a military confrontation more fragile and less prepared for the between India and China. let alone surprises. by their nature. class on transnational issues like climate change and other differences are likely to re-emerge. as leadership and stronger multilateral we have pointed out. In this scenario the US withdraws and its role is diminished. This may not always would usher in an era of slower economic be the case since on other more traditional growth and globalization. leaders and their ideas— institutions if the world is to avoid even more positive and negative—were among the 98 . regional and other blocs—while not on the governments must heed their advice or face scale of US-Soviet bipolar split—probably serious political costs. national. averted. Politics Is Not Always Local. must adapt to the changing October Surprise. a seismic its neighborhood like Afghanistan. and the potential for undercutting the clout of transnational increased political instability. China.” For various reasons the including conflicts among the major powers. ethnic. political movements. The lack of effective political landscape. less effective action national security issues. volume. climate change. the Central Asians must form or bolster authorities has occurred.

particularly in terms of ensuring a more positive outcome. but bad outcomes are not inevitable. International leadership and cooperation will be necessary to solve the global challenges and to understand the complexities surrounding them. leaders are likely to be crucial to how developments turn out.biggest game-changers during the last century. today’s trends appear to be heading toward a potentially more fragmented and conflicted world over the next 15-20 years. 99 . Individually and collectively over the next 15-20 years. As we have emphasized. This study is meant as an aid in that process: by laying out some of the alternative possibilities we hope to help policymakers steer us toward positive solutions.

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