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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.

Pakistan. and Iraq: Local Trajectories and Outside Interests 72 Global Scenario III: BRICs’ Bust-Up 76 i . Food. and Ethnic Shifts 23 Demographic Portraits: Russia. Declining. Urbanization. and Diversifying—at the Same Time 19 The Pensioner Boom: Challenges of Aging Populations 21 Persistent Youth Bulges 21 Changing Places: Migration. India. 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. 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. but for How Long? 13 Chapter 2: The Demographics of Discord 18 Populations Growing. 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.

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.

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. and others.2 billion more people by 2025— outcomes during this period. or less likely. India. Rather than emulating Western models of political and economic development. 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. For those terrorists that are expand. 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. Pakistan. play greater roles than today. 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. but the populations of Nigeria. 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. more countries may be attracted to China’s alternative development model. incentives toward from West to East now under way will geopolitical stability could increase. and even criminal will increase that the traditional Western alliances networks—also will increase. the continue. but its appeal could lessen if using chemical. 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. failure. traditional energy architecture on the scale needed. All current will put pressure on energy. The unprecedented shift in relative As some countries become more invested in their wealth and economic power roughly economic well-being. tribes. The relative power of nonstate actors— Power will be more dispersed with the newer businesses. However. biological. will weaken. these countries will several youth-bulge states are projected remain ripe for continued instability and state to remain on rapid growth trajectories. transfer is strengthening states like Russia that want to challenge the Western order. religious players bringing new rules of the game while risks organizations. China and India—will lethal capabilities. the Middle East and the Caucasus. Continued economic growth—coupled The pace of technological innovation will be key to with 1. between domestic versus foreign policy priorities. reach. although other greater Middle East and the spread of outside powers—Russia. and Yemen. and technologies are inadequate for replacing water resources. and through the northern parts of South Asia. will decrease. food. 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. iv .composed of nation-states will no longer exist. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by Opportunities for mass-casualty terrorist attacks 2025.

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

population. defense spending. and military rivalries. the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history. 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. a globalizing economy. 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. Second. and worries about climate change will limit and diminish what will still be an historically unprecedented age of prosperity. and the growing influence of nonstate actors. and technological innovation and acquisition. the next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks. Historically. Aging populations in the developed world. At the same time. investments. but so too are the scope and breadth of transnational issues important for continued global prosperity. by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading 2 National power scores. and directional flow. vi . speed. and water constraints. The players are changing. Russia. lower costs combined with government policies have shifted the locus of manufacturing and some service industries to Asia. but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races. an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East. as illustrated by a series of vignettes we use to map out divergent futures. increases in oil and commodity prices have generated windfall profits for the Gulf states and Russia. the relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses. and criminal networks—is increasing.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. Concurrent with the shift in power among nation-states. growing energy. Economic Growth Fueling Rise of Emerging Players In terms of size. This shift derives from two sources. By 2025. However. 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. This is a story with no clear outcome. territorial expansion. tribes. food. the international system will be a global multipolar one with gaps in national power2 continuing to narrow between developed and developing countries. If current trends persist. Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade. First. as occurred in 1914-1918 when an earlier phase of globalization came to a halt. India. and China (the BRICs) indicate they will collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050. Growth projections for Brazil. and technology. 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. computed by the International Futures computer model. China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country. religious organizations. the extent to which other actors—both state and nonstate—will be willing or able to shoulder increased burdens is unclear.

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

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

and Proliferation Terrorism. and consider pursuing their own nuclear ambitions. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025. proliferation. Nigeria. the diffusion of technologies and scientific knowledge will place some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within their reach. ix . and conflict will remain key concerns even as resource issues move up on the international agenda.Despite what are seen as long odds now. but its appeal could diminish if economic growth continues and youth unemployment is mitigated in the Middle East. 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. In the absence of employment opportunities and legal means for political expression. acquire additional weapons. the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower. stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices. Economic opportunities for youth and greater political pluralism probably would dissuade some from joining terrorists’ ranks. but others—motivated by a variety of factors. command and control processes. In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as Pakistan. 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. Conflict. With many of these technologies. Terrorist groups in 2025 will likely be a combination of descendants of long- established groups—that inherit organizational structures. and possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. 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. For those terrorist groups that are active in 2025. a nuclear device. 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. Prospects for Terrorism. growing radicalism. enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests—e.g. and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend of Islam is likely to gain traction. other countries’ worries about a nuclear-armed Iran could lead states in the region to develop new security arrangements with external powers. recharging plug-in hybrid autos.. The force of ideology is likely to be strongest in the Muslim world—particularly the Arab core. or less likely. One of our greatest concerns continues to be that terrorist or other malevolent groups might acquire and employ biological agents. to create mass casualties. 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 training procedures necessary to conduct sophisticated attacks—and newly emergent collections of the angry and disenfranchised that become self-radicalized. Although Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is not inevitable. and selling energy back to the grid. we cannot rule out the possibility of an energy transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an energy infrastructure overhaul. Also. conditions will be ripe for disaffection. such as a desire for revenge or to become “martyrs”—will continue to turn to violence to pursue their objectives. Afghanistan.

allowing others to carry the primary burden for dealing with such issues as terrorism. and political-military repercussions. this could result in interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources. In the worst case. rivalries. they will have a high degree of freedom to customize their political and economic policies rather than fully adopting Western norms. With water becoming more scarce in Asia and the Middle East. 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. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. even actions short of war will have important geopolitical consequences. The diversity in type of actor raises the likelihood of fragmentation occurring over the next two decades. 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. although remaining very low. 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 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. and counterbalancing moves but it also will create opportunities for multinational cooperation in protecting critical sea lanes. climate change. for example. but because of their growing geopolitical and economic clout. 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. However. x . The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. If nuclear weapons are used in the next 15-20 years. proliferation. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. and enhanced strength of nonstate actors and networks. to be essential for maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regimes. 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. cooperation to manage changing water resources is likely to become more difficult within and between states. The rising BRIC powers are unlikely to challenge the international system as did Germany and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries. particularly given the wide array of transnational challenges facing the international community.Types of conflict we have not seen for awhile—such as over resources—could reemerge. The buildup of regional naval capabilities could lead to increased tensions. and energy security. the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. the worsening institutional deficit. 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. potential expansion of regional blocs. They also are likely to want to preserve their policy freedom to maneuver.

and Japan over resources such as energy. xi .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. Regional clusters could compete in setting trans-regional product standards for information technology. albeit still the most powerful one. At the same time. where the US will continue to possess considerable advantages in 2025. accommodate changing memberships. institutions. India. The US will continue to be expected to play a significant role in using its military power to counter global terrorism. Greater Asian regionalism—possible by 2025—would have global implications. expanded adoption of irregular warfare tactics by both state and nonstate actors. Europe. 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 East Asia. which is leading to establishment of new networks and rediscovered communities. nanotechnology. 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. Despite the recent rise in anti-Americanism. proliferation of long-range precision weapons. US leadership will be widely perceived as critical to leveraging competing and divisive views to find solutions. and nonstate actors is the proliferation of political identities. No one political identity is likely to be dominant in most societies by 2025. 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. an absence of regional cooperation in Asia could help spur competition among China. Developments in the rest of the world. On newer security issues like climate change. including internal developments in a number of key states—particularly China and Russia—are also likely to be crucial determinants of US policy. Intrinsic to the growing complexity of the overlapping roles of states. biotechnology. 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. 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. sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs: North America. Efforts at greater inclusiveness—to reflect the emergence of the newer powers—may make it harder for international organizations to tackle transnational challenges. intellectual property rights. and augment their resources. A more constrained US role has implications for others and the likelihood of new agenda issues being tackled effectively. Even in the military realm. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—concentrating on specific issues—increasingly will be a part of the landscape. advances by others in science and technology. and other aspects of the “new economy. the US probably will continue to be seen as a much-needed regional balancer in the Middle East and Asia. Establishment of such quasi-blocs would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. and growing use of cyber warfare attacks increasingly will constrict US freedom of action.” On the other hand.

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

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

xiv .

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

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

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

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

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

6 .

including China and as Japan also appear increasingly challenged Russia. including the ability of In terms of size. Rapidly countries.” projections. Germany. Russia. several factors. the eight largest economies in 2025 will be. Second. and the domestic key sources. particularly on and commodity prices have generated issues of monetary policy and openness to windfall profits for the Gulf states and foreign investment. The US and Eurozone are receiving much of this emerging market 5 liquidity. India. the UK. and Russia. particularly in China and India. speed. and directional Growth projections for Brazil. First. relatively poor compared to Westerners. have created sovereign wealth funds by inchoate financial links among these (SWFs)5 with the aim of using their hundreds emerging markets. Russia. which suggests that the resulting are set to be the largest contributors to transfer of economic power we are witnessing worldwide economic growth. 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. China and shifts in demand and supply are deep and India. and directional flow. and losers such as most of Latin America (with France. 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. the number of 7 . but rebalancing that are painful for both rich and many individual Chinese or Indians feeling poor countries. These percent of the world’s wealth. 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. early China. speed. Since 2005. “In terms of size. India. 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. transforming capita income for decades. These two is likely to endure. flow. the exception of Brazil and a few others) and Africa are receiving neither a stake in the China. claiming $2 trillion in inbound investment from the recipient foreign exchange reserves in 2008.. Japan. structural. Although this transfer is not zero-sum. Western countries to reduce oil consumption the global shift in relative wealth and and demand. 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. This shift derives from two technology and services. sustained increases in oil policies of recipient states. but they will continue to lag in per Future report—is a meta-trend. Certain industrialized states such developing countries. in descending order: the US. for the first time since the 18th century. especially. The years around historic patterns of economic flows and 2025 will be characterized by the “dual underlying stocks. has emerged as a new initial asset transfer nor any significant financial heavyweight. creating pressures for identity” of these Asian giants: powerful. such as modern history.

By 2025-2030. foreign to the World Bank. the Russia in energy and metals. The Boston Consulting Group. and world’s poor—still 63 percent of the telecommunications equipment. In the wake of the 2008 and 2004 alone—more than the population of global financial crisis. the state’s role in the Japan and almost as many as live in Russia economy may be gaining more appeal today. Many countries— companies is emerging from the new powers. but the China in steel. home appliances. Should current trends hold. pharmaceuticals. and shift of wealth—China. or to following the Western liberal model for self- cultivate intergenerational savings. Russia.” State capitalism years. China and State Capitalism: A Post-Democratic India. in the developing world is increasing significantly. and to $12-15 trillion within a decade. India in IT portion of the world considered poor will services. However.5 trillion within five model—“state capitalism.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. globalization game. SWFs will swell to over $6. Russia. especially the landlocked and resource- helping to further solidify their position in the poor ones in Sub Saharan Africa—lack global marketplace. as many of the economic policies blur distinctions between states that created them recently have done so out of a public and private. Of the top globe’s population—stand to become 100 new global corporate leaders from the relatively poorer. the states that are beneficiaries of the massive states with SWFs has grown from three to over 40. to 1. and auto parts. and Gulf the aggregate sum under their control from around $700 billion to $3 trillion. • However. exceeding is a loose term to describe a system of total fiscal reserves and comprising some 20 percent of all global capitalization. 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. These states are not desire to perpetuate current account surpluses. according economic competitiveness. rather than to buffer development but are using a different commodity market volatility.1 percent. Some of these funds will class” is projected to swell from 440 million return to the West in the form of investments. and shrink by about 23 percent. 8 . throughout the world. from Brazil in the fundamentals for entering the agribusiness and offshore energy exploration.6 percent of the thereby promoting greater productivity and world’s population to 16. Today wealth is moving not just happening 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. 84 were headquartered in Brazil.2 billion or from 7. A stunning 135 million from West to East but is concentrating more people escaped dire poverty between 1999 under state control. With some notable exceptions like India. Most of the new entrants direct investment (FDI) by emerging powers will come from China and India. according to the World non-OECD world listed in a 2006 report from Bank.

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

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

albeit foreign trade and investment. Indeed. especially national rebalancing and course correction from these oil companies. for increased political control. are likely to attract imbalances. SOEs. potentially creating a the US to incur greater sums of debt. SOEs serve a secondary economic policy coordination—in part a function as pressure valves. 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. • Greater Trade and Investment Bumpy Ride in Correcting Current Global Protectionism. The ultimately unsustainable cycle of imbalances. Specific problems to be between the West and the rapidly emerging overcome include: economic powers. particularly China and India. 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. and such as energy. The financial engineering—based the stockpiling of reserves as less of a upon a magnitude of leverage unthinkable priority. even a decade ago—in turn has injected an unprecedented degree of risk and volatility Major financial disruptions and the needed into global markets. To the extent state-owned firms reach across One of the following developments or a state borders. has public backlash in countries against created a mutually supporting. an increase in demand from emerging Asian markets. 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. particularly slowdown in US consumption and an those dealing in key strategic resources attendant increase in the US savings rate. Some may pace with private financial engineering. perception of uneven benefits from 11 . together with the willingness of political tensions. Much into realignment. 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. the Wall Street events of 2008 mark particularly in the commodities and the opening chapters of a larger story of energy sectors. where the state has struggled to keep draw from the financial crisis. The difficulties of global like SWFs. They also can act as vehicles of a bumpy ride. such interpret the crisis as a rationale for hoarding as derivatives and credit swaps. The seeds of yet more in the way of a cushion. helping to byproduct of the growing political and relieve inflation and currency appreciation financial multipolarity—increase the chances pressures. 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. of the current financial crisis—could change History suggests that this rebalancing will this trajectory. expand beyond their own borders. Greater controls and economic and political readjustments have international regulation—a possible outcome often spread beyond the financial arena. they may become vehicles combination could cause an adjustment: a for geopolitical influence.

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

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. and encouragement of creativity. the inevitability of the traditional Western recipe—roughly liberal economics and 13 . private sector development infrastructure. and other major developing countries have unique opportunities to be the first to develop a host of emerging technologies. Rarely. shelter these financial flows will increase. but the path is not always predictable. marketing skills. Inter. legal systems to protect intellectual property rights. According to the NIC-commissioned study. raises questions about economic and monetary priorities. and the next generation of Internet and new information technologies (such as ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things—see the foldout). The United States is expected to remain dominant in three areas: protection for intellectual property rights. however. the United States currently boasts a stronger innovation system than the developing economies of China and India. flexibility of the labor pool. According to a NIC-contracted global survey of scientific experts. available scientific and human capital. Companies in China. The NIS model is evolving as information technology and the effect of increased globalization (and multinational corporations) influence national economies. nine factors can contribute to a modern NIS: fluidity of capital. but for power. Such opportunities include distributed electrical power generation. in the regional tensions could divide the West with case of China and increasingly Russia. redirection toward regional financial centers could soon spill over into other areas of Diverging Development Models. 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). 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. if ever. information communication technologies. business sophistication to mature innovation. that such a jointly grow the global economy. This is especially the case in those instances where companies are building new infrastructure and not burdened by historical patterns of development. the US and EU having increasingly divergent democracy is restricted. and cultural propensity to encourage creativity. China and India will narrow significantly but not close the gap in all remaining factors. development of clean water sources. government receptivity to business. complicating Western efforts to lead and History suggests. • 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. 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. makes the key economic decisions and. India. Early and significant adoption of these technologies could provide considerable economic advantage.

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

(Continued on next page…)


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. 17 . 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 impact of growing numbers of women in the workplace may also have an impact outside Europe. although few European universities are rated as world class. These Islamic countries also receive foreign influences from European mass media. There are some signs of progress. the US economy would likely benefit because companies tend to base their operations near available human capital. The US lead in highly skilled labor will likely narrow as large developing countries. 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. lagging only slightly behind OECD high- income countries. Adequate primary education is essential. to which these countries have sent many migrants. especially for science and technology. The modernizing countries of the Islamic Mediterranean have close ties to Europe. Although further opening of US classrooms and laboratories could mean greater competition for US students. particularly China.(Continued…) rearing future generations. begin to reap dividends on recent investments in human capital. however that training and education of Middle Eastern youth is not driven by the needs of employers. through satellite dishes and the Internet. 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. Funding as a proportion of GDP has grown to around 5 percent in most European countries. Higher Education Shaping the Global Landscape in 2025 As global business grows increasingly borderless and labor markets more seamless. education has become a key determinant of countries’ economic performance and potential. women might help show the way to greater social assimilation and reduce the likelihood of religious extremism. Migrants return to visit or resettle and bring with them new ideas and expectations. UN data and research findings by other institutions suggest. including education but also nutrition and healthcare.

18 .

services. Populations Growing. established arrangements in others. and a few the Middle East and South Asia. rural and urban. in Sub-Saharan Africa. and Japan are expected to see stresses on vital natural resources. In Australia. and Although the global population increase is Australia by more than 3 million. where the roughly 16 percent of humanity will live in under-30 group represents 60 percent of the the West. In 2025.) changing the absolute and relative size of young and old. is projected to add more than 100 million to 19 . almost all countries in Eastern than two-thirds) by 2025. 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. From 2009 to 2025. Russia. and ethnic • In aggregate. placing additional Europe. the countries of Sub-Saharan majority and minority populations within and Africa are projected to add about 350 among emerging and established powers. their populations decline by several and infrastructure. the “youngest” countries. Asia’s other giant. Diversifying—at the Same Time Australia. Declining. 40 million.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.5 million. contrast. down from the 18 percent in 2009 population or more. Canada. and New Zealand. Ukraine. Canada. Trends in birth. death. and • The populations of the US.3 billion. the already diverse array of national than it was. the United States. most of exceed 10 percent of the current the remaining fast-growing countries are in populations in Russia. down from levels that added 2. across the northern edge of the world map. and migration are (See graphic on page 22. increase by more than a third (some by more Italy. The populations of more than 50 countries will • Between now and 2025. 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. will nearly all be located and 24 percent in 1980. Two-thirds of these percent. reaching approximately 1. China. India’s population is projected to climb by around 240 million by 2025. other Eastern European countries. Canada by 4.8 billion to around 8 billion people. its current population of over 1. varied than ever. 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. million people during the same period.) • The largest increase will occur in India. substantial—with concomitant effects on resources—the rate of growth will be slower By 2025. Japan. representing about one-fifth of all growth. Ukraine. and a few other industrial states World population is projected to grow by with relatively high immigration rates will about 1. These declines could approach or countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.45 billion people. (See maps on page 20.

20 .

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

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


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

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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. 29 . a fraying social safety net. 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. population. By 2025. For Russia. poor and are expressed as a state’s relative share business regulation. decisions taken now International Futures model measuring GDP. for individual states (see graphic on page 28).6 Historically. 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. It could also be the largest importer of Western economies throughout the period to natural resources and an even greater polluter 2025 and beyond. defense spending. and technology. Demography is not always destiny. and technology trajectories. by 2025 hurdles.” of Europe and Japan. the greater diversity as China and India. portends less cohesiveness and effectiveness Indonesia. Individuals in these than it is now. according to an demographic challenges. their Road. and Turkey. The relative fuel will be central to its long-term prospects. political and economic clout of many Europe and Japan also will be confronting countries will shift by 2025. Scores are pressures arising from growing income calculated by the International Futures computer model disparities. are likely to determine their long-term defense spending. albeit transitions away from dependence on fossil still the most powerful one. 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. any one power having the right to be a hegemon. remaining in the top tier well as economically dynamic and energy where it has been since its remarkable hungry. for example—could for the international system. 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. even with 6 National Power scores are the product of an index additional reforms to address mounting social combining the weighted factors of GDP. 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. dispute the notion of patterns in the Muslim world. hunger for foreign (percentage) of all global power. or even recede. difficult. Because of this. 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. other countries with and growing power of more countries potentially high-performing economies—Iran. population. 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. Most emerging play increasingly important roles on the world powers already want a greater say and. along stage and especially for establishing new with many Europeans. If current trends persist.

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

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

toward achieving the vision of current leaders communities will become acute if citizens and elites: a cohesive. political system—the result of resolve a perceived democracy gap dividing institutional consolidation. an important partner for Western. influence. which is an unlikely but cutbacks in health and retirement benefits. 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.” 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. The European Union would need to 32 . Progress on economic liberalization political trends. and the emergence of new stakeholders the protracted debate about its institutional demanding a greater voice. and a leading Ukraine and Turkey. failure to convince skeptical publics of the Controlling key energy nodes and links in the benefits of deeper economic. a rising middle Brussels from European voters and move past class. and less able to and Islamic radicalism could align Russian translate its economic clout into global and Western security policies more tightly. expenditures are likely to be cut further to stave off the need for serious restructuring of Europe: Losing Clout in 2025. 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. 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 major foreign policy crisis. notwithstanding disagreements on other issues and a persisting “values gap. Less likely. 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. continued force in opposition to US global dominance. and military tools in support of happened in the past. Defense open and progressive country by 2025. integrated. structures. and perhaps Asian. political. There are no easy fixes for nationalistic. and Middle East capitals. Shared giant distracted by internal bickering and perceptions regarding threats from terrorism competing national agendas. as economic. The challenge of Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress integrating immigrant. However. which most states have not begun to Russia could become a significantly more implement or even to contemplate. reflecting Moscow’s political stability and democratization on reemergence as a major player on the world Europe’s periphery by taking in additional stage. We believe social benefits programs. concentrate on parochial interests. European and Western interests and universal ideals. especially Muslim. new members in the Balkans. nevertheless plausible future. authoritarian petro-state or even Europe’s demographic deficits except likely a full dictatorship.democratic. 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 more proactive and influential foreign The EU will be in a position to bolster policy seems likely.

Crime could be the overcoming their reluctance to naturalize gravest threat inside Europe as Eurasian foreigners. Increasing doubts restructured to address its demographic about Turkey’s chances are likely to slow its decline. The spill over to infect Western business interests. We anticipate continued Varying levels of dependence. and achieve consensus on Brussels’ role are information technologies. with a corresponding increase in approach that would reduce Russia’s payments for food imports. The shrinking of hampering nascent efforts to develop common Japan’s agricultural sector will continue. value-added production. an aging industrial base. 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. domestic and foreign policies by 2025 yet maintain its status as an upper middle rank The question of Turkey’s EU membership power. Foreign Minister” and develops greater especially if Russian firms are unable to fulfill institutional capacity for crisis management. 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. however. and a more implementation of political and human rights volatile political situation. perspectives on Russia’s democratic maturity with increased emphasis on high technology and economic intentions. 33 . leading to Russia for energy in 2025. broaden their scope. this dependence will foster constant population. national interests of the bigger powers will continue to complicate EU foreign and Japan: Caught Between the US and China. Domestically.Europe’s strategic perspective is likely to attentiveness to Moscow’s interests by key remain narrower than Washington’s. EU polices on energy diversification and perhaps down to just 2 percent of the labor security. The working-age leverage. consumer goods. 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. Japan’s political. will be a test of Europe’s outward focus social. Europe create a “European President” and “European could pay a price for its heavy dependence. including Germany and Italy. and economic systems will likely be between now and 2025. The Muslim minorities—about the incompatibility Japanese. declining in absolute numbers. One or more governments in Eastern or Central Europe The shrinking work force—and Japan’s could fall prey to their domination. In the absence of a collective force. differing restructuring of Japan’s export industries. 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. and failure to products. will have difficulty of the West and Islam. reinforcing arguments in the new immigration policies like a long-term Muslim world—including among Europe’s visa option for visiting workers. even if countries. Japan’s decreasing reforms. who the EU succeeds in making reforms that see Russia as a reliable supplier. security policy and European support for Japan will face a major reorientation of its NATO could erode. Any outright rejection risks wider population may force authorities to consider repercussions.

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

the continent as a major player in world even then. The Progress on social issues. petroleum would only complement affairs. 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. 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. “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. Its progress in consolidating existing sources of national wealth. appear to be unlikely by neighborhoods. Without advances in the rule of law. However. internationally. major oil exporter when these fields are fully as first among equals in South American fora. its policies with those of the other actors diversified economy and put Brazil on a more in the region. it will attractive to foreign investment. Iran—states that are predominantly Islamic. has a strong crime and poverty. By 2025 Brazil probably reserves—could make Brazil after 2020 a will be exercising greater regional leadership. up-and- Dramatic departures from the current coming developing states could account for economic consensus in Brazil. either a radical an increasing proportion of the world’s turn toward a free-market and free trade. Optimistic scenarios. such as reducing current President. Lula da Silva. The oil discoveries in the Santos Basin—potentially Brazil: Solid Foundation for an Enhanced holding tens of billions of barrels of Leadership Role. the next decade or two. Others also will oriented economic model or a heavy-handed play a dynamic role in their own statist orientation. 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. Indonesia. 2025. economic growth by 2025. setting a positive precedent even rapid economic growth will be undercut for his successors. will likely play a decisive socialist orientation and has pursued a role in determining Brazil’s future leadership moderate policy course domestically and status. which but aside from its growing role as an energy assume a legal and regulatory framework producer and its role in trade talks. The growing consensus for landmasses of the new powers like India and responsible fiscal and monetary policy is China. Economically. democracy and diversifying its economy will serve as a positive regional model. Brazilian views about the by the instability that results from pervasive importance of playing a key role as both a crime and corruption. rapid economic growth path. project oil demonstrate limited ability to project beyond rising to a 15 percent share of GDP by 2025. A growth-friendly macro-economic policy 35 . exploited. Turkey and a post-clerically run Brazil’s recent preliminary finds of new. 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. to buttress Brazil’s status as a modernizing world power.

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

offering others an alternative to the West. the newer powers could as easily distance themselves from each other as come together. clients in strategic regions—and Central Asia is in both Russia’s and China’s Such a coalition of forces could be a backyards. Although the emerging powers are likely to be preoccupied with domestic issues and sustaining their economic development. 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. the existing international system. given their diverse interests and competition over resources. seeks reliable and dependable burden fatigue for Western countries. competitor to institutions like NATO. particularly in view of what may be growing especially. As detailed. Cooperation Organization (SCO). as outlined in this chapter. possible outcome of the rise of new states. The Shanghai areas affecting their vital interests. 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. Global Scenario I: A World Preconditions for this scenario include: Without the West • Lagging Western growth prompts the US In this fictionalized account. 37 . the new powers and Europe to begin taking protectionist supplant the West as leaders on the world measures against the faster-growing stage. we do not see these alternative coalitions as necessarily permanent fixtures of the new landscape. all of which ended in worldwide conflict. This is not inevitable nor the only emerging powers. increasingly. Indeed. they will have the capacity to be global players.

38 .

39 .

40 .

Kuwait. forces alone will rectify the supply-and- demand imbalance. and demography. in most cases. the from the convergence and interaction of many significant growth in demand from emerging stresses simultaneously. 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. the UK. 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. Syria. Only six countries—Saudi Arabia. and unconventionals such period. years are likely to determine whether the Iran. harming Many—particularly in Asia—will be joining agriculture in many parts of the globe. particularly for Tunisia—are already in decline.. combined with constraints on new unprecedented syndrome of problems could production—such as the control exerted now overload decisionmakers. 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. Colombia. Egypt. Brunei. The greatest danger may arise resource scarcities loomed large. India. On the other hand. 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. economic development. and resources. the middle class and will be seeking to Energy and climate dynamics also combine to emulate Western lifestyles. Others’ countries like China whose industries have production levels—Mexico. which involve amplify a number of other ills such as health greater per capita consumption of all these problems. both fuel types and sources. Peru. agricultural losses to pests. and globe’s temperature ultimately rises more 41 . whose liquid hydrocarbon production (i. Iraq (potentially). the UAE. Unlike earlier periods when storm damage. widely available could threaten continued Indonesia. time that it is coping with the impact of new players. forcibly cutting levels of many traditional energy producers— back on fossil fuel use before substitutes are Yemen. Continued escalation of energy as tar sands) will not be able to grow demand will hasten the impacts of climate commensurate with demand. Norway. The production change. Argentina. Access to relatively secure and clean Food and water also are intertwined with energy sources and management of chronic climate change. crude oil. 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. Such a complex and markets. Non-OPEC exacerbated by climate change. not yet achieved high levels of energy Malaysia. An a limited solution and could exacerbate both increasing percentage of the world’s the energy and food situations. Oman. aggravating water scarcities. 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. physical effects will worsen throughout this natural gas liquids. energy. scale agriculture and application of Adding well over a billion people to the petrochemical fertilizers. China. Qatar—have efficiency. 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. Technological advances and flattened. Climatically.e.

Nevertheless. With the formation and establishment of OPEC in the 1960s and nuclear reactors have lower costs of power 1970s. and Qatar—hold over 57 percent The major producers increasingly will be of the world’s natural gas reserves. and worries about climate oil and gas resources by national oil change are likely to color what will continue companies. and limit investment in order to prolong the close to markets. China is overtaking grow by about 60 percent.7 Even though the use of natural gas is likely to Driven by shareholders. By 2025. necessarily co-located with oil. invest. coal may be price signals to explore. The prized fuel in the shorter and Beijing is likely to be under increasing term likely will be natural gas. Saudi Arabia alone will account for expected to produce an appreciable almost half of all Gulf production. the Western oil companies’ influence and clout declined. Caspian area combined. 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. representing 67 percent of known global reserves. international pressure to use clean consumption of natural gas is expected to technologies to burn it. Third-generation production. “Aging populations in the developed world. ground provides resources for future China. China another energy transition: the move to will still be very dependent on coal in 2025 cleaner fuels. and promote the fastest growing energy source despite technologies necessary to increase production. located in the Middle East. 42 . refining. concentration has been increased control of food. OPEC countries—Russia and Iran—emerge as production in the Persian Gulf countries is energy kingpins. economic options. and water. an amount proportion—18 percent—of total world greater than that expected from Africa and the production by 2025. prosperity.” Rising prices for oil and By contrast. America (the US. abundant. Iran. and distribution. Russia. they responded to grow steadily in absolute terms. Three countries— percent of total world oil production in 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. being the “dirtiest. Three of the largest and production horizon. North projected to grow by 43 percent during 2003. national oil companies have natural gas would put a new premium on strong economic and political incentives to energy sources that are cheap. and India—and Russia possess the generations in oil states that have limited their four largest recoverable coal reserves. 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. two some two-thirds of world reserves. they are The use of nuclear fuel for electrical power generation is expected to expand. and Mexico) is 2025. When the Club of Rome made its to be an historically unprecedented age of famous forecast of looming energy scarcities. Keeping oil in the fastest-growing energy consumers—the US. A partial consequence of this growing growing resource constraints in energy.” the “Seven Sisters” still had a strong influence on global oil markets and production. which contains Considering oil and natural gas together.Russia—are projected to account for 39 highly concentrated. Canada.

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

but they remain in their infancy and are at least a decade away from commercial production. we cannot rule out the possibility of a transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an infrastructure overhaul. Long-lasting hydrogen fuel cells have potential.” A recent study found that in the energy sector. stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices. major technologies historically have had an “adoption lag. For energy in particular. refining. a fuel superior to oil in many respects. 44 . recharging plug-in hybrid autos. is likely to be at least twice as costly as gasoline. A major reason for this lag is the need for new infrastructure to handle major innovation. Other ways of converting nonfood biomass resources to fuels and chemical products should be more promising. Despite what are seen as long odds now. Technologies to use natural gas have been widely available since at least the 1970s. Adoption of natural gas. the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower.” An Argonne National Laboratory study found that hydrogen. The present generation of biofuels is too expensive to grow. would further boost food prices. 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. Also. Even with the favorable policy and funding environment that would be needed for biofuels. 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. and retail activities. clean coal. Because a new form of energy is highly unlikely to use existing infrastructure without modifications. from well to tank. illustrates the difficulty of a transition to something new. transportation. and their manufacture consumes essentially the same amount of energy they produce. 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. we expect any new form of energy to demand similarly massive investment.g. Similarly. enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests—e. Enormous infrastructure investment might be required to support a “hydrogen economy. and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025 (see foldout). especially cellulosic biomass. it takes an average of 25 years for a new production technology to become widely adopted. Timing is Everything All current technologies are inadequate for replacing traditional energy architectures on the scale needed. 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. such as those based on high-growth algae or agricultural waste products. non-ethanol biofuels derived from genetically modified feed stocks may be able to leverage the considerable investment in liquid petroleum transport and distribution infrastructure. 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. massive and sustained infrastructure investments made for almost 150 years encompass production.. marketing. or hydrogen. With many of these technologies. and selling energy back to the grid.

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

Absent support from Venezuela. but implementation will lag because of the necessary infrastructure costs and need for longer replacement time. Across the Arab world. the drop in oil and gas prices will undermine any populist economic policies. potentially putting pressure on the clerical governing elite to loosen its grip. Cuba might be forced to begin China-like market reforms. • Saudi Arabia will absorb the biggest shock. Russia will potentially be the biggest loser. 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. particularly if its economy remains heavily tied to energy exports. Bolivia. are likely to manage the transition well. • In Iran. However. SWFs are being deployed to develop non-oil sectors of the economy in a race against oil as a diminishing asset. bolstered by their robust sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). For Iraq. establishing or strengthening ties with Western partners—including with the US—will increase. and other petro-populist regimes could unravel completely. 46 . Incentives to open up to the West in a bid for greater foreign investment. the geopolitical implications of a shift away from oil and natural gas will be immense. emphasis on investing in non-oil sectors of its economy will increase. Venezuela. whether the breakthrough occurs within the 2025 time frame or later. The smaller Gulf states. Outside the Middle East. if that has not occurred beforehand because of already growing discontent and decreasing production. and could be reduced to middle power status. Iranian leaders might be more willing to trade their nuclear policies for aid and trade. 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. which have been making massive investments designed to transform themselves into global tourist and transport hubs. as its leaders will be forced to tighten up on the costs of the royal establishment. 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. Pressure for economic reform will increase.

FOLDOUT 427436 47 .




Beijing’s ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen. and. Food. Tehran may also result of growing world population. The 51 . Eritrea. 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. unexpected changes in energy markets. agriculture currently consumes over 70 Russia-controlled outlet. Demand for water for • Russia. could be badly dented. • 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. home to about 1. Owing to continuing population growth. 36 countries. as the “Experts currently consider 21 countries. particularly since are projected to fall into this category by history suggests the US and other Western 2025. Pakistan.4 billion people. has a good percent of the world’s water. Kingdom is the only supplier capable of with a combined population of about 600 responding in a big way to China’s million. and Central Asia. Pipelines subsidizing populist economic programs and to India transiting restive regions may sustaining funding for intelligence and connect New Delhi to local instabilities. Among the new entrants will be states adapt more quickly and effectively to Burundi. home to about 1. absent a non. and Climate Change notion that state-dominated economies.” to other producers. market. Iran will see this as an opportunity to solidify China’s support for The World Bank estimates that demand for Tehran. needing Caspian area natural gas agricultural purposes and hydroelectric power in order to satisfy European and other generation also will expand. construction of hydroelectric power stations on major rivers may improve flood control. access to oil and gas. rising be able to forge even closer ties with affluence. which probably would strain food will rise by 50 percent by 2030.4 • Beijing will want to offset its growing billion people. The chance of succeeding.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. and Syria. are projected to fall into this reliance on Riyadh by strengthening ties category by 2025. Ethiopia. Malawi. security operations and other programs designed to extend its regional power. is likely to be forceful in irrigation is far greater than for household keeping Central Asian countries within consumption. Use of water for contracts. to be either cropland or freshwater petroleum thirst. The Water. Moscow’s sphere. Colombia. 36 notions of free markets and liberal democracy countries. preferences by a larger middle class. as a Beijing’s ties to Riyadh. are a credible alternative to Western Owing to continuing population growth. 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. scarce. Iran. In developing countries.

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

Circumpolar states have other major ports on other bodies of water. 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 Southeast Asia into Australia. diminishing capabilities to accommodate them. wealthy. and Canada and Denmark. Nonetheless. Elsewhere south of the Sahara. these potential riches and advantages are already perceptible to the United States. the UK privileged countries is likely to increase. The National Snow and Ice Data Center suggests a seasonally ice-free Arctic by 2060. but in the future many and investment. and Norway—as evidenced by the emergence of competing territorial claims. Japan. Russia. more current research suggests the date could be as soon as 2013. Latin America into displaced “climate migrants”—representing a the US. Resource and shipping benefits are unlikely to materialize by 2025. or dangerous nonstate actors. and Korea will benefit from increased energy resources provided by any Arctic opening and shorter shipping distances. the Arctic is unlikely to spawn major armed conflict. Canada. states of concern. Additionally. so the Arctic does not pose any lifeblood blockade dangers. Transiting the Northern Sea Route above Russia between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific would trim about 5. Although this is considered high civil conflict and the political and economic by many experts. Denmark. Although serious near-term tension could result in small-scale confrontations over contested claims.000 nautical miles and a week’s sailing time off a trip compared with use of the Suez Canal. Thus the number of migrants seeking In addition to the currently projected to move from disadvantaged into relatively scarcities of freshwater and cropland. Strategic Implications of an Opening Arctic Estimates vary as to when the Arctic is likely to be ice free during the summer. Voyaging between Europe and Asia through Canada’s Northwest Passage would trim some 4.000 nautical miles off of a trip using the Panama Canal. 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. ten-fold increase over today’s entire documented refugee and internally displaced 53 . Most attempts to upgrade irrigation and rural displaced persons traditionally relocate within transportation networks and to extend credit their home countries. 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. Asian states. and by their shared need for assistance from high-tech companies to exploit the Arctic’s resources. 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. The greatest strategic consequence over the next couple of decades may be that relatively large. allowing population growth are likely to find their home countries have to outpace gains in agricultural productivity. resource-deficient trading states such as China. populations. these states share a common interest in regulating access to the Arctic by hostile powers. such as between Russia and Norway.

magnitude of extreme climate shifts but territory.Over the next 20 years. the economic probably would disadvantage the rapidly context. 54 . 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. 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. Drastic depend on a number of factors. or the importance of the interests to emerging economies that are still low on the be defended or won. Willingness to believe—based on historic precedents—that it engage in greater multilateral cooperation will will not occur gradually or smoothly. efficiency curve. Perceptions of a rapidly changing be felt. such as the cutbacks in allowable CO2 emissions behavior of other countries. Scientists currently have limited environment may cause nations to take capability to predict the likelihood or unilateral actions to secure resources. and other interests.

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

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

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high levels of outside and intra. 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. regional states to intensify these efforts and consider actively pursuing nuclear weapons. 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. parts of this arc are experiencing exchange for greater political influence and increasing economic activity. such as imperatives of fostering economic growth and East Asia. moderate to high levels of GDP growth. we assessed that those states most competition for influence within the region. the Caucasus. and development of new trade nuclear weapons rather than to develop actual corridors. many states regulatory performance. improved Not Inevitable… Historically. 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. A Shrinking Arc of Instability by 2025? This will add a new and more dangerous In our previous study. and parts of Southeast Asia. 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. Large parts of the For regimes. and South and preserve their access to energy supplies and to Central Asia. slow but perceptible economic reform. 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. competition among outside powers anxious to the Balkans. In the medium-to-longterm. the odds are that remain ripe for 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. pockets of support will remain. States may prefer to regional investment and related technology retain the technological ability to produce transfers. not gone the distance. Although predominate. 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. including energy agreements. including greater 15-20 years to be greater than we anticipated diversification in energy-rich states. Awareness of increasing 61 . miscalculate the tradeoffs or take gambles By 2025. ensuring a continuing threat. but other portions of the region some regimes may succeed. weapons. but not greater integration into the global economy so high that they depress growth in other regions. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are likely that don’t pay off. 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. nuclear weaponry. in Mapping the Global Future. civil war. sell sophisticated conventional weaponry in Today. and interstate conflict. into the Middle East. where economic goals maintaining authoritarian rule. Mapping the Global dimension to what is likely to be increasing Future. particularly in the greater Middle East. Over the next 15-20 years. deepening financial have had nuclear weapons ambitions but have markets.

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

such as Asia or the Arctic. enough countries might decide to relationships with energy-producing states. 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. Although Russia and China currently are working cooperatively New Conflicts Over Resources? to reduce the leverage of outside powers. 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. reliability. 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. 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. also will raise new demands. If the number of fields. materials. and escalate if in the future Russia seeks to affordability of energy supplies. 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.The continued spread of nuclear capabilities geopolitical implications as states undertake in the greater Middle East. The rising energy demands of growing especially the United States. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. 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. 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. access to energy. leading to a further blending of energy-state however. ultra-deep oil fields. even actions short of war will have important 63 . creating the potential for conflict. The potential for theft or Energy-deficient states may employ transfers diversion of nuclear weapons. contested ownership. in obtaining its access to energy supplies especially if accompanied by increased in parts of the former Soviet Union. competition populations and economies may bring into between the two in Central Asia could question the availability. Such fields. may be located in areas of relationships and geopolitical concerns. 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. inducements to establish strategic Finally. and evolving competitions are nuclear-capable states increases. or to terrorists. 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. However.

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

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. Although Iran’s aims for regional leadership—including its nuclear ambitions—are unlikely to abate. Yemen. most importantly. Even as some states may liberalize. its regional orientation will have difficulty discounting external and internal pressures for reform. Iran’s trajectory is also likely to have lasting regional impacts—for good or ill. with considerable political and social turmoil generated in the process. Resolution of the Syrian and Palestinian conflicts with Israel. 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. Pakistan. But over time. lower fertility promotes religious and political stability and. others may fail: youth bulges. nationalist identity. Iran’s fractious regime. a greater emphasis on economics and. for example. would broaden the ideological and political discourse within secular and Islamic circles. As a result. Afghanistan. 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.(Continued…) A Two-Tier Muslim World? Although the Western paradigm separating religious and secular authority may still be less compelling to Muslim publics. 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. in the short term they might benefit from unease over the changing role of women and alternative family models. 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. This does not mean that extremist strands will disappear. 65 . in particular. if secularization in southern Europe is a guide. and ambivalence toward the United States will make any transition from regional dissenter toward stakeholder perilous and uneven. and others in the high-risk category. deeply rooted conflicts. 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. modernized versions of Islam could take root by 2025. 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. An Iranian perception of greater shared interests with the West in Iraq and Afghanistan. undermine a traditional pretext for maintaining large militaries and curtailing freedoms. and limited economic prospects are likely to keep Palestine.

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. Energy Security the region. and Asia. rivalries. Russia is seeking to position communication in 2025. The protection of energy establishment of alliances that exclude pipelines. 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. 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. 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. Public lanes. • 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. Southeast Asia. such as China’s and India’s development of “blue-water” naval Other possible examples of the militarization of capabilities. control over energy flows to promote Russian interests and influence. but it could lead to increasingly number of pipeline projects. and shipping from key players would. Despite the growing interstate war. 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. This would enable Moscow to use its counterbalancing. A naval arms and exporting states. in 2025 Asian heated interstate recriminations and possibly countries will remain dependent on sea to low-level armed conflicts. and mission for military forces. Middle East. India. straining regional relations. Israel- 66 . naval buildups and modernization efforts in Pakistan. are providing the rationale for a series of which feeds the major rivers of China. attempts to cut off China’s seaborne energy supplies by threatening mutual disruption of sea trade. With water transfers of energy from suppliers in the becoming more scarce in several regions. • A naval arms race in Asia may emerge in Domestic instability. to protect critical economic energy security include: assets and secure access to energy resources. facilities. Maritime security concerns Such regions include the Himalayan region. and Bangladesh. however. insurgencies. and response to China’s further development conflict within strategic energy-producing of naval power projection. Concerns about assuring future access to energy supplies also are fostering increased Climate change is unlikely to trigger naval competition. 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. undermine terrorist attacks will be a key security concern efforts for international cooperation.

prompting calls for global nuclear disarmament and energizing counterproliferation and counterterrorism measures. the level of destructiveness it created. likely depend on the context in which such weapons were used. 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. new political-military developments could further erode the nuclear “taboo. and political-military repercussions. How the world would respond over the long-term to another use of nuclear weapons would. although remaining very low. A successful nuclear weapon test or use of a nuclear weapon by a state to deter or halt a conventional attack might. 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. If nuclear weapons are used destructively in the next 15-20 years. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. such as India and Pakistan. 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. Another Use of Nuclear Weapons? The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. In addition to these longstanding concerns. economic. and the future utility of nuclear weapons would drive global reactions regarding counterproliferation and nuclear disarmament. on the other hand. 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. Prevailing perceptions regarding whether the use of a nuclear weapon was justified. • A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon or an escalating conflict between two nuclear powers. would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons. the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. Furthermore. particularly in conjunction with the proliferation of long-range missile systems. 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.” 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. In such cases. (Continued on next page…) 67 . 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. however. future acquisition of nuclear weapons by states with weak command and control procedures and safeguards increases the probability of accidental or unauthorized nuclear use. 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.

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. and coordinate attacks. 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. the impacts of reach. conditions will be ripe for manage their finances. “For those terrorist groups active in 2025. 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. 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. and other social issues. for example.(Continued…) In either case. climate change impacts. however. however. poverty. possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. disenfranchised that become self- radicalized.” climate change. poor growth continues and youth unemployment is governance. Palestinian Territories. but its appeal could diminish if economic generated by resource scarcities. ethnic rivalries. Future joining terrorists’ ranks. opportunities for youth and greater political conditions will remain conducive to the pluralism probably would dissuade some from spread of radicalism and insurgencies. Economic command and control processes. could use networks and • In the absence of employment global communications to recruit and train opportunities and legal means for political new members. expression. such as a communications and mass media. or environmental mitigated in the Middle East. 68 . and development. As long as turmoil and societal disruptions. proliferate radical ideologies. but others— radicalism could be fueled by global motivated by a variety of factors. In Europe. creating new cohorts of the angry. and opinion. growing radicalism. and disenfranchised. the spread of new technologies. downtrodden. Other groups. Terrorism: Good and Bad News Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025. increase in the Middle East. Economic degradation. 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. manipulate public disaffection. 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. national boundaries.

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

support for terrorist security or military forces and to create mass networks in the Muslim world appears to be casualties. al-Qa’ida is using a stratagem that rarely is successful.) 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. surveillance capabilities. 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. and inability to become a mass movement. anti-tank guided missiles and other man- Reducing those numbers is key to lessening portable weapon systems. decreased organizational élan. Radiological and chemical weapons around their territories to inhibit access. The proliferation of advanced declining. In relying almost exclusively on terrorism as a means to achieve its strategic objectives. reach. and the employment For those terrorist groups active in 2025. Recent academic research indicates that only 6 percent of terrorist groups active in the last 40 years have achieved their proclaimed strategic objectives. given its harsh ideology. 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. The prospect that al-Qa’ida will be among the small number of groups able to transcend the generational timeline is not high. the of special operations-type forces. 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. and inability to attract new members. To succeed. rather than transforming into a political movement like Hizbollah or Hamas. 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.(Continued. The globalization of biotechnology Governments. unachievable strategic objectives. 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.. thermobaric and the appeal within societies. Because history suggests that the global Islamic terrorist movement will outlast al-Qa’ida as a group. Improved sympathize with terrorists’ objectives. may also be used by terrorists or insurgents Gated communities will continue to spring up seeking an advantage against opposing 70 ..” On a positive note. devices illustrate this danger. Analysis of other advanced explosives. terrorist groups need a tactical weapons will increase the potential large number of passive supporters who that they will be used by terrorists. expanding domestic security forces. 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.

the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. energy. By 2025 some states probably will deploy weapons designed to destroy or disable information. resource. maps. Containing the expansion and escalation of conflicts will become more problematic in the future. The growing importance of information technologies as an enabler of modern warfighting capabilities will make information itself a primary target in future conflicts. and military and information infrastructures. The Evolution of Irregular Warfare Capabilities. and information and communication technologies will significantly increase the threat posed by irregular forms of warfare over the next 15-20 years. 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. improving weapon capabilities. 71 . 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. radiofrequency. The Expansion and Escalation of Conflicts Beyond the Traditional Battlefield. The advancement of weapons capabilities such as long-range precision weapons. Advances in information technologies are enabling new warfighting synergies through combinations of advanced precision weaponry. economic. In the future. and the expanding use of artificial intelligence and robotics. 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. 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. The spread of light weaponry. the Internet. improving target and surveillance capabilities. Future proliferation of long-range precision weapons will permit a growing number of states to threaten rapid destruction of an adversary’s critical economic. Warfare in 2025 is likely to be characterized by the following strategic trends: The Increasing Importance of Information. enhanced command and control. sensor. such as cyber. and laser weapons. psychological. and changes in the security environment. combined with hand-held navigation devices and high-capacity information systems that can contain large amounts of text. and digital images and videos will greatly enable future irregular forces to organize. coordinate. political. and commercial encryption. The Prominence of the Non-military Aspects of Warfare. Non-military means of warfare. and communication networks and systems including anti-satellite. Modern communication technologies such as satellite and cellular phones. including precision tactical and man-portable weapon systems. and information-based forms of conflict will become more prevalent in conflicts over the next two decades.

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

In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as in Afghanistan. The direction of Islam’s internal ideological struggle will be determined primarily by local conditions. security systems. but Tehran will identities. especially in the Middle East. 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. 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. political experimentation. and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend is likely to gain traction. Pakistan. including its most radical forms. continue to fear US designs for Iran’s own regime and sovereignty. 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. will encourage the spread of Salafism (reverence for the earliest period in Islam). social organizations. and economic subsistence networks will • All players will look to the United States animate robust local and sectarian to guarantee stability. Nonetheless. 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). Alternatively. 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. scientific learning. The trend toward bypassing tradition. aided by the spread of media technologies. Nigeria. In countries where economic and demographic trends are favorable and publics and governments opt for the benefits of globalization. 73 . and respect for religious pluralism. there will be strong incentives to revive and broaden Islamic teachings that promote a culture of innovation. 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.” but the persistence of competing economic growth and political development.

and other Shi’a notables are likely to continue to color politics in this community. and other loyalties of officers and troops with a notables could remain a destabilizing factor. any significant increase in the and national purpose. flush with their newfound primacy. 74 . tribal leaders. number of Iraqi Sunnis emigrating to Jordan and Syria could jeopardize the stability of those countries. Tribes of mixed Sunni-Shi’a ethnicity could serve as an integrating intercommunal glue. have historically been divided. agitation by replacing the current tribal and sectarian Sunni jihadists. Shi’a. and personal rivalries among the Sadrs. but only if economic development leads to a more transparent and trustworthy central administration and national system for material production and distribution. Hakims. Absent this satisfaction. This would require control.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. much more robust sense of corporate élan In addition.

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

Also illustrated by this scenario is the competition by rising powers for resources. With increasing resource resource shortages. Both China and India—though rich in coal—have limited and dwindling oil and gas reserves and must rely on foreign sources. 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. Global Scenario III: BRICs’ Preconditions underpinning this scenario Bust-Up include: In this fictionalized scenario. misperceptions—along with miscom- munications—could play as important a role as any actual threats. disputes over acute in the Asian economies. concentration in unstable regions such as the Middle East. we need to keep in mind the scope for the emerging powers to clash with one another. 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. 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. In thinking about the increased potential for conflict in this multipolar world. As outlined in this scenario. resources appear to us to be a growing potential source of conflict. 76 . potential for any dispute to escalate into conflict. which are particularly constraints likely out to 2025.

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the discussion of the role of the US. economic. but it also has the potential to solving transnational problems—with new further fragment the existing system and to institutions. we are unlikely to see an be limited in their ability to effect change in overarching. and political issues. 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. etc. international organizations. and even criminal including climate change. 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. Although states will not institutional overhaul. social movements. 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. Current trends suggest multilateral institutions or governments. migration. regulation of networks—will grow as these groups globalized financial markets. and obtain necessary resources. (See below for disappear from the international scene. comprehensive. with shifting coalitions of the emergence of newer powers—may make member nations. 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. NGOs. or more likely. will further erode prospects for the United ingly ineffective institutions. many informal impede international cooperation. challenges. unlikely to be effectively resolved by the actions of individual nation-states. that global governance in 2025 will be a patchwork of overlapping.) relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses. and companies. unitary approach the absence of concerted efforts by to global governance. influence decisions on a widening range failing states. gaps left by aging post-World War II Leaders will pursue alternative approaches to institutions. nation-states will no longer be system. and enhanced strength of action—particularly within the current or nonstate actors and networks. advanced communications members for effective multilateral technologies. The groupings. increas. accommodate changing institutions to address new transnational memberships. an expanded Security Council—or for sustaining broader reforms of the UN • By 2025. 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. tribes. philanthropic The trend toward greater diffusion of foundations. with the overwhelming power and But the transformation will be incomplete legitimacy to act as the agent of and uneven.—are of social. growth in Nations to strengthen consensus among its regional blocs. it harder for international organizations to 81 . Most of the pressing transnational problems— religious organizations. often ad hoc and Quests for greater inclusiveness—to reflect fragmented efforts. crime networks.

and their dependence on revolve around trade. While sharing a more state-centric view. There is unlikely to be different “means. Effective action also may be impeded by the climate change. unresolved border issues. India. the but we cannot rule out such possibilities. investment. However. that there innovation. strategic rivalries are likely to diverse enough. For some. smaller countries in the neighborhood the fact that agreement on new permanent 82 . 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. their membership does not necessarily fuel are developed quickly injects a have to involve heavy responsibilities or potentially dangerous risk of instability. Respect for may seek outsiders’ protection or intervention the dissenting views of member nations will in a balancing effort. and others goals of economic development. territorial cohesive international system able to tackle expansion. The fact that a without assuming leadership burdens number of countries may experience a sharp commensurate with their status.” 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. energy.tackle transnational challenges. characterized late 19th century multipolarity will be less significant in the emerging one. How Many International Systems? Large and enlarging organizations—from the The emerging powers. As burden-sharing. and acquisition. IMF. where large deposits given—or will want—additional power and of energy resources increase the potential for responsibilities is a separate question. continue to shape the agenda of organizations and limit the kinds of solutions possible. 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. West’s traditional laissez faire recipe for economic development. but they espouse particularly difficult. border issues is particularly noteworthy or. in but whether the emerging powers will be the case of Central Asia. their alternative approaches—can be melded with the traditional Western ones to form a We anticipate that arms races. The existing focus back on territorial disputes or international organizations—such as the UN. 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. grows. For national interests of the emerging powers are most countries. This is likely to continued economic development. WTO. the question institutions to those of the historic Third arises as to whether the new players—and World. As we have seen. particularly China and UN General Assembly to NATO and the India. allowing them to pursue their the national power of China. from Western-driven these differing perspectives. technology globalization compelling enough. At the same fall in national power if alternatives for fossil time. and military rivalries that the increasing number of transnational issues. Given apply across the board. 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. have a shared interest in maintaining a EU—may find the challenges to be stable and open order.

and to achieve greater representation at the global table. nanotech. • As stated. could fill the vacuum left by a weakening multilaterally based international order but could also further undermine that order. Although few would argue that an Asian counterpart to the EU is a likely outcome even by 2025. 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. Europe. 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. Asia arguably has evolved more rapidly over the last decade than the European integration did in its first decade(s). This pattern is likely to intensify. and other “new economy” products. facilitate economic integration. • Aspects of Asian regionalism that are difficult to quantify include the growing habits of cooperation. if it occurs. and some 70 percent of Asian imports are from the Middle East. possibly sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs (North America. However. In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. in the worst case—absent greater regional cooperation—concern over oil supply routes could lead to a China-Japan-India naval arms race. 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. intellectual property rights. Asian regionalism would have global implications. extra-regional players such as the US will continue to be a significant part of the 2025 Asian economic equation. 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. if 1997 is taken as a starting point. In the economic realm. buoyant confidence. An Asian regional energy posture could set the terms for the rest of the world. and whether Taiwan’s relationship to the Mainland moves toward conflict or is resolved peacefully. a remarkable series of pan-Asian ventures— the most significant being ASEAN + 3—began to take root. 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. and East Asia). Whether and how Korea is reunified and the status of its nuclear program. Greater Asian integration. Developments in the security realm—where Asian integration is currently weakest and where trends toward competition and hedging persist—could dilute regionalism. will be key factors shaping regional (Continued on next page…) 83 . • Such a development would be in part an effort by Asians to insulate themselves from financial volatility outside their region. Some two-thirds of Mideast oil exports go to Asia. biotech.

climate change. finance. or powers enough responsibility for them to climate change. shoulder more global burdens. Japan. 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. However. and China. for example. and roles in global resource These networks will operate to pursue extraction. 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. finance. business to want to preserve their policy freedom to self-interest. energy. the rising powers are also likely genuine intent to solve problems. including a technology. 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. moral grounds. 20th centuries. This is the first time in modern history that China and Japan have been major regional and global actors at the same time. 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. A key question is whether they can transcend historical suspicions and compete peacefully. Current trends suggest traditional security concerns are declining in importance but may be replaced by new issues. such as India. manufacturing. their elite-based of domestic goals. and the desire of maneuver and will want others to carry the burden of dealing with global challenges such 84 . proliferation. and convergent goals and interests. 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. remote even over the next 15-20 years and energy security.(Continued…) dynamics. 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. Because governance. networks will form among states of their growing geopolitical clout. such as competition over resources. 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. members of the Security Council appears as terrorism. 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. markets. • Others. Whether greater or lesser integration occurs also depends largely on the future character of Sino- Japanese ties. 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. domestic and nonstate actors focused on specific issues.

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. 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. religion world. outcomes across national and organizational Religious structures can channel social and boundaries. some In addition to such issue groups. entrepreneurs. Indeed. outcomes in the period out to 2025. Within the Christian tradition. especially if those countries have will influence outcomes.” For some • Rich rewards in power and influence kinds of issues. especially for those who lack the means of communication and influence 85 . With the groundwork done in the two hemispheres. national and transnational contacts— oftentimes spanning businesses. and management of the “new post-industrial economy. they help leverage “transnational” opposition to that same modernizing process. the Carbon Sequestration Leadership powerful role than secular transnational Forum. the emergence Low entry costs. low overhead. Current examples of such based networks may be quintessential issue networks include the Financial Stability networks and overall may play a more Forum. These elites are been economically devastated during a global empowered by their wealth and an array of downturn. Khalede’s website initiatives. nation-states will be able to and North—Amir Khalede for Muslims adopt problem-solving measures. and the International Partnership for groupings in exerting influence and shaping the Hydrogen Economy. or A Growing Role for Religion.” but with substantial clout—to report on or oversee some aspects of governance. the networks likely will already fall to those religious provide the basis for agreement among entrepreneurs and televangelists who span nation-states. Using beneficiary of globalization. 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). and NGOs. religion also has their broad contacts and multiple national the potential to be a primary vehicle for identities. international organizations. whose activities reap high status and great wealth. including information technology international disputes and conflicts. 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. governments. the Global South informal contexts. regulatory regimes. 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 organizations and NGOs to be “Although religious groups have been a relevant to the problems facing a changing great beneficiary of globalization. (IT). gaining and Matthew Ashimolowo or Sunday legitimacy and sometimes taking credit for Adelaja for Christians. Religion- other issues. trade. Although religious groups have been a great international organizations. In some cases. political protest. Before 2025.

Islam will remain a robust identity. religious zealots. predominately and other differences within Islam will be a Christian states with substantial Muslim source of tension or worse. and governments unable to do so.g. 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. the impacts could spur like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 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. matter as much as religion and ethnicity. 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 increasing and egalitarianism. fragmentation in developing nations would be 86 . clans. significant Christian minorities (Egypt. and Muslim (Ethiopia. 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. 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. China. and other places in Africa Tanzania). enhancing social stability nationalists. and Islamic activism could produce a more Uganda) or finely balanced between Christian intense backlash of Christian activism. 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. they also help people cope with face a combination of challenges from those same forces. In 2025. DROC. the vast and nationality—is likely to be dominant in disparities between nations and regions most societies by 2025. Nigeria. Without some version of a revived Marxist and other religious safety nets. 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. The challenge of minorities (e. the degree of chaos and class-based or secular ideology. and Nigeria. Class struggles will advantaged or left behind by modernization. will remain battlegrounds in this sectarian struggle. one predominantly Muslim countries with category possibly will continue to stand out. religious conflict through large sections of Africa and Asia. Ethiopia. state and local and in much of Africa. Religious other fealty-driven communities. and Sudan).. notions of multiethnic If religious structures offer vehicles to resist integration and the value of “diversity” could globalization. including the growing international system is that no single political gaps between rich and poor. organized crime groups. Sectarian Indonesia. the urban and identity—such as the conflation of citizenship rural gulfs in India and China. Philippines.Proliferating Identities and Growing available to social elites. and perhaps and economic development.

The Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy increasingly rests on its ability to ensure greater material wealth for Chinese society. the better economic performance of many authoritarian governments could sow doubts among some about democracy as the best form of government. Resentment of elite corruption is already on the rise but may overwhelm the regime in event of a serious economic crisis. The surveys we consulted indicated that many East Asians put greater emphasis on good management. and education. 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. welfare. including increasing standards of livings. The alternative social system provided by religious organizations has been a potent factor in winning mass support for religion. The government’s standing in Russia would be similarly challenged if living standards fell dramatically. the have become more urban over the last 30 or more critical the role of religious institutions 40 years. As predominantly rural societies The weaker the state and its mechanisms. Still.Future of Democracy: Backsliding More Likely than Another Wave We remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for greater democratization. particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. • Ironically. adequate healthcare. 87 . Elsewhere even in many well-established democracies. far worse. Case studies suggest widespread corruption is especially threatening because it undermines faith in democratic institutions. economic setbacks could enhance prospects for movement toward pluralism and greater democratization in China and Russia. than democracy. 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. millions of migrants have been and the stronger the appeal of religious attracted to larger urban complexes without ideologies. This holds across faiths. • Elsewhere surveys have shown democracy having taken root. • As we have suggested elsewhere in the text. usually of a fundamentalist or the resources or infrastructures to provide theocratic nature. 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.

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. we expect these organized crime networks to expand their operations. fostering greater corruption and manipulation of foreign policies to their advantage. the energy sector provide affiliated companies with an unfair competitive • As Russian and Eurasian suppliers capture advantage in the global energy market. 88 . criminals may be criminal networks in managing the world’s in a position to control states and resources—especially global energy. if not foreign minerals. and an absence of the rule of law. a larger and larger portion of the energy markets in Europe and Asia. For many resource-rich addition to their traditional involvement in countries. longstanding practices of an institutionalized part of the political corruption. 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. 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. activities through direct ties to energy suppliers and leaders of countries where • The likelihood of penetration by criminal suppliers are located. evolved into influential businessmen and become valuable partners for corrupt • The illicit activities of organized crime in officials. influence market actions. and economic environment and where the potential for penetration by organized over time organized crime figures have crime is high. and other strategic markets—in policies.

officials in capitals. NGOs. 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. formal and informal relationships with Growing public concerns about states. Global Scenario IV: Politics Is Preconditions for this scenario include: Not Always Local • National governments’ relevance and In this fictionalized scenario. religious organizations. charge of setting the international agenda. and others sub-national and transnational entities acquire significant power and establish including social and political movements. 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. 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. The dispersion of power and authority away • Diasporas. labor unions. 89 .

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many favor new tradeoffs. fostering Demand for US Leadership Likely to deterrence in the use of WMD. 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. and opportunity costs of being the world’s leader are reassessed by Other states will continue to seek US American voters. 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. strengthening use of nuclear weapons or WMD terrorism— nonproliferation regimes. military power. in many regions. For example. military. a leveling off and other powers will have to contend. of antagonism. and technology. Capacities will Shrink the consequences of WMD use. Further. Most determinants of US policy. In and resource nationalism become the addition to its increasing economic power. with a PRC- the next 15-20 years than any other Taiwan accommodation. security umbrella to Israel and other states. and mitigating Remain Strong. 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. Contingencies—such as the to dissuade interest in WMD. Despite the rise in anti-Americanism over the past decade. preventing could convulse the entire international system acquisition of WMD and associated expertise and refocus the US role. 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. Economic and opportunity leadership on the newer “security” issues. costs in particular may cause the US public to such as climate change. and to a lesser extent. 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. others will seek US leadership on events will shape the parameters of US countering WMD proliferation by taking steps foreign policy. overriding modus operandi for others China’s military modernization program is a 93 . if not some improvement in Descent into a world in which mercantilism attitudes toward the United States. though in such an international actor.” economic. 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. rolling back or eliminating WMD in countries of concern. countries view US leadership as critical to encouraging major developing countries like Developments in the rest of the world. Owing to the relative decline would increase pressure for extension of a US of its economic. In the Middle East. the US will no longer have the same flexibility in choosing among as “Developments in the rest of the many policy options. development of a multipolar system in which the US is “first” among equals. a nuclear Iran many decades. 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. growing source of concern to its neighbors.

if certain key global issues such as trade and not confrontation among the powers in such a climate change.probably would narrow the number of US roles and to increase their involvement on partners. zero-sum world. In turn. This decline will entail real East. and reliance on India are likely to remain status quo powers foreign technological expertise and focused on their own development. a better position to help set the new rules of the road. drawing investment for development of its energy benefits from the current system and not too resources could change that trajectory.” 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. China and independent middle class. Japan. This could occur suddenly in the for Europe to play a stabilizing role similar to wake of a crisis. the international community. to keep pace with China. system than do other rising powers. The role of NGOs will grow case. increasing the risks of tensions. to assume more expansive regional 94 . 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. Asian States. where the US is likely to remain the dominant external actor. global role. 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. We expect other countries. region. Growing interest in “global reserve currency. eager for the US or others to seek radical however. In the Middle East. humanitarian needs owing to climate change. 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. difficult choices in increase its political and security role in the the conduct of American foreign policy. may tradeoffs and force new. future international security effort in the Economic collapse. especially in the security realm. A more diversified economy. including the US. 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. including the United States. or gradually with global what it accomplished with enlargement to the rebalancing. On the other hand. 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. such as Brazil. development of an During the period out to 2025. 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. could lead to a nationalistic upsurge and commensurate with the increase of increased tensions with foreign powers. especially in China’s Middle East.

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

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

the external powers for fiscal stability may curtail continued proliferation of long-range missile US freedom of action in unanticipated ways. affords the US a unique ability to run large fiscal account deficits without “Anticipated developments in the security reproach from the global economy.• 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. have to weigh the economic consequences of Cyber and sabotage attacks on critical US taking strong military action. the US public would military operations on the eve of a conflict. resource be viewed as the security partner of choice by scarcities. The United States’ • Traditional US allies. In the future. that other conventional military superiority. the US will still retain unique allies alike as increasingly constraining US military capabilities. advanced states costs of supporting those objectives. nations will continue to envy and rely on to secure a safer world. higher taxes. In the might engage in counterspace strikes. The US will from risk of currency shocks. US guarantees. environment leading to 2025 may raise questions about traditional US advantages in Enjoyed by the US for more than 60 years. 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. 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. potential US adversaries will loss of reserve status is unlikely. The US also will continue to within their respective countries. and more intensive military many states confronted with the rise of competitions in the Middle East and East potential hostile nuclear powers. energy. Although Asia.” these privileges have perhaps so permeated US thinking as to go unnoticed. particularly Israel ability to protect the “global commons” and and Japan. which also be expected to play a significant role in enables lower interest rates. military superiority in both conventional and nuclear weapons and missile defense capabilities will be a critical element in 97 . systems. US financial dependence on US interests at home. especially its ability to freedom of action in time of crisis despite US project military power globally. anti-access capabilities. network face of higher interest rates. 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. 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. and attacks. conventional military power. strengths on the battlefield and attack directly In addition. for example. In addition. and nuclear weapons and other forms of WMD might be More Limited Military Superiority perceived by potential adversaries and US In 2025. and information warfare to disrupt US potential oil shocks. While total However. while a steady using its military power to counter global source of outside demand for US dollars terrorism. economic.

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

99 . particularly in terms of ensuring a more positive outcome.biggest game-changers during the last century. leaders are likely to be crucial to how developments turn out. As we have emphasized. today’s trends appear to be heading toward a potentially more fragmented and conflicted world over the next 15-20 years. but bad outcomes are not inevitable. 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. Individually and collectively over the next 15-20 years. International leadership and cooperation will be necessary to solve the global challenges and to understand the complexities surrounding them.

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