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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.

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

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 .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.

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 . 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.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

and energy security. They also are likely to want to preserve their policy freedom to maneuver. climate change. 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. If nuclear weapons are used in the next 15-20 years. Maritime security concerns are providing a rationale for naval buildups and modernization efforts. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. allowing others to carry the primary burden for dealing with such issues as terrorism. and counterbalancing moves but it also will create opportunities for multinational cooperation in protecting critical sea lanes. such as China’s and India’s development of blue-water naval capabilities. for example. but because of their growing geopolitical and economic clout. The diversity in type of actor raises the likelihood of fragmentation occurring over the next two decades. economic. and enhanced strength of nonstate actors and networks. the worsening institutional deficit. the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. proliferation. even actions short of war will have important geopolitical consequences. and political-military repercussions. although remaining very low. In the worst case. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. With water becoming more scarce in Asia and the Middle East. The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. 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. to be essential for maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regimes. 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. x . particularly given the wide array of transnational challenges facing the international community. 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. they will have a high degree of freedom to customize their political and economic policies rather than fully adopting Western norms. However. The buildup of regional naval capabilities could lead to increased tensions. Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers. The possibility of a future disruptive regime change or collapse occurring in a nuclear weapon state such as North Korea also continues to raise questions regarding the ability of weak states to control and secure their nuclear arsenals.Types of conflict we have not seen for awhile—such as over resources—could reemerge. this could result in interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources. rivalries. 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.

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

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

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

xiv .

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

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

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

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

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

6 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…)


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

18 .

its current population of over 1. representing about one-fifth of all growth. Russia. and a few other industrial states World population is projected to grow by with relatively high immigration rates will about 1. across the northern edge of the world map.2 billion between 2009 and 2025— continue to grow—the US by more than from 6. death. and a few the Middle East and South Asia. Populations Growing. 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. Ukraine. Canada.45 billion people. almost all countries in Eastern than two-thirds) by 2025. The populations of more than 50 countries will • Between now and 2025. the already diverse array of national than it was. the countries of Sub-Saharan majority and minority populations within and Africa are projected to add about 350 among emerging and established powers.4 population age structures promises to be more billion persons between 1980 and today. These declines could approach or countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. established arrangements in others. and migration are (See graphic on page 22.3 billion. their populations decline by several and infrastructure. where the roughly 16 percent of humanity will live in under-30 group represents 60 percent of the the West. India’s population is projected to climb by around 240 million by 2025. is projected to add more than 100 million to 19 . Canada. varied than ever. Asia’s other giant. (See maps on page 20. Trends in birth. 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. other Eastern European countries. Two-thirds of these percent. placing additional Europe. and • The populations of the US. reaching approximately 1. and Although the global population increase is Australia by more than 3 million. Ukraine. most of exceed 10 percent of the current the remaining fast-growing countries are in populations in Russia. and Japan are expected to see stresses on vital natural resources. contrast. the “youngest” countries. Diversifying—at the Same Time Australia.) • The largest increase will occur in India. From 2009 to 2025. the United States.) changing the absolute and relative size of young and old. Japan. 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. million people during the same period. down from levels that added 2. and New Zealand. In 2025.5 million. China. increase by more than a third (some by more Italy. and ethnic • In aggregate. Canada by 4. substantial—with concomitant effects on resources—the rate of growth will be slower By 2025. 40 million. will nearly all be located and 24 percent in 1980. in Sub-Saharan Africa. services.8 billion to around 8 billion people. In Australia. rural and urban. down from the 18 percent in 2009 population or more. Declining.

20 .

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

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

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,


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

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

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

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

nevertheless plausible future. 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. and Middle East capitals. political system—the result of resolve a perceived democracy gap dividing institutional consolidation. 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. structures. and less able to and Islamic radicalism could align Russian translate its economic clout into global and Western security policies more tightly. The European Union would need to 32 . 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. Progress on economic liberalization political trends. political. 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. authoritarian petro-state or even Europe’s demographic deficits except likely a full dictatorship.democratic. and a leading Ukraine and Turkey. We believe social benefits programs. There are no easy fixes for nationalistic. integrated. and the emergence of new stakeholders the protracted debate about its institutional demanding a greater voice. Less likely. a major foreign policy crisis. However. concentrate on parochial interests. Shared giant distracted by internal bickering and perceptions regarding threats from terrorism competing national agendas. 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. A more proactive and influential foreign The EU will be in a position to bolster policy seems likely. and military tools in support of happened in the past. new members in the Balkans. The challenge of Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress integrating immigrant. a foundation stone of Western remains wide because of starkly divergent Europe’s political cohesion since World forces—liberal economic trends and illiberal War II. and perhaps Asian.” 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. notwithstanding disagreements on other issues and a persisting “values gap. influence. Defense open and progressive country by 2025. an important partner for Western. expenditures are likely to be cut further to stave off the need for serious restructuring of Europe: Losing Clout in 2025. toward achieving the vision of current leaders communities will become acute if citizens and elites: a cohesive. as economic. which is an unlikely but cutbacks in health and retirement benefits. European and Western interests and universal ideals. continued force in opposition to US global dominance. a rising middle Brussels from European voters and move past class. failure to convince skeptical publics of the Controlling key energy nodes and links in the benefits of deeper economic. especially Muslim.

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

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

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

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

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

38 .

39 .

40 .

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

The prized fuel in the shorter and Beijing is likely to be under increasing term likely will be natural gas. concentration has been increased control of food. invest. 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. and Mexico) is 2025. Three of the largest and production horizon. China is overtaking grow by about 60 percent. which contains Considering oil and natural gas together. two some two-thirds of world reserves. international pressure to use clean consumption of natural gas is expected to technologies to burn it. With the formation and establishment of OPEC in the 1960s and nuclear reactors have lower costs of power 1970s. Third-generation production. coal may be price signals to explore. “Aging populations in the developed world.” Rising prices for oil and By contrast. Three countries— percent of total world oil production in 2025. abundant. America (the US. Saudi Arabia alone will account for expected to produce an appreciable almost half of all Gulf production. A partial consequence of this growing growing resource constraints in energy. North projected to grow by 43 percent during 2003. and limit investment in order to prolong the close to markets. prosperity. they are The use of nuclear fuel for electrical power generation is expected to expand. according to the US in the amount of carbon emissions it DoE/Energy Information Agency projections. Iran. being the “dirtiest. they responded to grow steadily in absolute terms. economic options. necessarily co-located with oil. and promote the fastest growing energy source despite technologies necessary to increase production. OPEC countries—Russia and Iran—emerge as production in the Persian Gulf countries is energy kingpins. Nevertheless. Canada. located in the Middle East. When the Club of Rome made its to be an historically unprecedented age of famous forecast of looming energy scarcities. Russia. national oil companies have natural gas would put a new premium on strong economic and political incentives to energy sources that are cheap. and distribution.” the “Seven Sisters” still had a strong influence on global oil markets and production. Keeping oil in the fastest-growing energy consumers—the US. 42 . and water. refining. Caspian area combined. representing 67 percent of known global reserves. and worries about climate oil and gas resources by national oil change are likely to color what will continue companies. and Qatar—hold over 57 percent The major producers increasingly will be of the world’s natural gas reserves. an amount proportion—18 percent—of total world greater than that expected from Africa and the production by 2025. the Western oil companies’ influence and clout declined.Russia—are projected to account for 39 highly concentrated. By 2025. ground provides resources for future China. China another energy transition: the move to will still be very dependent on coal in 2025 cleaner fuels. puts in the atmosphere despite its much Although natural gas deposits are not smaller GDP. 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.7 Even though the use of natural gas is likely to Driven by shareholders. and India—and Russia possess the generations in oil states that have limited their four largest recoverable coal reserves.

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

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

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

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

FOLDOUT 427436 47 .




Demand for water for • Russia. Colombia. Pipelines subsidizing populist economic programs and to India transiting restive regions may sustaining funding for intelligence and connect New Delhi to local instabilities. 36 countries. Beijing’s ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen. and Climate Change notion that state-dominated economies. Tehran may also result of growing world population. Eritrea. Moscow’s sphere. needing Caspian area natural gas agricultural purposes and hydroelectric power in order to satisfy European and other generation also will expand. unexpected changes in energy markets. home to about 1. The 51 . Ethiopia. The chance of succeeding. which probably would strain food will rise by 50 percent by 2030. scarce. and Central Asia. construction of hydroelectric power stations on major rivers may improve flood control. could be badly dented. as a Beijing’s ties to Riyadh. preferences by a larger middle class. access to oil and gas. are a credible alternative to Western Owing to continuing population growth. and Syria. particularly since are projected to fall into this category by history suggests the US and other Western 2025. Among the new entrants will be states adapt more quickly and effectively to Burundi. to be either cropland or freshwater petroleum thirst. • 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. Kingdom is the only supplier capable of with a combined population of about 600 responding in a big way to China’s million. as the “Experts currently consider 21 countries. market. and shifts to Western dietary Russia.” to other producers.4 • Beijing will want to offset its growing billion people. The Water. security operations and other programs designed to extend its regional power. 36 notions of free markets and liberal democracy countries. agriculture currently consumes over 70 Russia-controlled outlet. 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. has a good percent of the world’s water. Iran. Use of water for contracts. are projected to fall into this reliance on Riyadh by strengthening ties category by 2025.4 billion people. Pakistan. and. rising be able to forge even closer ties with affluence. Owing to continuing population growth. is likely to be forceful in irrigation is far greater than for household keeping Central Asian countries within consumption. Iran will see this as an opportunity to solidify China’s support for The World Bank estimates that demand for Tehran. In developing countries. absent a non. Malawi. 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.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. home to about 1. Food.

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

Most attempts to upgrade irrigation and rural displaced persons traditionally relocate within transportation networks and to extend credit their home countries. states of concern. allowing population growth are likely to find their home countries have to outpace gains in agricultural productivity. populations. and Southeast Asia into Australia. Latin America into displaced “climate migrants”—representing a the US. Strategic Implications of an Opening Arctic Estimates vary as to when the Arctic is likely to be ice free during the summer.000 nautical miles off of a trip using the Panama Canal. wealthy. 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. and Canada and Denmark. The greatest strategic consequence over the next couple of decades may be that relatively large. The National Snow and Ice Data Center suggests a seasonally ice-free Arctic by 2060. more current research suggests the date could be as soon as 2013. Although serious near-term tension could result in small-scale confrontations over contested claims. Thus the number of migrants seeking In addition to the currently projected to move from disadvantaged into relatively scarcities of freshwater and cropland. the Arctic is unlikely to spawn major armed conflict. ten-fold increase over today’s entire documented refugee and internally displaced 53 . Transiting the Northern Sea Route above Russia between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific would trim about 5. Russia. Asian states.000 nautical miles and a week’s sailing time off a trip compared with use of the Suez Canal. or dangerous nonstate actors. Circumpolar states have other major ports on other bodies of water. the UK privileged countries is likely to increase. Resource and shipping benefits are unlikely to materialize by 2025. 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. resource-deficient trading states such as China. Nonetheless. diminishing capabilities to accommodate them. Additionally. Although this is considered high civil conflict and the political and economic by many experts. Canada. and Korea will benefit from increased energy resources provided by any Arctic opening and shorter shipping distances. Denmark. these states share a common interest in regulating access to the Arctic by hostile powers. such as between Russia and Norway. but in the future many and investment. Japan. Elsewhere south of the Sahara. so the Arctic does not pose any lifeblood blockade dangers. Voyaging between Europe and Asia through Canada’s Northwest Passage would trim some 4. and by their shared need for assistance from high-tech companies to exploit the Arctic’s resources. and Norway—as evidenced by the emergence of competing territorial claims. 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. The two most important implications of an opening Arctic are improved access to likely vast energy and mineral resources and potentially shorter maritime shipping routes. these potential riches and advantages are already perceptible to the United States.

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

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

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

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60 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Use of Nuclear Weapons? The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years. economic. prompting calls for global nuclear disarmament and energizing counterproliferation and counterterrorism measures. 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. (Continued on next page…) 67 . the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian. Furthermore. How the world would respond over the long-term to another use of nuclear weapons would. 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. new political-military developments could further erode the nuclear “taboo. is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. likely depend on the context in which such weapons were used. enhance the perception of the utility of nuclear weapons in defending territorial sovereignty and increase pressures for proliferation in countries that do not possess a strong conventional military or security guarantees. on the other hand. would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons. • A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon or an escalating conflict between two nuclear powers. particularly in conjunction with the proliferation of long-range missile systems. 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. future acquisition of nuclear weapons by states with weak command and control procedures and safeguards increases the probability of accidental or unauthorized nuclear use. although remaining very low. such as India and Pakistan. and the future utility of nuclear weapons would drive global reactions regarding counterproliferation and nuclear disarmament.” 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. 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. however. In such cases. Prevailing perceptions regarding whether the use of a nuclear weapon was justified. and political-military repercussions. In addition to these longstanding concerns. the level of destructiveness it created. 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. 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. A successful nuclear weapon test or use of a nuclear weapon by a state to deter or halt a conventional attack might. If nuclear weapons are used destructively in the next 15-20 years.

In Europe. expression. downtrodden. however. Terrorism: Good and Bad News Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025. poverty. could use networks and • In the absence of employment global communications to recruit and train opportunities and legal means for political new members. disenfranchised that become self- radicalized. and development. ethnic rivalries. but others— radicalism could be fueled by global motivated by a variety of factors. and opinion. the impacts of reach. the spread of new technologies. As long as turmoil and societal disruptions. “For those terrorist groups active in 2025. Economic degradation. Economic command and control processes. 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. Palestinian Territories. or environmental mitigated in the Middle East. Other groups. Future joining terrorists’ ranks. proliferate radical ideologies. and other social issues.(Continued…) In either case. such as a communications and mass media. poor growth continues and youth unemployment is governance. but its appeal could diminish if economic generated by resource scarcities. possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. increase in the Middle East. 68 . 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. conditions will be ripe for manage their finances. manipulate public disaffection. and disenfranchised. 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. Such dire scenarios are not descendants of long-established groups— inevitable even with worse-than-anticipated that inherit organizational structures. creating new cohorts of the angry. growing radicalism. 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. national boundaries. 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. for example. climate change impacts. however. 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.” climate change. opportunities for youth and greater political conditions will remain conducive to the pluralism probably would dissuade some from spread of radicalism and insurgencies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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