Archive for October, 2019

TBR News October 16, 2019

Oct 16 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 16, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 16:”Because of his erratic actions in the Mid-East, Trump and Trump alone is dragging the entire area into a chaos that will affect everyone on the planet. Seeing a wonderful opportunity, Putin moved into the uproar. It’s a pity the United States does not have a leader who leads his country as effectively as Putin leads his. Now Putin is moving south, into rich oil country, and gaining access to the Indian Ocean, an area the US does not want him interfering in. Diego Garcia is an important military base and when, not if, Putin sets up his new naval base on the Indian Ocean, he will be in a strong position vis-à-vis making useful observations of a once-secret military base.”

 

The Table of Contents

More government-approved ripoffs from poor Americans

  • Struggling Americans are haunted by zombie debt. Will you be next?
  • The Should-Be Solution to the Student-Debt Problem
  • Trump impeachment inquiry gathers pace as more officials testify
  • Trump sanctions fail to slow Turkey assault; Syrian troops move on Manbij
  • Russian and Iranian Mutual Assistance Treaty
  • An Open Letter on Zionism
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 15, 2019

Oct 14 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 15, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 15:” In 1984, over 2,000 extremely rare, nearly mint condition, ancient Greek silver coins, dating from 465 BC, were unearthed near Elmali in Turkey. The horde of coins, in violation of Turkish law, quickly circulated into the international marketplace, and many coins sold for huge sums of money. Discovering that their national treasures had apparently been looted, the irate Turkish government forced the return of most of the horde through legal and diplomatic means. The British Museum inspected some of the rarer specimens and concluded that the entire collection had been recently manufactured at the Bulgarian State Mint in Sofia by that country’s intelligence agency to raise much-needed Western currency. Following this revelation, the value of rare Greek coins toppled as quickly as the British pound had fallen in 1945.

 

The Table of Contents

  • Jihad
  • Trump and Syria: the worst week for US foreign policy since the Iraq invasion?
  • Russia-backed Syrian army sweeps in after U.S. announces abrupt exit
  • Russian and Iranian Mutual Assistance Treaty
  • Unfit for Office
  • ‘Talking in Tongues’ for Fun and Profit.
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Official Report on corruption in pre-Putin Russia

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TBR News October 14, 2019

Oct 13 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 14, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 14:” ‘America’s Uncrowned King’ doesn’t know his left leg from a dead poodle. He has screwed up things in Syria so badly most people in DC who know anything are betting he will be either in Florida picking used condoms off the beach or St. Elizabeth’s Happy House wrapped in a wet sheet before the year is over. One hopes.”

The Table of Contents

 

  • Trump’s mounting troubles in Iowa could spell doom for Republicans
  • Unfit for Office
  • Syria moves troops toward Turkish offensive
  • Over 130,000 people displaced by fighting in northeastern Syria: U.N.
  • Furious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria

The most expensive art fraud in history

  • The Invention of the ‘Salvator Mundi’ Or, How to Turn a $1,000 Art-Auction Pickup Into a $450 Million Masterpiece.
  • The mystery of the missing Leonardo: where is Da Vinci’s $450m Jesus?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 13, 2019

Oct 13 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 13, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 13: “It is not a wise idea for the President to dump his former allies, the Kurds. They are known to be ferocious in the attack and bad enemies. There are many Kurds resident in the United States today but obviousy Chubby is unaware that he is walking on very, very thin ice by his treachery.”

 

The Table of Contents:

  • Donald Trump: xenophobe in public, international mobster in private
  • Rudy Giuliani is Donald Trump’s real secretary of state
  • An Angry Congress Prepares to Rebuke Trump Over Kurds
  • Official report concerning Donald Trump’s criminal actions
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • FBI Front Companies
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 12, 2019

Oct 11 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 12, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 12:” A constant subject for the high-level intelligence people inside the Beltway is the progress of what is called ‘The Plan.’

This is a long-term program, formulated and implemented, by the far-right element in the government and eagerly supported by the so-called neo-cons.

The purpose of this program is to destabilize Russia, force Putin and his supporters out of office and replace them, as was done during the reign of the CIA-friendly Yeltsin, with persons friendly to the United States aims and, specially, friendly to US business interests.

Russia is in possession of a very large reservoir of natural resources from oil to gold and American interests very nearly had their controlling hands on all of this during the Yeltsin years but lost it when Putin got in control.

They hate his intractable nationalism and have done, and are doing, everything they can to discredit, defeat and eventually oust him.

A major part of The Plan has been to get physical control of countries surrounding Russia from the Baltic states to the ‘Stans and to ring Russia with American-oriented and friendly countries.

Putin, aware of this because of the obviousness of the plottings and also because of very high-level information leaks from Washington, responded and with deadly effect. Georgia was run by a domestic politician who was eccentric, egotistical but in the pocket of Washington, and who allowed American troops and their military equipment to pour into the country.

But two Georgian provinces, inhabited mostly by Russians, objected to the blatantly pro-West government in Tiblisi and protested.

Georgia’s answer was to threaten force and, with full American support, to mass Georgian troops on the borders of these provinces.

Putin responded by sending a Russian military strike force into the area in support of the break-away areas and this caused a two-fold retreat on the part of American supporters. The military units rapidly evacuated west to the Black Sea and US Naval evacuation while an army of CIA personnel fled in terror to the airport at Tiblisi to avoid capture. This demarche disillusioned a number of eastern European countries who then toned down their anti-Russian rhetoric and made pacific moves towards the Kremlin.

A very high-level Polish government contingent flying into Smolensk to confer with the Russians were destroyed when their aircraft, responding to faked ground signals at the fog-shrouded Smolensk airport, slammed into the ground, wiping out the top level Poles.

The Russians did not destroy the Poles but American intelligence operatives did.

This pointless slaughter was designed to teach wavering cantonists a lesson.

And the so-called “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine was entirely a CIA operation.

The government in that country was replaced with a pro-Western one and the Ukraine was then viewed in Washington as another country to stock with threatening American missiles and troops.

When the Ukrainians tired of the corruption that inevitably is attendant upon a pro-West government and eventually elected a pro-Russian president, the CIA predictably responded by fomenting civil strife in Kiev and when that appeared to be waning, had their surrogates start shooting at random into the crowd to stir up public anger.

Putin’s response was to occupy the Russian-populated Crimea, hold an election that overwhelmingly supported union with Russia and gained the important naval base at Sebastopol that the Ukraine had promised to the US Navy and, more important, the Crimean off-shore oil fields and a coastline that permitted an easier installation of the South Stream oil transmission line from Russian oil fields to southern Europe.

The fury of the balked intelligence and governmental organs in Washington has been monumental and because a restive Europe is presenting a disunited front in the dictated attacks on Russia, more pressure is being planned to further threaten and pressure Putin.

The oil-rich Arctic is a prime future battlefield selected by Washington to engage the Russians, but the latter hold most of the geo-political cards.

And attempts to economically isolate Russia can easily backfire and create economic chaos with America’s economic powers.

The Russians hold 118 billion dollars worth of US Treasury certificate and their tenative allies, the Chinese, hold one trillion dollars of the same certificates. Should these countries, against whom the United States has been conducting clandestine political warfare, ever decide to jointly dump these financial instruments, the collapse of the dollar as the leading international currency would create an economic crisis that could easily prove fatal to Washington.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department usually uses water.”

 

The Table of Contents   

  • Donald Trump’s Iran Humiliation
  • Are Fox News and rightwing media making plans for a post-Trump future?
  • Official Overview of Global Political Developments
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The Enduring Fictional Legacy Of The Illuminati, America’s Favorite Conspiracy Theory

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump’s Iran Humiliation

October 8, 2019

by Scott Ritter

Truthdig

Exactly 17 months have passed since President Donald Trump precipitously withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA. Two and a half months later, on July 22, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech to a group of Iranian expatriates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California. “[T]he United States,” Pompeo said, “is undertaking a diplomatic and financial pressure campaign to cut off the funds that the regime uses to enrich itself and support death and destruction.” The crowd launched into generous applause, after which Pompeo delivered his main point. “We have an obligation to put maximum pressure on the regime’s ability to generate and move money, and we will do so.”

The Trump administration, Pompeo stated, would reimpose sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors. “[O]ur focus,” he concluded, “is to work with countries importing Iranian crude oil to get imports as close to zero as possible by Nov. 4, [2018]. Zero.”

The ostensible purpose of the “maximum pressure” campaign was to get Iran to withdraw from the JCPOA and return to the negotiating table, where a new, more restrictive agreement would be crafted that eliminated its nuclear enrichment program, curtailed its ballistic missile program and reduced its influence in the Persian Gulf. However, given Pompeo’s embrace of the regime-change mantra of the Iranian expat community—a sentiment he shared with Trump’s then-national security adviser John Bolton—the “maximum pressure” campaign could only be interpreted as an act of economic warfare against Iran, as prelude to an eventual military campaign designed to remove the Shi’a theocracy that has ruled the country since assuming power in 1979. Bolton himself emphasized this when he stated in November 2018 that “[i]t is our intention to squeeze them very hard. As the British say: ‘Squeeze them until the pips squeak’.”

In April 2019, the U.S. State Department announced it would not be extending any waivers that it had granted to several of Iran’s key oil importers in an effort to ease the economic burden of being weaned off Iranian oil. “We are fulfilling our promise to get Iran’s oil exports to zero and deny the regime the revenue it needs to fund terrorism and violent wars abroad,” a State Department fact sheet noted. The State Department was particularly concerned about Iran’s so-called “malign activities” in Lebanon in support of Hezbollah, in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, and in Yemen in support of the Houthi rebels. The “maximum pressure” campaign was designed to starve these movements of Iranian financial support, thereby hastening the nation’s demise.

For a year following Trump’s May 8, 2018, exit from the JCPOA, Iran complied with its obligations under that agreement, adhering to every restriction while imploring the agreement’s other parties to honor their commitments and ignore the newly reimposed U.S. economic sanctions. This proved increasingly difficult as the U.S. treated any nation or company that used the U.S. banking system to facilitate a transaction with Iran in violation of its terms. As a result, in May 2019, Iran began suspending its commitments under the JCPOA, something it (rightfully) claimed was permitted under the terms of the JCPOA in the case of noncompliance by a party to the agreement. (Iran claimed, with justification, that the EU was in noncompliance by failing to permit the unrestricted sale of Iranian oil to EU customers.) The U.S. responded by dispatching two B-52 bombers and an aircraft carrier battlegroup to the region, an action Bolton claimed was intended to “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” By all appearances, it looked as if the U.S. campaign of “maximum pressure” was about to enter its final phase.

This is where the narrative gets interesting. Rather than retreat in the face of U.S. military pressure, Iran doubled down. Months before, in December 2018, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned that “America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports. If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.” At the time, the Trump administration saw Rouhani’s statement as empty bluster. It wasn’t.

On May 12, 2019, four oil tankers, including two belonging to the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia, were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. While no one claimed responsibility for the attacks, the U.S. was quick to blame Iran, which denied all responsibility. Oil prices jumped nearly 3% as a result. On June 13, two additional oil tankers were attacked while transiting the Strait of Hormuz; the U.S. claimed the vessels were attacked using limpet mines, while the crews claimed they were struck by projectiles. Again, the U.S. blamed Iran, and the Iranians denied all responsibility. Oil prices surged.

Whether or not Iran was involved, these attacks sent a clear signal to the oil-consuming world— transit through the Strait of Hormuz, through which some 18.5 million barrels a day of crude and refined products pass, representing 20% of all oil produced globally, was not guaranteed. This point was reinforced when, on June 20, Iran shot down a U.S. Global Hawk drone it claimed had violated its airspace. The loss of the $130-million reconnaissance aircraft put the U.S. on war footing, with Bolton advocating a retaliatory air strike against Iran’s air defenses and nuclear installations. The Pentagon cautioned Trump that any U.S. attack would likely result in a massive Iranian retaliation that would threaten the oil production infrastructure of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the other Gulf Arab states. Trump opted not to attack, avoiding a wider war, but in doing so left open the question as to the viability of U.S. military deterrence posture in the Persian Gulf. This turned out to be precisely the answer Iran was looking for.

Saudi Arabia had always been a major factor in the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. One of the foundational requirements for a successful U.S. effort targeting Iranian oil sales was for oil markets to remain well supplied and oil inventory levels to remain consistently strong. “We have commitments from oil-producing countries,” the State Department noted in April 2019, “including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to increase oil production to offset reductions in Iranian oil exports.” On June 20, in the midst of the crisis over the downing of the U.S. drone, the special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, visited Saudi Arabia to discuss next steps. “We affirmed the Kingdom’s support for the United States maximum pressure campaign on Iran,” the Saudi Vice Minister of Defense, Khalid bin Salman, tweeted after the talks concluded, “which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism, and discussed the latest Iranian attacks on the Kingdom. Also discussed with the United States Special Representative for Iran the dangerous role that the Iranian regime plays in Yemen, where it neglects the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people in favor of using the country as the main launchpad for its regional terrorism.”

The ongoing war between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels in Yemen has been a sore point between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, especially in the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, by henchmen operating under the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Sultan. The humanitarian crisis that has befallen Yemen as a result of the invasion in 2015 has caught the attention of a U.S. Congress no longer willing to turn a blind eye to Saudi atrocities. In March 2019, Congress voted to suspend all U.S. military aid to Saudi Arabia’s war effort in Yemen. While the measure was vetoed by Trump, the vote was a stinging rebuke to the Saudis, who had taken continuous and unobstructed U.S. military aid as a given.

But rhetoric alone does not win the day. The problem for the United States has been that its campaign of “maximum pressure” has had zero impact on Iran’s so-called “malign activities” in the region. In July 2019, Iran test fired a ballistic missile with a range of more than 1,000 kilometers. A defiant Iranian spokesperson tweeted that “Iran’s missiles are absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone or any country, period.”

The Iranian missile test came amid a growing crisis between Iran and the United Kingdom over the tit-for-tat seizure of oil tankers. In early July, British Royal Marines boarded and took control of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, claiming that its load of oil was destined for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Iran responded by boarding and seizing the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, as it navigated the Strait of Hormuz.

Complicating matters further was Iran’s announcement in early July that it was suspending another JCPOA-imposed limitation on its nuclear program, breaching the 3.67% cap on the level of uranium enrichment allowed under the agreement. As the world debated Iran’s suspension of JCPOA commitments, its ongoing tanker war with the U.K., and its testing of ballistic missiles, another front was opening that would test the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign like no other.

The first rumblings of trouble came in May 2019, when the Saudis reported that Houthi drones operating out of Yemen had struck a strategic oil pipeline and two oil pumping stations, causing minor damage. “This is a message to Saudi Arabia: Stop your aggression,” a Houthi spokesman declared afterward. “Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing every day against the Yemeni people.”

In August, as if to prove the May attacks were not a fluke, the Houthi launched an even larger attack against the Shaybah natural gas liquification facility, some 1,000 kilometers from the border with Yemen, using 10 drones. The attack, which caused minor damage, was condemned by Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the U.S. A Houthi spokesman promised “fiercer and larger attacks” against Saudi Arabia if it continued its aggression in Yemen. Left unanswered was how the Houthi were able to penetrate Saudi Arabian air defenses and strike critical oil-related infrastructure.

The Houthi attacks of the Shaybah facility were lost in a news cycle increasingly dominated by evidence of the “maximum pressure” campaign’s imminent collapse. The first sign of failure was the decision by the British to release the Grace 1, despite efforts by the U.S. to execute a warrant for arrest en rem. The British defiance of the U.S. was part of an overall posture of resentment on the part of Europe over U.S. sanctions against Iran and the resulting unraveling of the JCPOA. The growing divide between the U.S. and Europe was put on full display when French President Emmanuel Macron invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif to attend the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, despite having recently been singled out for sanctions by the U.S. government. While no agreement was forthcoming, the fact that Iran was talking with its European counterparts meant that negotiation, and not confrontation, was the preferred path for America’s EU partners.

This divide became even more apparent in September when the Iranians followed through on their promise to continue to withdraw from the terms of the JCPOA. While stressing that all of its actions were reversible the moment Europe came into compliance with the deal and started defying U.S. sanctions, these actions were particularly eye-opening as Iran began installing advanced centrifuges capable of more efficient uranium enrichment, closing the one-year “breakout” period that served as the foundation for the nuclear pact. (The “breakout” period is defined by the amount of time Iran would need to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for the production of a single nuclear weapon; if Iran put the new centrifuges into operation, it would shrink the “breakout window” to a matter of months, which had previously been a red line for the U.S.)

The Iranian action prompted a heated debate within the Trump administration as to how best to respond. Trump had always envisioned himself as a dealmaker and was looking for any opening to bring Iran back to the negotiating table so he could produce a new nuclear agreement. Iran had made it clear there could be no negotiations as long as the U.S. maintained its “maximum pressure” campaign. Macron and the other European leaders were lobbying Trump to come up with some sort of relief formula that could be used to bring Iran back into full compliance with the JCPOA. Trump was leaning toward sanctions relief, believing it might lead to a meeting between him and Iranian leader Rouhani during the United Nations General Assembly debate later that month. Bolton strenuously objected. On September 11, Trump fired Bolton on social media, claiming he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.”

Iran had one more card to play. Three days after Bolton’s dismissal, the Houthi followed up on their threat to continue attacking Saudi oil infrastructure with a bold strike on two Saudi oil processing facilities, inflicting massive damage that knocked out 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity, or some 6% of global oil supplies. Saudi oil production was the lynchpin to the “maximum pressure” campaign; without it, there was no means of offsetting the loss of Iranian oil production brought on by sanctions. Moreover, the ease with which the Houthi had destroyed Saudi oil production infrastructure highlighted the future of all Gulf Arab oil production should there be a general war with Iran. In one fell swoop, Iran, through its Houthi proxies, had laid bare the naked truth about the U.S-Saudi defense relationship: There was literally nothing the U.S. could do, despite investing hundreds of billions of dollars into the Saudi military, and deploying hundreds of billions of dollars more in terms of U.S. military forces into the region, to protect the life’s blood of the Saudi Kingdom—oil. The U.S. decision to deploy a single Patriot surface-to-air missile battery and three air defense radars to protect Saudi oil fields from further attack was nothing more than a face-saving measure; while both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attack, no one could pinpoint where the attack originated from, meaning they had no idea how to defend themselves against any future incursion.

The Houthi drone attack proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Saudi Arabia, recognizing the precarious position it has found itself in, has greenlighted talks with Iran to resolve their regional differences. Despite an abortive effort to finesse a meeting between Trump and Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly, both the U.S. and Iran appear prepared to engage in negotiations once Iran’s conditions regarding the lifting of sanctions are met, something the EU strongly supports. If Trump’s goal in implementing the “maximum pressure” campaign was to eventually bring Iran to the negotiating table, then he may very well have succeeded. But history will show that it was Iran that set the conditions that brought the U.S. onboard, and not the other way around.

In May 2018, the myth of American military deterrence in defense of Saudi Arabia was still alive; today it lies shattered amidst the ruins of the destroyed Saudi oil facilities. Seen in this light, the collapse of the U.S. campaign of “maximum pressure” can only be interpreted as a strategic victory for Iran, and a decisive defeat for the United States.

 

 

Are Fox News and rightwing media making plans for a post-Trump future?

Some Fox anchors have become more stridently critical of Trump following the revelations of the impeachment inquiry

October 11, 2019

by Luke O’Neil

The Guardian

It’s often said that hosts on Fox News are playing to an audience of one. Increasingly, he does not like what he’s seeing.

On Thursday Donald Trump lashed out at the typically loyalist network following a Fox News poll that found that 51% of respondents wanted to see the president impeached and removed from office and an additional 4% said he should be impeached but not removed.

“From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll,” he tweeted on Thursday. “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck.”

Fox News is “much different than it used to be in the good old days”, he added, going on to catalogue a series of hosts and contributors to the network that have displayed insufficient deference in his estimation. Fox News “doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”

The comments echoed a similar sentiment he expressed in August, writing: “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”

Trump, may, however be cheered after Friday afternoon’s news that the Fox News anchor Shepard Smith – who recently criticized him – is leaving the network.

Popularity

It’s tempting to frame Fox News as playing a subservient roll to the president, but in truth it’s always been more of a symbiotic partnership, with the popularity of one bolstering the other and vice versa.

As fractures within the Fox network have grown, and many of their news anchors have become more stridently critical of Trump following the revelations of the impeachment inquiry, it may well be that Fox News, and other conservative media, are starting to wonder if it might be wise to make plans for a post-Trump future.

Outside of Fox News, another arbiter of the prevailing political winds on the right has long been Matt Drudge, whose website is a major driver of traffic to rightwing news sources.

As CNN noted, Drudge has become particularly aggressive in covering news of the impeachment inquiry of late, including giving prominence to stories about Fox News personalities such as Andrew Napolitano – who called Trump’s actions “criminal and impeachable” – and Shepard Smith’s suggestion Trump may have broken the law.

Even Tucker Carlson took to the pages of the website he founded, the Daily Caller, to criticize Trump for pressuring a foreign leader for his own personal political gain this week. There is “no way to spin this as a good idea”, he wrote. Carlson remains a staunch supporter of Trump on his Fox News program, but here, he’s hedging his bets.

Previous reports of the demise of the Trump-Fox marriage may have been greatly exaggerated, and the news about Smith will be seen by some as evidence of its health, but arguably there does seem to be something different this time around. The mounting evidence in the impeachment inquiry is not helping, and Trump’s reckless actions in Syria this week have drawn criticism from a number of reliably lockstep supporters, like Republican senator and Senate judiciary committee chairman Lindsey Graham, who called it “the biggest blunder of his presidency”. Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade called the decision “disastrous”. Breitbart also ran a critical story.

No doubt many of Trump’s supporters relish his breaking of political and governing norms, but it’s also possible his abandonment of US allies, his refusal to cooperate with a lawful impeachment inquiry and the mounting allegations of obstruction of justice may turn off a small but significant enough percentage of Republican voters who held their noses to cast their ballot for him in 2016.

Remaining Trump defenders like Rush Limbaugh have noted the shift in Drudge’s coverage. Limbaugh too has pointed to the new tenor at Fox News, saying it should now be called “Fox Never Trumper Network”.

Unable to countenance even the most minor of criticism, Trump has reportedly come to consider more extreme sites like Breitbart, and networks like OAN as his remaining trusted bulwarks of support, but the reach of either, or track record for setting the political agenda, pales in comparison to that of Fox News, or Drudge for that matter.

For all their manifold faults, Fox News as an institution is nothing if not savvy arbiters of the shifting political winds. Anchors like Smith and Chris Wallace, and contributors like Napolitano who have become regular critics of Trump, seem to be slowly introducing the concept of a break with Trump to the Fox News audience piece by piece, as a trial balloon.

How it will be received by the audience remains to be seen, but the existence of the conservative electorate and ratings do not rest wholly on the success of one man.

 

Official Overview of Global Political Developments

Report of the National Intelligence Council

NIC 2004-19

Classified Noforn

Executive Summary

At no time since the formation of the Western alliance system in 1949 have the shape and nature of international alignments been in such a state of flux. The end of the Cold War shifted the tectonic plates, but the repercussions from these momentous events are still unfolding. Emerging powers in Asia, retrenchment in Eurasia, a roiling Middle East, and transatlantic divisions are among the issues that have only come to a head in recent years. The very magnitude and speed of change resulting from a globalizing world—apart from its precise character—will be a defining feature of the world out to 2020. Other significant characteristics include: the rise of new powers, new challenges to governance, and a more pervasive sense of insecurity, including terrorism.

As we map the future, the prospects for increasing global prosperity and the limited likelihood of great power conflict provide an overall favorable environment for coping with what are otherwise daunting challenges. The role of the United States will be an important variable in how the world is shaped, influencing the path that states and nonstate actors choose to follow.

New Global Players

The likely emergence of China and India, as well as others, as new major global players—similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century—will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries. In the same way that commentators refer to the 1900s as the “American Century,” the 21st century may be seen as the time when Asia, led by China and India, comes into its own. A combination of sustained high economic growth, expanding military capabilities, and large populations will be at the root of the expected rapid rise in economic and political power for both countries.

  • Most forecasts indicate that by 2020 China’s gross national product (GNP) will exceed that of individual Western economic powers except for the United States. India’s GNP will have overtaken or be on the threshold of overtaking European economies.
  • Because of the sheer size of China’s and India’s populations—projected by the US Census Bureau to be 1.4 billion and almost 1.3 billion respectively by 2020—their standard of living need not approach Western levels for these countries to become important economic powers.

Barring an abrupt reversal of the process of globalization or any major upheavals in these countries, the rise of these new powers is a virtual certainty. Yet how China and India exercise their growing power and whether they relate cooperatively or competitively to other powers in the international system are key uncertainties. The economies of other developing countries, such as Brazil, could surpass all but the largest European countries by 2020; Indonesia’s economy could also approach the economies of individual European countries by 2020.

By most measures—market size, single currency, highly skilled work force, stable democratic governments, and unified trade bloc—an enlarged Europe will be able to increase its weight on the international scene. Europe’s strength could be in providing a model of global and regional governance to the rising powers. But aging populations and shrinking work forces in most countries will have an important impact on the continent. Either European countries adapt their work forces, reform their social welfare, education, and tax systems, and accommodate growing immigrant populations (chiefly from Muslim countries), or they face a period of protracted economic stasis. Japan faces a similar aging crisis that could crimp its longer run economic recovery, but it also will be challenged to evaluate its regional status and role. Tokyo may have to choose between “balancing” against or “band-wagoning” with China.

Meanwhile, the crisis over North Korea is likely to come to a head sometime over the next 15 years. Asians’ lingering resentments and concerns over Korean unification and cross-Taiwan Strait tensions point to a complicated process for achieving regional equilibrium. Russia has the potential to enhance its international role with others due to its position as a major oil and gas exporter. However, Russia faces a severe demographic crisis resulting from low birth rates, poor medical care, and a potentially explosive AIDS situation. To the south, it borders an unstable region in the Caucasus and Central Asia, the effects of which—Muslim extremism, terrorism, and endemic conflict—are likely to continue spilling over into Russia. While these social and political factors limit the extent to which Russia can be a major global player, Moscow is an important partner both for the established powers, the United States and Europe, and for the rising powers of China and India.

With these and other new global actors, how we mentally map the world in 2020 will change radically. The “arriviste” powers—China, India, and perhaps others such as Brazil and Indonesia—have the potential to render obsolete the old categories of East and West, North and South, aligned and nonaligned, developed and developing. Traditional geographic groupings will increasingly lose salience in international relations. A state-bound world and a world of mega-cities, linked by flows of telecommunications, trade and finance, will co-exist. Competition for allegiances will be more open, less fixed than in the past.

Impact of Globalization

We see globalization—growing interconnectedness reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services, and people throughout the world—as an overarching “mega-trend,” a force so ubiquitous that it will substantially shape all the other major trends in the world of 2020. But the future of globalization is not fixed; states and non state actors—including both private companies and NGOs—will struggle to shape its contours. Some aspects of globalization—such as the growing global interconnectedness stemming from the information technology (IT) revolution— almost certainly will be irreversible. Yet it is also possible, although unlikely, that the process of globalization could be slowed or even stopped, just as the era of globalization.11 in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries was reversed by catastrophic war and global depression.

Barring such a turn of events, the world economy is likely to continue growing impressively: by 2020, it is projected to be about 80 percent larger than it was in 2000, and average per capita income will be roughly 50 percent higher. Of course, there will be cyclical ups and downs and periodic financial or other crises, but this basic growth trajectory has powerful momentum behind it. Most countries around the world, both developed and developing, will benefit from gains in the world economy. By having the fastest-growing consumer markets, more firms becoming world-class multinationals, and greater S&T stature, Asia looks set to displace Western countries as the focus for international economic dynamism—provided Asia’s rapid economic growth continues.

Yet the benefits of globalization won’t be global. Rising powers will see exploiting the opportunities afforded by the emerging global marketplace as the best way to assert their great power status on the world stage. In contrast, some now in the “First World” may see the closing gap with China, India, and others as evidence of a relative decline, even though the older powers are likely to remain global leaders out to 2020. The United States, too, will see its relative power position eroded, though it will remain in 2020 the most important single country across all the dimensions of power. Those left behind in the developing world may resent China and India’s rise, especially if they feel squeezed by their growing dominance in key sectors of the global marketplace. And large pockets of poverty will persist even in “winner” countries.

The greatest benefits of globalization will accrue to countries and groups that can access and adopt new technologies. Indeed, a nation’s level of technological achievement generally will be defined in terms of its investment in integrating and applying the new, globally available technologies—whether the technologies are acquired through a country’s own basic research or from technology leaders. The growing two-way flow of high-tech brain power between the developing world and the West, the increasing size of the information computer-literate work force in some developing countries, and efforts by global corporations to diversify their high-tech operations will foster the spread of new technologies. High-tech breakthroughs—such as in genetically modified organisms and increased food production—could provide a safety net eliminating the threat of starvation and ameliorating basic quality of life issues for poor countries. But the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” will widen unless the “have-not” countries pursue policies that support application of new technologies— such as good governance, universal education, and market reforms. Those countries that pursue such policies could leapfrog stages of development, skipping over phases that other high-tech leaders such as the United States and Europe had to traverse in order to advance. China and India are well positioned to become technology leaders, and even the poorest countries will be able to leverage prolific, cheap technologies to fuel—although at a slower rate—their own development..

  • The expected next revolution in high technology involving the convergence of nano-, bio-, information and materials technology could further bolster China and India’s prospects. Both countries are investing in basic research in these fields and are well placed to be leaders in a number of key fields. Europe risks slipping behind Asia in some of these technologies. The United States is still in a position to retain its overall lead, although it must increasingly compete with Asia to retain its edge and may lose significant ground in some sectors.

More firms will become global, and those operating in the global arena will be more diverse, both in size and origin, more Asian and less Western in orientation. Such corporations, encompassing the current, large multinationals, will be increasingly outside the control of any one state and will be key agents of change in dispersing technology widely, further integrating the world economy, and promoting economic progress in the developing world. Their ranks will include a growing number based in such countries as China, India, or Brazil. While North America, Japan, and Europe might collectively continue to dominate international political and financial institutions, globalization will take on an increasingly non-Western character. By 2020, globalization could be equated in the popular mind with a rising Asia, replacing its current association with Americanization.

An expanding global economy will increase demand for many raw materials, such as oil. Total energy consumed probably will rise by about 50 percent in the next two decades compared to a 34 percent expansion from 1980-2000, with a greater share provided by petroleum. Most experts assess that with substantial investment in new capacity, overall energy supplies will be sufficient to meet global demands. But on the supply side, many of the areas—the Caspian Sea, Venezuela, and West Africa—that are being counted on to provide increased output involve substantial political or economic risk. Traditional suppliers in the Middle East are also increasingly unstable. Thus sharper demand-driven competition for resources, perhaps accompanied by a major disruption of oil supplies, is among the key uncertainties.

  • China, India, and other developing countries’ growing energy needs suggest a growing preoccupation with energy, shaping their foreign policies.
  • For Europe, an increasing preference for natural gas may reinforce regional relationships—such as with Russia or North Africa—given the interdependence of pipeline delivery.

New Challenges to Governance

The nation-state will continue to be the dominant unit of the global order, but economic globalization and the dispersion of technologies, especially information technologies, will place enormous new strains on governments. Growing connectivity will be accompanied by the proliferation of virtual communities of interest, complicating the ability of states to govern. The Internet in particular will spur.13 the creation of even more global movements, which may emerge as a robust force in international affairs.

Part of the pressure on governance will come from new forms of identity politics centered on religious convictions. In a rapidly globalizing world experiencing population shifts, religious identities provide followers with a ready-made community that serves as a “social safety net” in times of need—particularly important to migrants. In particular, political Islam will have a significant global impact leading to 2020, rallying disparate ethnic and national groups and perhaps even creating an authority that transcends national boundaries. A combination of factors—youth bulges in many Arab states, poor economic prospects, the influence of religious education, and the Islamization of such institutions as trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, and political parties—will ensure that political Islam remains a major force.

  • Outside the Middle East, political Islam will continue to appeal to Muslim migrants who are attracted to the more prosperous West for employment opportunities but do not feel at home in what they perceive as an alien and hostile culture. Regimes that were able to manage the challenges of the 1990s could be overwhelmed by those of 2020. Contradictory forces will be at work: authoritarian regimes will face new pressures to democratize, but fragile new democracies may lack the adaptive capacity to survive and develop.

The so-called “third wave” of democratization may be partially reversed by 2020—particularly among the states of the former Soviet Union and in Southeast Asia, some of which never really embraced democracy. Yet democratization and greater pluralism could gain ground in key Middle Eastern countries which thus far have been excluded from the process by repressive regimes.

With migration on the increase in several places around the world—from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean into the United States, and increasingly from Southeast Asia into the northern regions—more countries will be multi-ethnic and will face the challenge of integrating migrants into their societies while respecting their ethnic and religious identities.

Chinese leaders will face a dilemma over how much to accommodate pluralistic pressures to relax political controls or risk a popular backlash if they do not. Beijing may pursue an “Asian way of democracy,” which could involve elections at the local level and a consultative mechanism on the national level, perhaps with the Communist Party retaining control over the central government.

With the international system itself undergoing profound flux, some of the institutions that are charged with managing global problems may be overwhelmed by them. Regionally based institutions will be particularly challenged to meet the complex transnational threats posed by terrorism, organized crime, and WMD proliferation. Such post-World War II creations as the United Nations and the.14 international financial institutions risk sliding into obsolescence unless they adjust to the profound changes taking place in the global system, including the rise of new powers.

Pervasive Insecurity

We foresee a more pervasive sense of insecurity—which may be as much based on psychological perceptions as physical threats—by 2020. Even as most of the world gets richer, globalization will profoundly shake up the status quo—generating enormous economic, cultural, and consequently political convulsions. With the gradual integration of China, India, and other emerging countries into the global economy, hundreds of millions of working-age adults will become available for employment in what is evolving into a more integrated world labor market.

  • This enormous work force—a growing portion of which will be well educated—will be an attractive, competitive source of low-cost labor at the same time that technological innovation is expanding the range of globally mobile occupations.
  • The transition will not be painless and will hit the middle classes of the developed world in particular, bringing more rapid job turnover and requiring professional retooling. Outsourcing on a large scale would strengthen the anti-globalization movement. Where these pressures lead will depend on how political leaders respond, how flexible labor markets become, and whether overall economic growth is sufficiently robust to absorb a growing number of displaced workers. Weak governments, lagging economies, religious extremism, and youth bulges will align to create a perfect storm for internal conflict in certain regions. The number of internal conflicts is down significantly since the late 1980s and early 1990s when the breakup of the Soviet Union and Communist regimes in Central Europe allowed suppressed ethnic and nationalistic strife to flare. Although a leveling off point has been reached where we can expect fewer such conflicts than during the last decade, the continued prevalence of troubled and institutionally weak states means that such conflicts will continue to occur.

Some internal conflicts, particularly those that involve ethnic groups straddling national boundaries, risk escalating into regional conflicts. At their most extreme, internal conflicts can result in failing or failed states, with expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective governmental control. Such territories can become sanctuaries for transnational terrorists (such as al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan) or for criminals and drug cartels (such as in Colombia).

The likelihood of great power conflict escalating into total war in the next 15 years is lower than at any time in the past century, unlike during previous centuries when local conflicts sparked world wars. The rigidities of alliance systems before World War I and during the interwar period, as well as the two-bloc standoff during the Cold War, virtually assured that small conflicts would be quickly generalized. The growing dependence on global financial and trade networks will help deter interstate.15 conflict but does not eliminate the possibility. Should conflict occur that involved one or more of the great powers, the consequences would be significant. The absence of effective conflict resolution mechanisms in some regions, the rise of nationalism in some states, and the raw emotions and tensions on both sides of some issues—for example, the Taiwan Strait or India/Pakistan issues—could lead to miscalculation. Moreover, advances in modern weaponry—longer ranges, precision delivery, and more destructive conventional munitions—create circumstances encouraging the preemptive use of military force.

Current nuclear weapons states will continue to improve the survivability of their deterrent forces and almost certainly will improve the reliability, accuracy, and lethality of their delivery systems as well as develop capabilities to penetrate missile defenses. The open demonstration of nuclear capabilities by any state would further discredit the current nonproliferation regime, cause a possible shift in the balance of power, and increase the risk of conflicts escalating into nuclear ones. Countries without nuclear weapons—especially in the Middle East and Northeast Asia—might decide to seek them as it becomes clear that their neighbors and regional rivals are doing so. Moreover, the assistance of proliferators will reduce the time required for additional countries to develop nuclear weapons

Transmuting International Terrorism

The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next15 years. Facilitated by global communications, the revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe, where religious identity has traditionally not been as strong. This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, and southern Thailand, and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness. Informal networks of charitable foundations, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements; alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will be superceded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to al-Qa’ida will merge with local separatist movements. Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual (i.e., online).

Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

Strong terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons increases the risk of a major terrorist attack involving WMD. Our greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents or, less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties. Bioterrorism appears particularly suited to the smaller, better-informed groups. We also expect that terrorists will attempt cyber attacks to disrupt critical information networks and, even more likely, to cause physical damage to information systems.

Possible Futures

In this era of great flux, we see several ways in which major global changes could take shape in the next 15 years, from seriously challenging the nation-state system to establishing a more robust and inclusive globalization. In the body of this paper we develop these concepts in four fictional scenarios which were extrapolated from the key trends we discuss in this report. These scenarios are not meant as actual forecasts, but they describe possible worlds upon whose threshold we may be entering, depending on how trends interweave and play out:

  • Davos World provides an illustration of how robust economic growth, led by China and India, over the next 15 years could reshape the globalization process—giving it a more non-Western face and transforming the political playing field as well.
  • Pax Americana takes a look at how US predominance may survive the radical changes to the global political landscape and serve to fashion a new and inclusive global order.
  • A New Caliphate provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity politics could constitute a challenge to Western norms and values as the foundation of the global system.
  • Cycle of Fear provides an example of how concerns about proliferation might increase to the point that large-scale intrusive security measures are taken to prevent outbreaks of deadly attacks, possibly introducing an Orwellian world.

Of course, these scenarios illustrate just a few of the possible futures that may develop over the next 15 years, but the wide range of possibilities we can imagine suggests that this period will be characterized by increased flux, particularly in contrast to the relative stasis of the Cold War era. The scenarios are not mutually exclusive: we may see two or three of these scenarios unfold in some combination or a wide range of other scenarios..

Policy Implications

The role of the United States will be an important shaper of the international order in 2020. Washington may be increasingly confronted with the challenge of managing—at an acceptable cost to itself—relations with Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and others absent a single overarching threat on which to build consensus. Although the challenges ahead will be daunting, the United States will retain enormous advantages, playing a pivotal role across the broad range of issues—economic, technological, political, and military—that no other state will match by 2020. Some trends we probably can bank on include dramatically altered alliances and relationships with Europe and Asia, both of which formed the bedrock of US power in the post-World War II period. The EU, rather than NATO, will increasingly become the primary institution for Europe, and the role which Europeans shape for themselves on the world stage is most likely to be projected through it. Dealing with the US-Asia relationship may arguably be more challenging for Washington because of the greater flux resulting from the rise of two world-class economic and political giants yet to be fully integrated into the international order. Where US-Asia relations lead will result as much or more from what the Asians work out among themselves as any action by Washington. One could envisage a range of possibilities from the US enhancing its role as balancer between contending forces to Washington being seen as increasingly irrelevant.

The US economy will become more vulnerable to fluctuations in the fortunes of others as global commercial networking deepens. US dependence on foreign oil supplies also makes it more vulnerable as the competition for secure access grows and the risks of supply side disruptions increase.

While no single country looks within striking distance of rivaling US military power by 2020, more countries will be in a position to make the United States pay a heavy price for any military action they oppose. The possession of chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea and the possible acquisition of such weapons by others by 2020 also increase the potential cost of any military action by the US against them or their allies.

The success of the US-led counterterrorism campaign will hinge on the capabilities and resolve of individual countries to fight terrorism on their own soil. Counterterrorism efforts in the years ahead—against a more diverse set of terrorists who are connected more by ideology than by geography—will be a more elusive challenge than focusing on a centralized organization such as al-Qa’ida. A counterterrorism strategy that approaches the problem on multiple fronts offers the greatest chance of containing—and ultimately reducing—the terrorist threat. The development of more open political systems and representation, broader economic opportunities, and empowerment of Muslim reformers would be viewed positively by the broad Muslim communities who do not support the radical agenda of Islamic extremists..18 Even if the numbers of extremists dwindle, however, the terrorist threat is likely to remain. The rapid dispersion of biological and other lethal forms of technology increases the potential for an individual not affiliated with any terrorist group to be able to wreak widespread loss of life. Despite likely high-tech breakthroughs that will make it easier to track and detect terrorists at work, the attacker will have an easier job than the defender because the defender must prepare against a large array of possibilities. The United States probably will continue to be called on to help manage such conflicts as Palestine, North Korea, Taiwan, and Kashmir to ensure they do not get out of hand if a peace settlement cannot be reached. However, the scenarios and trends we analyze in the paper suggest the possibility of harnessing the power of the new players in contributing to global security and relieving the US of some of the burden.

Over the next 15 years the increasing centrality of ethical issues, old and new, have the potential to divide worldwide publics and challenge US leadership. These issues include the environment and climate change, privacy, cloning and biotechnology, human rights, international law regulating conflict, and the role of multilateral institutions. The United States increasingly will have to battle world public opinion, which has dramatically shifted since the end of the Cold War. Some of the current anti-Americanism is likely to lessen as globalization takes on more of a non-Western face. At the same time, the younger generation of leaders—unlike during the post-World War II period—has no personal recollection of the United States as its “liberator” and is more likely to diverge with Washington’s thinking on a range of issues. In helping to map out the global future, the United States will have many opportunities to extend its advantages, particularly in shaping a new international order that integrates disparate regions and reconciles divergent interests..

Introduction

The international order is in the midst of profound change: at no time since the formation of the Western alliance system in 1949 have the shape and nature of international alignments been in such a state of flux as they have during the past decade. As a result, the world of 2020 will differ markedly from the world of 2004, and in the intervening years the United States will face major international challenges that differ significantly from those we face today. The very magnitude and speed of change resulting from a globalizing world—regardless of its precise character—will be a defining feature of the world out to 2020. Other significant characteristics include:

  • The contradictions of globalization.
  • Rising powers: the changing geopolitical landscape.
  • New challenges to governance.
  • A more pervasive sense of insecurity. As with previous upheavals, the seeds of major change have been laid in the trends apparent today. Underlying the broad characteristics listed above are a number of specific trends that overlap and play off each other:
  • The expanding global economy.
  • The accelerating pace of scientific change and the dispersion of dual-use technologies.
  • Lingering social inequalities.
  • Emerging powers.
  • The global aging phenomenon.
  • Halting democratization.
  • A spreading radical Islamic ideology.
  • The potential for catastrophic terrorism.
  • The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Increased pressures on international institutions.

As we survey the next 15 years, the role of the United States will be an important variable in how the world is shaped, influencing the path that states and non state actors choose to follow. In addition to the pivotal role of the United States, international bodies including international organizations, multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and others can mitigate distinctly negative trends, such as greater insecurity, and advance positive trends

The Contradictions of Globalization

Whereas in Global Trends 2015 we viewed globalization—growing interconnectedness reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services, and people throughout the world—as among an array of key drivers, we now view it more as a “mega-trend”—a force so ubiquitous that it will substantially shape all of the other major trends in the world of 2020.

“[By 2020] globalization is likely to take on much more of a ‘non-Western’ face…”

The reach of globalization was substantially broadened during the last 20 years by Chinese and Indian economic liberalization, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the worldwide information technology revolution. Through the next 15 years, it will sustain world economic growth, raise world living standards, and substantially deepen global interdependence. At the same time, it will profoundly shake up the status quo almost everywhere—generating enormous economic, cultural, and consequently political convulsions.

Certain aspects of globalization, such as the growing global inter-connectedness stemming from the information technology revolution, are likely to be irreversible. Real-time communication, which has transformed politics almost everywhere, is a phenomenon that even repressive governments would find difficult to expunge.

  • It will be difficult, too, to turn off the phenomenon of entrenched economic interdependence, although the pace of global economic expansion may ebb and flow. Interdependence has widened the effective reach of multinational business, enabling smaller firms as well as large multinationals to market across borders and bringing heretofore non-traded services into the international arena.

Yet the process of globalization, powerful as it is, could be substantially slowed or even reversed, just as the era of globalization in the late 19 th and early 20th centuries was reversed by catastrophic war and global depression. Some features that we associate with the globalization of the 1990s—such as economic and political liberalization—are prone to “fits and starts” and probably will depend on progress in multilateral negotiations, improvements in national governance, and the reduction of conflicts. The freer flow of people across national borders will continue to face social and political obstacles even when there is a pressing need for migrant workers.

“India and China probably will be among the economic heavyweights or ‘haves.’’

What Would An Asian Face on Globalization Look Like?

Rising Asia will continue to reshape globalization, giving it less of a “Made in the USA” character and more of an Asian look and feel. At the same time, Asia will alter the rules of the globalizing process. By having the fastest-growing consumer markets, more firms becoming world-class multinationals, and greater S&T stature, Asia looks set to displace Western countries as the focus for international economic dynamism—provided Asia’s rapid economic growth continues. Asian finance ministers have considered establishing an Asian monetary fund that would operate along different lines from IMF, attaching fewer strings on currency swaps and giving Asian decision-makers more leeway from the “Washington macro-economic consensus.”

  • In terms of capital flows, rising Asia may still accumulate large currency reserves—currently $850 billion in Japan, $500 billion in China, $190 billion in Korea, and $120 billion in India, or collectively three-quarters of global reserves—but the percentage held in dollars will fall. A basket of reserve currencies including the yen, renminbi, and possibly rupee probably will become standard practice.
  • Interest-rate decisions taken by Asian central bankers will impact other global financial markets, including New York and London, and the returns from Asian stock markets are likely to become an increasing global benchmark for portfolio managers.

As governments devote more resources to basic research and development, rising Asia will continue to attract applied technology from around the world, including cutting-edge technology, which should boost their high performance sectors. We already anticipate (as stated in the text) that the Asian giants may use the power of their markets to set industry standards, rather than adopting those promoted by Western nations or international standards bodies. The international intellectual property rights regime will be profoundly molded by IPR regulatory and law enforcement practices in East and South Asia.

Increased labor force participation in the global economy, especially by China, India, and Indonesia, will have enormous effects, possibly spurring internal and regional migrations. Either way it will have a large impact, determining the relative size of the world’s greatest new “mega-cities” and, perhaps, act as a key variable for political stability/instability for decades to come. To the degree that these vast internal migrations spill over national borders—currently, only a miniscule fraction of China’s 100 million internal migrants end up abroad—they could have major repercussions for other regions, including Europe and North America.

An expanded Asian-centric cultural identity may be the most profound effect of a rising Asia. Asians have already begun to reduce the percentage of students who travel to Europe and North America with Japan and—most striking—China becoming educational magnets. A new, more Asian cultural identity is likely to be rapidly packaged and distributed as incomes rise and communications networks spread. Korean pop singers are already the rage in Japan, Japanese anime have many fans in China, and Chinese kung-fu movies and Bollywood song-and-dance epics are viewed throughout Asia. Even Hollywood has begun to reflect these Asian influences—an effect that is likely to accelerate through 2020..

Moreover, the character of globalization probably will change just as capitalism changed over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. While today’s most advanced nations—especially the United States—will remain important forces driving capital, technology and goods, globalization is likely to take on much more of a “non-Western face” over the next 15 years.

  • Most of the increase in world population and consumer demand through 2020 will take place in today’s developing nations—especially China, India, and Indonesia—and multinational companies from today’s advanced nations will adapt their “profiles” and business practices to the demands of these cultures.
  • Able to disperse technology widely and promote economic progress in the developing world, corporations already are seeking to be “good citizens” by allowing the retention of non-Western practices in the workplaces in which they operate. Corporations are in the position to make globalization more palatable to people concerned about preserving unique cultures.
  • New or expanding corporations from countries lifted up by globalization will make their presence felt globally through trade and investments abroad.
  • Countries that have benefited and are now in position to weigh in will seek more power in international bodies and greater influence on the “rules of the game.”
  • In our interactions, many foreign experts have noted that while popular opinion in their countries favors the material benefits of globalization, citizens are opposed to its perceived “Americanization,” which they see as threatening to their cultural and religious values. The conflation of globalization with US values has in turn fueled anti-Americanism in some parts of the world. “…the world economy is projected to be about 80 percent larger in 2020 than it was in 2000, and average per capita income to be roughly 50 percent higher.”

Currently, about two-thirds of the world’s population live in countries that are connected to the global economy. Even by 2020, however, the benefits of globalization won’t be global. Over the next 15 years, gaps will widen between those countries benefiting from globalization—economically, technologically, and socially—and those underdeveloped nations or pockets within nations that are left behind. Indeed, we see the next 15 years as a period in which the perceptions of the contradictions and uncertainties of a globalized world come even more to the fore than is the case today.

An Expanding and Integrating Global Economy

The world economy is projected to be about 80 percent larger in 2020 than it was in 2000 and average per capita income to be roughly 50 percent higher. Large parts of the world will enjoy unprecedented prosperity, and a numerically large middle class will be created for the first time in some formerly poor countries. The social structures in

What Could Derail Globalization?

The process of globalization, powerful as it is, could be substantially slowed or even stopped. Short of a major global conflict, which we regard as improbable, another large-scale development that we believe could stop globalization would be a pandemic. However, other catastrophic developments, such as terrorist attacks, could slow its speed.

Some experts believe it is only a matter of time before a new pandemic appears, such as the 1918–1919 influenza virus that killed an estimated 20 million worldwide. Such a pandemic in megacities of the developing world with poor health-care systems—in Sub-Saharan Africa, China, India, Bangladesh or Pakistan—would be devastating and could spread rapidly throughout the world. Globalization would be endangered if the death toll rose into the millions in several major countries and the spread of the disease put a halt to global travel and trade during an extended period, prompting governments to expend enormous resources on overwhelmed health sectors. On the positive side of the ledger, the response to SARS showed that international surveillance and control mechanisms are becoming more adept at containing diseases, and new developments in biotechnologies hold the promise of continued improvement.

A slow-down could result from a pervasive sense of economic and physical insecurity that led governments to put controls on the flow of capital, goods, people, and technology that stalled economic growth. Such a situation could come about in response to terrorist attacks killing tens or even hundreds of thousands in several US cities or in Europe or to widespread cyber attacks on information technology. Border controls and restrictions on technology exchanges would increase economic transaction costs and hinder innovation and economic growth. Other developments that could stimulate similar restrictive policies include a popular backlash against globalization prompted, perhaps, by white collar rejection of outsourcing in the wealthy countries and/or resistance in poor countries whose peoples saw themselves as victims of globalization. those developing countries will be transformed as growth creates a greater middle class. Over a long time frame, there is the potential, so long as the expansion continues, for more traditionally poor countries to be pulled closer into the globalization circle. Most forecasts to 2020 and beyond continue to show higher annual growth for developing countries than for high-income ones. Countries such as China and India will be in a position to achieve higher economic growth than Europe and Japan, whose aging work forces may inhibit their growth. Given its enormous population— and assuming a reasonable degree of real currency appreciation—the dollar value of China’s gross national product (GNP) may be the second largest in the world by 2020. For similar reasons, the value of India’s output could match that of a large European country. The economies of other developing countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, could surpass all but the largest European economies by 2020.

  • Even with all their dynamic growth, Asia’s “giants” and others are not likely to compare qualitatively to the economies of the US or even some of the other rich countries. They will have some dynamic, world-class sectors, but more of their populations will work on farms, their capital stocks will be less sophisticated, and their financial systems are likely to be less efficient than those of other wealthy countries.

Continued Economic Turbulence.

Sustained high-growth rates have historical precedents. China already has had about two decades of 7 percent and higher growth rates, and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have managed in the past to achieve annual rates averaging around 10 percent for a long period. Fast-developing countries have historically suffered sudden setbacks, however, and economic turbulence is increasingly likely to spill over and upset broader international relations. Many emerging markets—such as Mexico in the mid-1990s and Asian countries in the late 1990s—suffered negative effects from the abrupt reversals of capital movements, and China and India may encounter similar problems. The scale of the potential reversals would be unprecedented, and it is unclear whether current international financial mechanisms would be in a position to forestall wider economic disruption.

“Competitive pressures will force companies based in the advanced economies to ‘outsource’ many blue- and white-collar jobs.” With the gradual integration of China, India, and other developing countries into the global economy, hundreds of millions of working-age adults will join what is becoming, through trade and investment flows, a more interrelated world labor market. World patterns of production, trade, employment, and wages will be transformed.

  • This enormous work force—a growing portion of which will be well educated—will be an attractive, competitive source of low-cost labor at the same time that technological innovation is expanding the range of globally mobile occupations.
  • Competition from these workers will increase job “churning,” necessitate professional retooling, and restrain wage growth in some occupations. Where these labor market pressures lead will depend on how political leaders and policymakers respond. Against the backdrop of a global economic recession, such resources could unleash widespread protectionist sentiments. As long as sufficiently robust economic growth and labor market flexibility are sustained, however, intense international competition is unlikely to cause net job “loss” in the advanced economies.
  • The large number of new service sector jobs that will be created in India and elsewhere in the developing world, for example, will likely exceed the supply of workers with those specific skills in the advanced economies.
  • Job turnover in advanced economies will continue to be driven more by technological change and the vicissitudes of domestic rather than international competition. Mobility and Laggards. Although the living standards of many people in developing and underdeveloped countries will rise over the next 15 years, per capita incomes in most countries will not compare to those of Western nations by 2020. There will continue to be large numbers of poor even in the rapidly emerging economies, and the proportion of those in the middle stratum is likely to be significantly less than is the case for today’s developed nations. Experts estimate it could take China another 30 years beyond 2020 for per capita incomes to reach current rates in developed economies.
  • Even if, as one study estimates, China’s middle class could make up as much as 40 percent of its population by 2020—double what it is now—it would be still well below the 60 percent level for the US. And per capita income for China’s middle class would be substantially less than equivalents in the West.
  • In India, there are now estimated to be some 300 million middle-income earners making $2,000-$4,000 a year. Both the number of middle earners and their income levels are likely to rise rapidly, but their incomes will continue to be substantially below averages in the US and other rich countries even by 2020.
  • However, a $3,000 annual income is considered sufficient to spur car purchases in Asia; thus rapidly rising income levels for a growing middle class will combine to mean a huge consumption explosion, which is already evident.

Widening income and regional disparities will not be incompatible with a growing middle class and increasing overall wealth. In India, although much of the west and south may have a large middle class by 2020, a number of regions such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa will remain underdeveloped.

Moreover, countries not connected to the world economy will continue to suffer. Even the most optimistic forecasts admit that economic growth fueled by globalization will leave many countries in poverty over the next 15 years. •Scenarios developed by the World Bank indicate, for example, that Sub-Saharan Africa will be far behind even under the most optimistic scenario. The region currently has the largest share of people living on less than $1 per day.

If the growing problem of abject poverty and bad governance in troubled states in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eurasia, the Middle East, and Latin America persists, these areas will become more fertile grounds for terrorism, organized crime, and pandemic disease. Forced migration also is likely to be an important dimension of any downward spiral. The international community is likely to face choices about whether, how, and at what cost to intervene.

“…the greatest benefits of globalization will accrue to countries and groups that can access and adopt new technologies.”

The Technology Revolution

The trend toward rapid, global diffusion of technology will continue, although the stepped-up technology revolution will not benefit everyone equally.

  • Among the drivers of the growing availability of technology will be the growing two-way flow of high-tech brain power between developing countries and Western countries, the increasing size of the technologically literate workforce in some developing countries, and efforts by multinational corporations to diversify their high-tech operations.

New technology applications will foster dramatic improvements in human knowledge and individual well-being. Such benefits include medical breakthroughs that begin to cure or mitigate some common diseases and stretch lifespans, applications that improve food and potable water production, and expansion of wireless communications and language translation technologies that will facilitate transnational business, commercial, and even social and political relationships.

Moreover, future technology trends will be marked not only by accelerating advancements in individual technologies but also by a force-multiplying convergence of the technologies— information, biological, materials, and nanotechnologies—that have the potential to revolutionize all dimensions of life. Materials enabled with nanotechnology’s sensors and facilitated by information technology will produce myriad devices that will enhance health and alter business practices and models. Such materials will provide new knowledge about environment, improve security, and reduce privacy. Such interactions of these technology trends— coupled with agile manufacturing methods and equipment as well as energy, water, and transportation technologies—will help China’s and India’s prospects for joining the “First World.” Both countries are investing in basic research in these fields and are well placed to be leaders in a number of key fields. Europe risks slipping behind Asia in creating some of these technologies.

The United States is still in a position to retain its overall lead, although it must increasingly compete with Asia and may lose significant ground in some sectors. To Adaptive Nations Go Technology ‘s Spoils. The gulf between “haves” and “have-nots” may widen as the greatest benefits of globalization accrue to countries and groups that can access and.35 adopt new technologies. Indeed, a nation’s level of technological achievement generally will be defined in terms of its investment in integrating and applying the new, globally available technologies—whether the technologies are acquired through a country’s own basic research or from technology leaders. Nations that remain behind in adopting technologies are likely to be those that have failed to pursue policies that support application of new technologies—such as good governance, universal education, and market reforms—and not solely because they are poor.

Those that employ such policies can leapfrog stages of development, skipping over phases that other high-tech leaders such as the United States and Europe had to traverse in order to advance. China and India are well positioned to achieve such breakthroughs. Yet, even the poorest countries will be able to leverage prolific, cheap technologies to fuel—although at a slower rate—their own development.

  • As nations like China and India surge forward in funding critical science and engineering education, research, and other infrastructure investments, they will make considerable strides in manufacturing and marketing a full range of technology applications— from software and pharmaceuticals to wireless sensors and smart-materials products.

Rapid technological advances outside the United States could enable other countries to set the rules for design, standards, and implementation, and for molding privacy, information security, and intellectual property rights (IPR). •Indeed, international IPR enforcement is on course for dramatic change. Countries like China and India will, because of the purchasing power of their huge markets, be able to shape the implementation of some technologies and step on the intellectual property rights of others. The attractiveness of these large markets will tempt multinational firms to overlook IPR indiscretions that only minimally affect their bottom lines. Additionally, as many of the expected advancements in technology are anticipated to be in medicine, there will be increasing pressure from a humanitarian and moral perspective to “release” the property rights “for the good of mankind.”

Nations also will face serious challenges in oversight, control, and prohibition of sensitive technologies. With the same technology, such as sensors, computing, communication, and materials, increasingly being developed for a range of applications in both everyday, commercial settings and in critical military applications the monitoring and control of the export of technological components will become more difficult. Moreover, joint ventures, globalized markets and the growing proportion of private sector capital in basic R&D will undermine nation-state efforts to keep tabs on sensitive technologies.

  • Questions concerning a country’s ethical practices in the technology realm—such as with genetically modified foods, data privacy, biological material research, concealable sensors, and biometric devices—may become an increasingly important factor in international trade policy and foreign relations..

Biotechnology: Panacea and Weapon

The biotechnological revolution is at a relatively early stage, and major advances in the biological sciences coupled with information technology will continue to punctuate the 21st century. Research will continue to foster important discoveries in innovative medical and public health technologies, environmental remediation, agriculture, biodefense, and related fields.

On the positive side, biotechnology could be a “leveling” agent between developed and developing nations, spreading dramatic economic and healthcare enhancements to the neediest areas of the world.

  • Possible breakthroughs in biomedicine such as an antiviral barrier will reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, helping to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa and diminishing the potentially serious drag on economic growth in developing countries like India and China. Biotechnology research and innovations derived from continued US investments in Homeland Security—such as new therapies that might block a pathogen’s ability to enter the body—may eventually have revolutionary healthcare applications that extend beyond protecting the US from a terrorist attack.
  • More developing countries probably will invest in indigenous biotechnology developments, while competitive market pressures increasingly will induce firms and research institutions to seek technically capable partners in developing countries. However, even as the dispersion of biotechnology promises a means of improving the quality of life, it also poses a major security concern. As biotechnology information becomes more widely available, the number of people who can potentially misuse such information and wreak widespread loss of life will increase. An attacker would appear to have an easier job—because of the large array of possibilities available—than the defender, who must prepare against them all. Moreover, as biotechnology advances become more ubiquitous, stopping the progress of offensive BW programs will become increasingly difficult. Over the next 10 to 20 years there is a risk that advances in biotechnology will augment not only defensive measures but also offensive biological warfare (BW) agent development and allow the creation of advanced biological agents designed to target specific systems—human, animal, or crop.

Lastly, some biotechnology techniques that may facilitate major improvements in health also will spur serious ethical and privacy concerns over such matters as comprehensive genetic profiling; stem cell research; and the possibility of discovering DNA signatures that indicate predisposition for disease, certain cognitive abilities, or anti-social behavior..

At the same time, technology will be a source of tension in 2020: from competition over creating and attracting the most critical component of technological advancement—people—to resistance among some cultural or political groups to the perceived privacy-robbing or homogenizing effects of pervasive technology.

Lingering Social Inequalities

Even with the potential for technological breakthroughs and the dispersion of new technologies, which could help reduce inequalities, significant social welfare disparities within the developing and between developing and OECD countries will remain until 2020.

Over the next 15 years, illiteracy rates of people 15 years and older will fall, according to UNESCO, but they will still be 17 times higher in poor and developing countries than those in OECD 5 countries. Moreover, illiteracy rates among women will be almost twice as high as those among men. Between 1950 and 1980 life expectancy between the more- and less-developed nations began to converge markedly; this probably will continue to be the case for many developing countries, including the most populous. However, by US Census Bureau projections, over 40 countries— including many African countries, Central Asian states, and Russia—are projected

5 The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an outgrowth of the Marshall Plan-era Organization for European Economic Cooperation, boasts 30 members from among developed and emerging-market nations and active relationships with 70 others around the world. to have a lower life expectancy in 2010 than they did in 1990.

Even if effective HIV/AIDS prevention measures are adopted in various countries, the social and economic impact of the millions already infected with the disease will play out over the next 15 years.

  • The rapid rise in adult deaths caused by AIDS has left an unprecedented number of orphans in Africa. Today in some African countries one in ten children is an orphan, and the situation is certain to worsen. The debilitation and death of millions of people resulting from the AIDS pandemic will have a growing impact on the economies of the hardest-hit countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 20 million are believed to have died from HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s. Studies show that household incomes drop by 50 to 80 percent when key earners become infected. In “second wave” HIV/AIDS countries—Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, India, China, Brazil, Ukraine, and the Central Asian states—the disease will continue to spread beyond traditional high-risk groups into the general population. As HIV/AIDS spreads, it has the potential to derail the economic prospects of many up-and-coming economic powers..

The Status of Women

By 2020, women will have gained more rights and freedoms—in terms of education, political participation, and work force equality—in most parts of the world, but UN and World Health Organization data suggest that the gender gap will not have been closed even in the developed countries and still will be wide in developing regions. Although women’s share in the global work force will continue to rise, wage gaps and regional disparities will persist.

  • Although the difference between women’s and men’s earnings narrowed during the past 10 years, women continue to receive less pay than men. For example, a UN study in 2002 showed that in 27 of 39 countries surveyed—both in OECD and developing countries—women’s wages were 20 to 50 percent less than men’s for work in manufacturing.

Certain factors will tend to work against gender equality while others will have a positive impact.

Factors Impeding Equality

In regions where high youth bulges intersect with historical patterns of patriarchal bias, the added pressure on infrastructure will mean intensified competition for limited public resources and an increased probability that females will not receive equal treatment. For instance, if schools cannot educate all, boys are likely to be given first priority. Yet views are changing among the younger generation. In the Middle East, for example, many younger Muslims recognize the importance of educated wives as potential contributors to family income.

In countries such as China and India, where there is a pervasive “son preference” reinforced by government population control policies, women face increased risk not only of female infanticide but also of kidnapping and smuggling from surrounding regions for the disproportionately greater number of unattached males. Thus far, the preference for male children in China has led to an estimated shortfall of 30 million women.

Such statistics suggest that the global female trafficking industry, which already earns an estimated $4 billion every year, is likely to expand, making it the second most profitable criminal activity behind global drug trafficking.

The feminization of HIV/AIDS is another worrisome trend. Findings from the July 2004 Global AIDS conference held in Bangkok reveal that the percentage of HIV-infected women is rising on every continent and in every major region in the world except Western Europe and Australia. Young women comprise 75 percent of those between the ages of 15 to 24 who are infected with HIV globally.

The Status of Women in 2020

Factors Contributing to Equality

A broader reform agenda that includes good governance and low unemployment levels is essential to raising the status of women in many countries. International development experts emphasize that while good governance need not fit a Western democratic mold, it must deliver stability through inclusiveness and accountability. Reducing unemployment levels is crucial because countries already unable to provide employment for male job-seekers are not likely to improve employment opportunities for women.

The spread of information and communication technologies (ICT) offers great promise. According to World Bank analysis, increases in the level of ICT infrastructure tend to improve gender equality in education and employment. ICT also will enable women to form social and political networks. For regions suffering political oppression, particularly in the Middle East, these networks could become a 21 st century counterpart to the 1980s’ Solidarity Movement against the Communist regime in Poland. Women in developing regions often turn to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide basic services. NGOs could become even more important to the status of women by 2020 as women in developing countries face increased threats and acquire

IT networking capabilities.

The current trend toward decentralization and devolution of power in most states will afford women increased opportunities for political participation. Despite only modest gains in the number of female officeholders at the national level—women currently are heads of state in only eight countries—female participation in local and provincial politics is steadily rising and will especially benefit rural women removed from the political center of a country.

Other Benefits

The stakes for achieving gender parity are high and not just for women. A growing body of empirical literature suggests that gender equality in education promotes economic growth and reduces child mortality and malnutrition. At the Millennium Summit, UN leaders pledged to achieve gender equity in primary and secondary education by the year 2005 in every country of the world.

  • By 2005, the 45 countries that are not on course to meet the UN targets suffered 1 to 3 percent lower GDP per capita growth as a result

Fictional Scenario: Davos World

This scenario provides an illustration of how robust economic growth over the next 15 years could reshape the globalization process—giving it a more non-Western face. It is depicted in the form of a hypothetical letter from the head of the World Economic Forum to a former US Federal Reserve chairman on the eve of the annual Davos meeting in 2020. Under this scenario, the Asian giants as well as other developing states continue to outpace most “Western” economies, and their huge, consumer-driven domestic markets become a major focus for global business and technology. Many boats are lifted, but some founder. Africa does better than one might think, while some medium-sized emerging countries are squeezed. Western powers, including the United States, have to contend with job insecurity despite the many benefits to be derived from an expanding global economy. Although benefiting from energy price increases, the Middle East lags behind and threatens the future of globalization. In addition, growing tensions over Taiwan may be on the verge of triggering an economic meltdown. At the end of the scenario, we identify some lessons to be drawn from our fictional account, including the need for more management by leaders lest globalization slip off the rails.

Rising Powers: The Changing Geopolitical Landscape

The likely emergence of China and India as new major global players—similar to the rise of Germany in the 19th century and the United States in the early 20 th century—will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those of the previous two centuries. In the same way that commentators refer to the 1900s as the

“American Century,” the early 21st century may be seen as the time when some in the developing world, led by China and India, come into their own.

  • The population of the region that served as the locus for most 20 th -century history—Europe and Russia— will decline dramatically in relative terms; almost all population growth will occur in developing nations that until recently have occupied places on the fringes of the global economy (see graphic on page 48).
  • The “arriviste” powers—China, India, and perhaps others such as Brazil and Indonesia—could usher in a new set of international alignments, potentially marking a definitive break with some of the post-World War II institutions and practices.
  • Only an abrupt reversal of the process of globalization or a major upheaval in these countries would prevent their rise. Yet how China and India 6 CIA, Long-Term Global Demographic Trends: Reshaping the Geopolitical Landscape, July 2001. exercise their growing power and whether they relate cooperatively or competitively to other powers in the international system are key uncertainties.

A combination of sustained high economic growth, expanding military capabilities, active promotion of high technologies, and large populations will be at the root of the expected rapid rise in economic and political power for both countries.

  • Because of the sheer size of China’s and India’s populations—projected by the US Census Bureau to be 1.4 billion and almost 1.3 billion respectively by 2020—their standard of living need not approach Western levels for these countries to become important economic powers.
  • China, for example, is now the third largest producer of manufactured goods, its share having risen from four to 12 percent in the past decade. It should easily surpass Japan in a few years, not only in share of manufacturing but also of the world’s exports. Competition from “the China price” already powerfully restrains manufactures prices worldwide.
  • India currently lags behind China (see box on page 53) on most economic measures, but most economists believe it also will sustain high levels of economic growth..48

At the same time, other changes are likely to shape the new landscape. These include the possible economic rise of other states—such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, and even Russia— which may reinforce the growing role of China and India even though by themselves these other countries would have more limited geopolitical impact. Finally, we do not discount the possibility of a stronger, more united Europe and a more internationally activist Japan, although Europe, Japan, and Russia will be hard pressed to deal with aging populations.

The growing demand for energy will drive many of these likely changes on the geopolitical landscape. China’s and India’s perceived need to secure access to energy supplies will propel these countries to become more global rather than just regional powers, while Europe and Russia’s co-dependency is likely to be strengthened.

Rising Asia

China’s desire to gain “great power” status on the world stage will be reflected in its greater economic leverage over.49 countries in the region and elsewhere as well as its steps to strengthen its military. East Asian states are adapting to the advent of a more powerful China by forging closer economic and political ties with Beijing, potentially accommodating themselves to its preferences, particularly on sensitive issues like Taiwan.

  • Japan, Taiwan, and various Southeast Asian nations, however, also may try to appeal to each other and the United States to counterbalance China’s growing influence.

China will continue to strengthen its military through developing and acquiring modern weapons, including advanced fighter aircraft, sophisticated submarines, and increasing numbers of ballistic missiles. China will overtake Russia and others as the second largest defense spender after the United States over the next two decades and will be, by any measure, a first-rate military power. Economic setbacks and crises of confidence could slow China’s emergence as a full-scale great power, however. Beijing’s failure to maintain its economic growth would itself have a global impact.

  • Chinese Government failure to satisfy popular needs for job creation could trigger political unrest.
  • Faced with a rapidly aging society beginning in the 2020s, China may be hard pressed to deal with all the issues linked to such serious demographic problems. It is unlikely to have developed by then the same coping mechanisms—such as sophisticated pension and health-care systems—characteristic of Western societies.
  • If China’s economy takes a downward turn, regional security would weaken, resulting in heightened prospects for political instability, crime, narcotics trafficking, and illegal migration. “Economic setbacks and crises of confidence could slow China’s emergence as a full-scale great power…. ”

The rise of India also will present strategic complications for the region. Like China, India will be an economic magnet for the region, and its rise will have an impact not only in Asia but also to the north—Central Asia, Iran, and other countries of the Middle East. India seeks to bolster regional cooperation both for strategic reasons and because of its desire to increase its leverage with the West, including in such organizations as the World Trade Organization (WTO

As India’s economy grows, governments in Southeast Asia—Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and other countries—may move closer to India to help build a potential geopolitical counterweight to China. At the same time, India will seek to strengthen its ties with countries in the region without excluding China.

  • Chinese-Indian bilateral trade is expected to rise rapidly from its current small base of $7.6 billion, according to Goldman Sachs and other experts.

Just like China, India may stumble and experience political and economic volatility with pressure on resources— land, water, and energy supplies— intensifying as it modernizes. For example, India will face stark choices as its population increases and its surface and ground water become even more polluted.

Other Rising States?

Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa also are poised to achieve economic growth, although they are unlikely to exercise the same political clout as China or India. Their growth undoubtedly will benefit their neighbors, but they appear unlikely to become such economic engines that they will be able to alter the flow of economic power within and through their.

Risks to Chinese Economic Growth

Whether China’s rise occurs smoothly is a key uncertainty. In 2003, the RAND Corporation identified and assessed eight major risks to the continued rapid growth of China’s economy over the next decade. Its “Fault Lines in China’s Economic Terrain” highlighted:

  • Fragility of the financial system and state-owned enterprises
  • Economic effects of corruption
  • Water resources and pollution
  • Possible shrinkage of foreign direct investment
  • HIV/AIDS and epidemic diseases
  • Unemployment, poverty, and social unrest
  • Energy consumption and prices
  • Taiwan and other potential conflicts

RAND’s estimates of the negative growth impact of these adverse developments occurring separately on a one-at-a-time basis range from a low of between 0.3 and 0.8 percentage points for the effects of poverty, social unrest, and unemployment to a high of between 1.8 and 2.2 percentage points for epidemic disease.

  • The study assessed the probability that none of these developments would occur before 2015 as low and noted that they would be more likely to occur in clusters rather than individually – financial distress, for example, would also worsen corruption, compound unemployment, poverty, and social unrest, and reduce foreign direct investment.
  • RAND assessed the probability of all of these adverse developments occurring before 2015 as very low but estimated that should they all occur their cumulative effect would be to reduce Chinese economic growth by between 7.4 and 10.7 percentage points—effectively wiping out growth during that time frame..

India vs. China: Long-Term Prospects

India lags economically behind China, according to most measures such as overall GDP, amount of foreign investment (today a small fraction of China’s), and per capita income. In recent years, India’s growth rate has lagged China’s by about 20 percent. Nevertheless, some experts believe that India might overtake China as the fastest growing economy in the world. India has several factors working for it:

  • Its working-age population will continue to increase well into the 2020s, whereas, due to the one-child policy, China’s will diminish and age quite rapidly. •India has well-entrenched democratic institutions, making it somewhat less vulnerable to political instability, whereas China faces the continuous challenge of reconciling an increasingly urban and middle-class population with an essentially authoritarian political system.
  • India possesses working capital markets and world-class firms in some important high-tech sectors, which China has yet to achieve.

On the other hand, while India has clearly evolved beyond what the Indians themselves referred to as the 2-3 percent “Hindu growth rate,” the legacy of a stifling bureaucracy still remains. The country is not yet attractive for foreign investment and faces strong political challenges as it continues down the path of economic reform. India is also faced with the burden of having a much larger proportion of its population in desperate poverty. In addition, some observers see communal tensions just below the surface, citing the overall decline of secularism, growth of regional and caste-based political parties, and the 2002 “pogrom” against the Muslim minority in Gujarat as evidence of a worsening trend. Several factors could weaken China’s prospects for economic growth, especially the risks to political stability and the challenges facing China’s financial sector as it moves toward a fuller market orientation. China might find its own path toward an “Asian democracy” that may not involve major instability or disruption to its economic growth—but there are a large number of unknowns.

In many other respects, both China and India still resemble other developing states in the problems each must overcome, including the large numbers, particularly in rural areas, who have not enjoyed major benefits from economic growth. Both also face a potentially serious HIV/AIDS epidemic that could seriously affect economic prospects if not brought under control. According to recent UN data, India has overtaken South Africa as the country with the largest number of HIV-infected people.

The bottom line: India would be hard-pressed to accelerate economic growth rates to levels above those reached by China in the past decade. But China’s ability to sustain its current pace is probably more at risk than is India’s; should China’s growth slow by several percentage points, India could emerge as the world’s fastest-growing economy as we head towards 2020.. regions—a key element in Beijing and New Delhi’s political and economic rise.

Experts acknowledge that Brazil is a pivotal state with a vibrant democracy, a diversified economy and an entrepreneurial population, a large national patrimony, and solid economic institutions. Brazil’s success or failure in balancing pro-growth economic measures with an ambitious social agenda that reduces poverty and income inequality will have a profound impact on region-wide economic performance and governance during the next 15 years. Luring foreign direct investment and advancing regional stability and equitable integration—including trade and economic infrastructure—probably will remain axioms of Brazilian foreign policy. Brazil is a natural partner both for the United States and Europe and for rising powers China and India and has the potential to enhance its leverage as a net exporter of oil.

Experts assess that over the course of the next decade and a half Indonesia may revert to high growth of 6 to 7 percent, which along with its expected increase in its relatively large population from 226 to around 250 million would make it one of the largest developing economies. Such high growth would presume an improved investment environment, including intellectual property rights protection and openness to foreign investment. With slower growth its economy would be unable to absorb the unemployed or under-employed labor force, thus heightening the risk of greater political instability. Indonesia is an amalgam of divergent ethnic and religious groups. Although an Indonesian national identity has been forged in the five decades since independence, the government is still beset by stubborn secessionist movements.

Russia’s energy resources will give a boost to economic growth, but Russia faces a severe demographic challenge resulting from low birth rates, poor medical care, and a potentially explosive AIDS situation. US Census Bureau projections show the working-age population likely to shrink dramatically by 2020. Russia’s present trajectory away from pluralism toward bureaucratic authoritarianism also decreases the chances it will be able to attract foreign investment outside the energy sector, limiting prospects for diversifying its economy. The problems along its southern borders—including Islamic extremism, terrorism, weak states with poor governance, and conflict—are likely to get worse over the next 15 years. Inside Russia, the autonomous republics in North Caucasus risk failure and will remain a source of endemic tension and conflict. While these social and political factors limit the extent to which Russia can be a major global player, in the complex world of 2020 Russia could be an important, if troubled, partner both for the established powers, such as the United States and Europe, and the rising powers of China and India. The potential also exists for Russia to enhance its leverage with others as a result of its position as a major oil and gas exporter..

Asia: The Cockpit for Global Change?

According to the regional experts we consulted, Asia will exemplify most of the trends that we see as shaping the world over the next 15 years. Northeast and Southeast Asia will progress along divergent paths—the countries of the North will become wealthier and more powerful, while at least some states in the South may lag economically and will continue to face deep ethnic and religious cleavages. As Northeast Asia acts as a political and economic center of gravity for the countries of the South, parts of Southeast Asia will be a source of transnational threats—terrorism and organized crime—to the countries of the North. The North/South divisions are likely to be reflected in a cultural split between non-Muslim Northeast Asia, which will adapt to the continuing spread of globalization, and Southeast Asia, where Islamic fundamentalism may increasingly make inroads in such states as Indonesia, Malaysia, and parts of The Philippines. The diversion of investment towards China and India also could spur Southeast Asia to implement plans for a single economic community and investment area by 2020.

The experts also felt that demographic factors will play a key role in shaping regional developments. China and other countries in Northeast Asia, including South Korea, will experience a slowing of population growth and a “graying” of their peoples over the next 15 years. China also will have to face the consequences of a gender imbalance caused by its one-child policy. In Southeast Asian countries such as The Philippines and Indonesia, rising populations will challenge the capacity of governments to provide basic services. Population and poverty pressures will spur migration within the region and to Northeast Asia. High population concentrations and increasing ease of travel will facilitate the spread of infectious diseases, risking the outbreak of pandemics. The regional experts felt that the possibility of major inter-state conflict remains higher in Asia than in other regions. In their view, the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan Strait crises are likely to come to a head by 2020, risking conflict with global repercussions. At the same time, violence within Southeast Asian states—in the form of separatist insurgencies and terrorism—could intensify. China also could face sustained armed unrest from separatist movements along its western borders. Finally, the roles of and interaction between the region’s major powers—China, Japan, and the US—will undergo significant change by 2020. The United States and China have strong incentives to avoid confrontation, but rising nationalism in China and fears in the US of China as an emerging strategic competitor could fuel an increasingly antagonistic relationship. Japan’s relationship with the US and China will be shaped by China’s rise and the nature of any settlement on the Korean Peninsula and over Taiwan..

“Russia’s energy resources will give a boost to economic growth, but Russia faces a severe demographic challenge…[with its] working-age population likely to shrink dramatically.” South Africa will continue to be challenged by AIDS and widespread crime and poverty, but prospects for its economy—the largest in the region—look promising. According to some forecasts, South Africa’s economy is projected to grow over the next decade in the 4- to 5-percent range if reformist policies are implemented. Experts disagree over whether South Africa can be an engine for more than southern Africa or will instead forge closer relationships with middling or up-and-coming powers on other continents. South African experts adept at scenario-building and gaming see the country’s future as lying with partnerships formed outside the region.

The “Aging” Powers

Japan’s economic interests in Asia have shifted from Southeast Asia toward Northeast Asia—especially China and the China-Japan-Korea triangle—over the past two decades and experts believe the aging of Japan’s work force will reinforce dependence on outbound investment and greater economic integration with Northeast Asia, especially China  .At the same time, Japanese concerns regarding regional stability are likely to grow owing to the ongoing crisis over North Korea, continuing tensions between China and 7 Asia’s Shifting Strategic Landscape, Foreign Policy Research Institute, 26 November 2003. Taiwan and the challenge of integrating rising China and India without major disruption. If anything, growing Chinese economic power is likely to spur increased activism by Japan on the world stage.

Opinion polls indicate growing public support for Japan becoming a more “normal” country with a proactive foreign policy. Experts see various trajectories that Japan could follow depending on such factors as the extent of China’s growing strength, a resurgence or lack of continued vitality in Japan’s economy, the level of US influence in the region and how developments in Korea and Taiwan play out. At some point, for example, Japan may have to choose between “balancing” against or “bandwagoning” with China. “…Europe’s strength may be in providing… a model of global and regional governance to the rising powers…”

By most measures—market size, single currency, highly skilled work force, stable democratic governments, unified trade bloc, and GDP—an enlarged Europe will have the ability to increase its weight on the international scene. Its crossroads location and the growing diversity of its population—particularly in pulling in new members—provides it with a unique ability to forge strong bonds both to the south with the Muslim world and Africa and to the east with Russia and Eurasia.. The extent to which Europe enhances its clout on the world stage depends on its ability to achieve greater political cohesion. In the short term, taking in ten new east European members probably will be a “drag” on the deepening of European Union (EU) institutions necessary for the development of a cohesive and shared “strategic vision” for the EU’s foreign and security policy.

  • Unlike the expansion when Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece joined the Common Market in the 1970s and early 1980s, Brussels has a fraction of the structural funds available for quickly bringing up the Central Europeans to the economic levels of the rest of the EU.
  • Possible Turkish membership presents both challenges—because of Turkey’s size and religious and cultural differences—as well as opportunities, provided that mutual acceptance and agreement can be achieved. In working through the problems, a path might be found that can help Europe to accommodate and integrate its growing Muslim population.

Defense spending by individual European countries, including the UK, France, and Germany is likely to fall further behind China and other countries over the next 15 years. Collectively these countries will outspend all others except the US and possibly China

. EU member states historically have had difficulties in coordinating and rationalizing defense spending in such a way as to boost capabilities despite progress on a greater EU security and defense role. Whether the EU will develop an army is an open question, in part because its creation could duplicate or displace NATO forces. While its military forces have little capacity for power projection, Europe’s strength may be in providing, through its commitment to multilateralism, a model of global and regional governance to the rising powers, particularly if they are searching for a “Western” alternative to strong reliance on the United States. For example, an EU-China alliance, though still unlikely, is no longer unthinkable. Aging populations and shrinking work forces in most countries will have an important impact on the continent, creating a serious but not insurmountable economic and political challenge. Europe’s total fertility rate is about 1.4— well below the 2.1 replacement level. Over the next 15 years, West European economies will need to find several million workers to fill positions vacated by retiring workers. Either European countries adapt their work forces, reform their social welfare, education, and tax systems, and accommodate growing immigrant populations (chiefly from Muslim countries) or they face a period of protracted economic stasis that could threaten the huge successes made in creating a more United Europe..

Global Aging and Migration

According to US Census Bureau projections, about half of the world’s population lives in countries or territories whose fertility rates are not sufficient to replace their current populations. This includes not only Europe, Russia, and Japan, where the problem is particularly severe, but also most parts of developed regions such as Australia, New Zealand, North America, and East Asian countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. Certain countries in the developing world, including Arab and Muslim states such as Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, and Lebanon, also are dropping below the level of 2.1 children per woman necessary to maintain long-term population stability.9 China is a special case where the transition to an aging population—nearly 400 million Chinese will be over 65 by 2020—is particularly abrupt and the emergence of a serious gender imbalance could have increasing political, social, and even international repercussions. An unfunded nationwide pension arrangement means many Chinese may have to continue to work into old age.

Migration has the potential to help solve the problem of a declining work force in Europe and, to a lesser degree, Russia and Japan and probably will become a more important feature of the world of 2020, even if many of the migrants do not have legal status. Recipient countries face the challenge of integrating new immigrants so as to minimize potential social conflict.

  • Remittances from migrant workers are increasingly important to developing economies. Some economists believe remittances are greater than foreign direct investment in most poor countries and in some cases are more valuable than exports.

However, today one-half of Nigerian-born medical doctors and PhDs reside in the United States. Most experts do not expect the current, pronounced trend of “brain drain” from the Middle East and Africa to diminish. Indeed, it could increase with the expected growth of employment opportunities, particularly in Europe.

Growing Demands for Energy

Growing demands for energy— especially by the rising powers—through 2020 will have substantial impacts on geopolitical relations. The single most important factor affecting the demand for energy will be global economic growth, particularly that of China and India.

  • Despite the trend toward more efficient energy use, total energy consumed probably will rise by about 50 percent in the next two decades compared to a 34 percent expansion from 1980–2000, with an increasing share provided by petroleum.
  • Renewable energy sources such as hydrogen, solar, and wind energy probably will account for only about 8 percent of the energy supply in 2020. While Russia, China, and India all plan expansions of their nuclear power sector, nuclear power probably will decline globally in absolute terms in the next decade. The International Energy Agency assesses that with substantial investment in new capacity, overall energy supplies will be sufficient to meet growing global demand. Continued.

Could Europe Become A Superpower?

According to the regional experts we consulted, Europe’s future international role depends greatly on whether it undertakes major structural economic and social reforms to deal with its aging work-force problem. The demographic picture will require a concerted, multidimensional approach including:

  • More legal immigration and better integration of workers likely to be coming mainly from North Africa and the Middle East. Even if more guest workers are not allowed in, Western Europe will have to integrate a growing Muslim population. Barring increased legal entry may only lead to more illegal migrants who will be harder to integrate, posing a long-term problem. It is possible to imagine European nations successfully adapting their work forces and social welfare systems to these new realities; it is harder to see a country— Germany, for example—successfully assimilating millions of new Muslim migrant workers in a short period of time.
  • Increased flexibility in the workplace, such as encouraging young women to take a few years off to start families in return for guarantees of reentry. Encouraging the “younger elderly” (50-65 year olds) to work longer or return to the work force also would help ease labor shortages.

The experts felt that the current welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalization could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the European Union, undermining its ambitions to play a heavyweight international role.

The experts believe that the EU’s economic growth rate is dragged down by Germany and its restrictive labor laws. Structural reforms there—and in France and Italy to lesser extents— remain key to whether the EU as a whole can break out of its slow-growth pattern. A total break from the post-World War II welfare state model may not be necessary, as shown in Sweden’s successful example of providing more flexibility for businesses while conserving many worker rights. Experts are dubious that the present political leadership is prepared to make even this partial break, believing a looming budgetary crisis in the next five years would be the more likely trigger for reform.

If no changes were implemented Europe could experience a further overall slowdown, and individual countries might go their own way, particularly on foreign policy, even if they remained nominal members. In such a scenario, enlargement is likely to stop with current members, making accession unlikely for Turkey and the Balkan countries, not to mention long-term possibilities such as Russia or Ukraine. Doing just enough to keep growth rates at one or two percent may result in some expansion, but Europe probably would not be able to play a major international role commensurate with its size.

In addition to the need for increased economic growth and social and welfare reform, many experts believe the EU has to continue streamlining the complicated decision-making process that hinders collective action. A federal Europe—unlikely in the 2020 timeframe—is not necessary to enable it to play a weightier international role so long as it can begin to mobilize resources and fuse divergent views into collective policy goals. Experts believe an economic “leap forward”—stirring renewed confidence and enthusiasm in the European project—could trigger such enhanced international action.. limited access of the international oil companies to major fields could restrain this investment, however, and many of the areas—the Caspian Sea, Venezuela, West Africa and South China Sea—that are being counted on to provide increased output involve substantial political or economic risk. Traditional suppliers in the Middle East are also increasingly unstable. Thus sharper demand-driven competition for resources, perhaps accompanied by a major disruption of oil supplies, is among the key uncertainties.

China and India, which lack adequate domestic energy resources, will have to ensure continued access to outside suppliers; thus, the need for energy will be a major factor in shaping their foreign and defense policies, including expanding naval power.

  • Experts believe China will need to boost its energy consumption by about 150 percent and India will need to nearly double its consumption by 2020 to maintain a steady rate of economic growth.
  • Beijing’s growing energy requirements are likely to prompt China to increase its activist role in the world—in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Eurasia. In trying to maximize and diversify its energy supplies, China worries about being vulnerable to pressure from the United States which Chinese officials see as having an aggressive energy policy that can be used against Beijing.
  • For more than ten years Chinese officials have openly asserted that production from Chinese firms The Geopolitics of Gas. Both oil and gas suppliers will have greater leverage than today, but the relationship between gas suppliers and consumers is likely to be particularly strong because of the restrictions on delivery mechanisms. Gas, unlike oil, is not yet a fungible source of energy, and the interdependency of pipeline delivery— producers must be connected to consumers, and typically neither group has many alternatives—reinforces regional alliances.
  • More than 95 percent of gas produced and three quarters of gas traded is distributed via pipelines directly from supplier to consumer, and gas-to-liquids technology is unlikely to change these ratios substantially by 2020.
  • Europe will have access to supplies in Russia and North Africa while China will be able to draw from eastern Russia, Indonesia, and potentially huge deposits in Australia. The United States will look almost exclusively to Canada and other western hemisphere suppliers. investing overseas is more secure than imports purchased on the international market. Chinese firms are being directed to invest in projects in the Caspian region, Russia, the Middle East, and South America in order to secure more reliable access. Europe’s energy needs are unlikely to grow to the same extent as those of the developing world, in part because of Europe’s expected lower economic growth and more efficient use of energy. Europe’s increasing preference for natural gas, combined with depleting reserves in the North Sea, will give an added boost to political efforts already under way to strengthen ties with Russia and North Africa, as gas requires a higher level of political commitment by both sides in designing and constructing the necessary infrastructure. According to a study by the European Commission, the Union’s share of energy from foreign sources will rise from about half in 2000 to two-thirds by 2020. Gas use will increase most rapidly due to environmental concerns and the phasing out of much of the EU’s nuclear energy capacity.

“…many of the areas…being counted on to provide increased [energy] output involve substantial political or economic risk.… Thus sharper demand-driven competition… perhaps accompanied by a major disruption of oil supplies, is among the key uncertainties.” Deliveries from the Yamal-Europe pipeline and the Blue Stream pipeline will help Russia increase its gas sales to the EU and Turkey by more than 40 percent over 2000 levels in the first decade of the 21 st century; as a result, Russia’s share of total European demand will rise from 27 percent in 2000 to 31 percent in 2010. Russia, moreover, as the largest energy supplier outside of OPEC, will be well positioned to marshal its oil and gas reserves to support domestic and foreign policy objectives. Algeria has the world’s eighth largest gas reserves and also is seeking to increase its exports to Europe by 50 percent by the end of the decade.

US Unipolarity—How Long Can It Last?

A world with a single superpower is unique in modern times. Despite the rise in anti-Americanism, most major powers today believe countermeasures such as balancing are not likely to work in a situation in which the US controls so many of the levers of power. Moreover, US policies are not perceived as sufficiently threatening to warrant such a step.

  • Growing numbers of people around the world, especially in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world, believe the US is bent on regional domination—or direct political and economic domination of other states and their resources. In the future, growing distrust could prompt governments to take a more hostile approach, including resistance to support for US interests in multinational forums and development of asymmetric military capabilities as a hedge against the US.

“There are few policy-relevant theories to indicate how states are likely to deal with a situation in which the US continues to be the single most powerful actor economically, militarily, and technologically.”

Most countries are likely to experiment with a variety of different tactics from various degrees of resistance to engagement in an effort to influence how US power is exercised. We expect that countries will pursue strategies designed to exclude or isolate the US—perhaps. temporarily—in order to force or cajole the US into playing by others’ rules. Many countries increasingly believe that the surest way to gain leverage over Washington is by threatening to withhold cooperation. In other forms of bargaining, foreign governments will try to find ways to “bandwagon” or connect their policy agendas to those of the US—for example on the war on terrorism—and thereby fend off US opposition to other policies.

Fictional Scenario: Pax Americana

The scenario portrayed below looks at how US predominance may survive radical changes to the global political landscape, with Washington remaining the central pivot for international politics. It is depicted as the diary entry by a fictitious UN Secretary-General in 2020. Under this scenario, key alliances and relationships with Europe and Asia undergo change. US-European cooperation is renewed, including on the Middle East. There are new security arrangements in Asia, but the United States still does the heavy lifting. The scenario also suggests that Washington has to struggle to assert leadership in an increasingly diverse, complex, and fast-paced world. At the end of the scenario, we identify lessons learned from how the scenario played out..

New Challenges to Governance

The nation-state will continue to be the dominant unit of the global order, but economic globalization and the dispersion of technologies, especially information technologies, will place enormous strains on governments. Regimes that were able to manage the challenges of the 1990s could be overwhelmed by those of 2020. Contradictory forces will be at work: authoritarian regimes will face new pressures to democratize, but fragile new democracies may lack the adaptive capacity to survive and develop.

  • With migration on the increase in several places around the world— from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean into the United States, and increasingly from Southeast Asia into the northern regions—more countries will be multi-ethnic and multi-religious and will face the challenge of integrating migrants into their societies while respecting their ethnic and religious identities.

Halting Progress on Democratization

Global economic growth has the potential to spur democratization, but backsliding by many countries that were considered part of the “third wave” of democratization is a distinct possibility. In particular, by 2020 democratization may be partially reversed among the states of the former Soviet Union and in Southeast Asia, some of which never really embraced democracy. Russia and most of the Central Asian regimes appear to be slipping back toward authoritarianism, and global economic growth probably will not on its own reverse such a trend. The development of more diversified economies in these countries—by no means inevitable—would be crucial in fostering the growth of a middle class, which in turn would spur democratization.

  • Beset already by severe economic inequalities, aging Central Asian rulers must contend with unruly and large youth populations lacking broad economic opportunities. Central Asian governments are likely to suppress dissent and revert to authoritarianism to maintain order, risking growing insurgencies. “…backsliding by many countries that were considered part of the ‘third wave’ of democratization is a distinct possibility.”

Chinese leaders will face a dilemma over how much to accommodate pluralistic pressure and relax political controls or risk a popular backlash if they do not. Beijing also has to weigh in the balance its ambition to be a major global player, which would be enhanced if its rulers moved towards political reform.

China may pursue an “Asian way” of democracy that might involve elections at the local level and a consultative mechanism on the national level, perhaps.

Eurasian Countries: Going Their Separate Ways?

The regional experts who attended our conference felt that Russia’s political development since the fall of Communism has been complicated by the continuing search for a post-Soviet national identity. Putin has increasingly appealed to Russian nationalism—and, occasionally, xenophobia—to define Russian identity. His successors may well define Russian identity by highlighting Russia’s imperial past and its domination over its neighbors even as they reject communist ideology.

In the view of the experts, Central Asian states are weak, with considerable potential for religious and ethnic conflict over the next 15 years. Religious and ethnic movements could have a destabilizing impact across the region. Eurasia is likely to become more differentiated despite the fact that demographic counterforces—such as a dearth of manpower in Russia and western Eurasia and an oversupply in Central Asia—could help pull the region together. Moreover, Russia and the Central Asians are likely to cooperate in developing transportation corridors for energy supplies.

The participants assessed that among the resource-rich countries, Russia has the best prospects for expanding its economy beyond resource extraction and becoming more integrated into the world economy. To diversify its economy, Russia would need to undertake structural changes and institute the rule of law, which could in turn encourage foreign direct investment outside of the energy sector. Knowing that Europe probably would want to forge a “special relationship” with a Russia that is stronger economically, Moscow probably would be more tolerant of former Soviet states moving closer to Europe. If Russia fails to diversify its economy, it could well experience the petro-state phenomenon of unbalanced economic development, huge income inequality, capital flight, and increased social problems.

Regional experts were less confident about the potential for significant economic diversification in the other resource-rich countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus over the next 15 years—in particular, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. For countries with more limited natural resources, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the challenge will be to develop effective project and service industries, requiring better governance. Central Asian countries—Kazakhstan, Krgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— face the stiff challenge of keeping the social peace in a context of high population growth, a relatively young population, limited economic prospects, and growing radical Islamic influence. Allowing more emigration could help alleviate these pressures in Central Asian countries. Russia would benefit from migration as a means of compensating for its loss of approximately one million people a year through 2020. Russia, however, has little experience in integrating migrants from other cultures; Russian nationalism is on the increase as a result of growing ethnic unrest domestically, and our experts believe any efforts to expand immigration policies would be exploited by nationalist politicians.

Ironically, the experts foresaw more unity if economic conditions worsen globally and Eurasia is isolated. In that case, a stagnant Russia would be looked to by the others to maintain order along the southern rim as some Central Asian countries—Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan—faced potential collapse. with the Communist Party retaining control over the central government.

  • Younger Chinese leaders who are already exerting influence as mayors and regional officials have been trained in Western-style universities and have a good understanding of international standards of governance.
  • Most of the experts at our regional conference, however, believe present and future leaders are agnostic on the issue of democracy and are more interested in developing what they perceive to be the most effective model of governance.

Democratic progress could gain ground in key Middle Eastern countries, which thus far have been excluded from the process by repressive regimes. Success in establishing a working democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan—and democratic consolidation in Indonesia—would set an example for other Muslim and Arab states, creating pressures for change.

However, a 2001 Freedom House study showed a dramatic and expanding gap in the levels of freedom and democracy between Islamic countries and the rest of the world. The lack of economic growth in the Middle East outside the energy sector is one of the primary underlying factors for the slow pace. Many regional experts are not hopeful that the generational turnover in several of the regimes will by itself spur democratic reform.

  • The extent to which radical Islam grows and how regimes respond to its pressures will also have long-term repercussions for democratization and the growth of civil society institutions, although radicals may use the ballot box to gain power.
  • An extended period of high oil prices would allow regimes to put off economic and fiscal reform.

High-Tech Pressures on Governance. Today individual PC users have more capacity at their fingertips than NASA had with the computers used in its first moon launches. The trend toward even more capacity, speed, affordability, and mobility will have enormous political implications: myriad individuals and small groups— many of whom had not been previously so empowered—will not only connect with one another but will plan, mobilize, and accomplish tasks with potentially more satisfying and efficient results than their governments can deliver. This almost certainly will affect individuals’ relationships with and views of their governments and will put pressure on some governments for more responsiveness.

  • China is experiencing among the fastest rates of increase of Internet and mobile phone users in the world, according to the International Telecommunications Union, and is the leading market for broadband communication.
  • Reports of growing investment by many Middle Eastern governments in developing high-speed information infrastructures, although they are not yet widely available to the population nor well-connected to the larger world, show obvious potential for the spread of democratic—and undemocratic— ideas..

Climate Change and Its Implications

Policies regarding climate change are likely to feature significantly in multilateral relations, and the United States, in particular, is likely to face significant bilateral pressure to change its domestic environmental policies and to be a leader in global environmental efforts. There is a strong consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real and that average surface temperatures have risen over the last century, but uncertainty exists about causation and possible remedies. Experts in a NIC-sponsored conference judged that concerns about greenhouse gases, of which China and India are large producers, will increase steadily through 2020. There are likely to be numerous weather-related events that, correctly or not, will be linked to global warming. Any of these events could lead to widespread calls for the United States, as the largest producer of greenhouse gases, to take dramatic steps to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels.

Policymakers will face a dilemma: an environmental regime based solely on economic incentives will probably not produce needed technological advances because firms will be hesitant to invest in research when there is great uncertainty about potential profits. On the other hand, a regime based on government regulation will tend to be costly and inflexible. The numerous obstacles to multilateral action include resistance from OPEC countries that depend on fossil fuel revenues, the developing world’s view that climate change is a problem created by the industrial world and one they cannot address given their economic constraints, and the need for significant technological innovation to maximize energy efficiency.

Among reasons for optimism, participants noted that the world is ready and eager for US leadership and that new multilateral institutions are not needed to address this issue. Indeed, crafting a policy to limit carbon emissions would be simplified by the fact that three political entities—the United States, the European Union, and China— account for over half of all CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. An agreement that included these three plus the Russian Federation, Japan, and India would cover two-thirds of all carbon emissions..

  • Some states will seek to control the Internet and its contents, but they will face increasing challenges as new networks offer multiple means of communicating.

Growing connectivity also will be accompanied by the proliferation of transnational virtual communities of interest, a trend which may complicate the ability of state and global institutions to generate internal consensus and enforce decisions and could even challenge their authority and legitimacy. Groups based on common religious, cultural, ethnic or other affiliations may be torn between their national loyalties and other identities. The potential is considerable for such groups to drive national and even global political decision making on a wide range of issues normally the purview of governments. The Internet in particular will spur the creation of global movements, which may emerge even more as a robust force in international affairs. For example, technology-enabled diaspora communications in native languages could lead to the preservation of language and culture in the face of widespread emigration and cultural change as well as the generation of political and economic power.

Populist themes are likely to emerge as a potent political and social force, especially as globalization risks aggravating social divisions along economic and ethnic lines. In parts of Latin America particularly, the failure of elites to adapt to the evolving demands of free markets and democracy probably will fuel a revival in populism and drive indigenous movements, which so far have sought change through democratic means, to consider more drastic means for seeking what they consider their “fair share” of political power and wealth. •However, as with religion, populism will not necessarily be inimical to political development and can serve to broaden participation in the political process. Few experts fear a general backsliding to the rule of military juntas in Latin America.

The Latin American countries that are adapting to challenges most effectively are building sturdier and more capable democratic institutions to implement more inclusive and responsive policies and enhance citizen and investor confidence. A sense of economic progress and hope for its continuance appears essential to the long-term credibility of democratic systems.

Rising nationalism and a trend toward populism also will present a challenge to governments in Asia. Many, such as Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, are unable to deliver on expanding popular demands and risk becoming state failures..

Latin America Will Globalization Cause the Region to Split?

The experts we consulted in Latin America contended that global changes over the next 15 years could deepen divisions and serve to split Latin America apart in economic, investment, and trade policy terms. As the Southern Cone, particularly Brazil and Chile, reach out to new partners in Asia and Europe, Central America and Mexico, along with Andean countries, could lag behind and remain dependent on the US and Canada as their preferred trade partners and aid providers.

For Latin Americans, government ineffectiveness, in part, prevented many countries from realizing the full measure of economic and social benefits from greater integration into the global economy in the past decade. Instead, the gap between rich and the poor, the represented and the excluded, has grown. Over the next 15 years, the effects of continued economic growth and global integration are likely to be uneven and fragmentary. Indeed, regional experts foresee an increasing risk of the rise of charismatic, self-styled populist leaders, historically common in the region, who would play on popular concerns over inequities between “haves” and “have-nots” in the weakest states in Central America and Andean countries, along with parts of Mexico. In the most profoundly weak of these governments, particularly where the criminalization of the society, and even the state, is most apparent, the leaders could have an autocratic bent and be more stridently anti-American.

The experts made the following observations on regional prospects in other areas:

  • Identity politics. Increasing portions of the population are identifying themselves as indigenous peoples and will demand not only a voice but, potentially, a new social contract. Many reject globalization as it has played out in the region, viewing it as an homogenizing force that undermines their unique cultures and as a US-imposed, neo-liberal economic model whose inequitably distributed fruits are rooted in the exploitation of labor and the environment.
  • Information technology. The universalization of the Internet, both as a mass media and means of inter-personal communication, will help educate, connect, mobilize, and empower those traditionally excluded..
  • Experts note that a new generation of leaders is emerging in Africa from the private sector; these leaders are much more comfortable with democracy than their predecessors and might provide a strong internal dynamic for democracy in the future.

Identity Politics

Part of the pressure on governance will come from new forms of identity politics centered on religious convictions and ethnic affiliation. Over the next 15 years, religious identity is likely to become an increasingly important factor in how people define themselves. The trend toward identity politics is linked to increased mobility, growing diversity of hostile groups within states, and the diffusion of modern communications technologies.

  • The primacy of ethnic and religious identities will provide followers with a ready-made community that serves as a “social safety net” in times of need— particularly important to migrants. Such communities also provide networks that can lead to job opportunities.

“Over the next 15 years, religious identity is likely to become an increasingly important factor in how people define themselves.” While we do not have comprehensive data on the number of people who have joined a religious faith or converted from one faith to another in recent years, trends seem to point toward growing numbers of converts and a deepening religious commitment by many religious adherents.

  • For example, Christianity, Buddhism, and other religions and practices are spreading in such countries as China as Marxism declines, and the proportion of evangelical converts in traditionally heavily Catholic Latin America is rising.
  • By 2020, China and Nigeria will have some of the largest Christian communities in the world, a shift that will reshape the traditionally Western-based Christian institutions, giving them more of an African or Asian or, more broadly, a developing world face.
  • Western Europe stands apart from this growing global “religiosity” except for the migrant communities from Africa and the Middle East. Many of the churches’ traditional functions— education, social services, etc.—are now performed by the state. A more pervasive, insistent secularism, however, might not foster the cultural acceptance of new Muslim immigrants who view as discriminatory the ban in some West European countries against displays of religious adherence.

Many religious adherents—whether Hindu nationalists, Christian evangelicals in Latin America, Jewish fundamentalists in Israel, or Muslim radicals—are becoming “activists.” They have a worldview that advocates change of society, a tendency toward making sharp Manichaean distinctions between good and evil, and a religious belief system that connects local conflicts to a larger struggle..

Such religious-based movements have been common in times of social and political turmoil in the past and have oftentimes been a force for positive change. For example, scholars see the growth of evangelism in Latin America as providing the uprooted, racially disadvantaged and often poorest groups, including women, “with a social network that would otherwise be lacking… providing members with skills they need to survive in a rapidly developing society…(and helping) to promote the development of civil society in the region.”

At the same time, the desire by activist groups to change society often leads to more social and political turmoil, some of it violent. In particular, there are likely to be frictions in mixed communities as the activists attempt to gain converts among other religious groups or older established religious institutions. In keeping with the intense religious convictions of many of these movements, activists define their identities in opposition to “outsiders,” which can foster strife.

Radical Islam. Most of the regions that will experience gains in religious “activists” also have youth bulges, which experts have correlated with high numbers of radical adherents, including Muslim extremists.

  • Youth bulges are expected to be especially acute in most Middle 10 Philip Jenkins, consultations with the National Intelligence Council, August 4, 2004. 11 We define Muslim extremists as a subset of Islamic activists. They are committed to restructuring political society in accordance with their vision of Islamic law and are willing to use violence. Eastern and West African countries until at least 2005-2010, and the effects will linger long after.
  • In the Middle East, radical Islam’s increasing hold reflects the political and economic alienation of many young Muslims from their unresponsive and unrepresentative governments and related failure of many predominantly Muslim states to reap significant economic gains from globalization.

The spread of radical Islam will have a significant global impact leading to 2020, rallying disparate ethnic and national groups and perhaps even creating an authority that transcends national boundaries. Part of the appeal of radical Islam involves its call for a return by Muslims to earlier roots when Islamic civilization was at the forefront of global change. The collective feelings of alienation and estrangement which radical Islam draws upon are unlikely to dissipate until the Muslim world again appears to be more fully integrated into the world economy.

“Radical Islam will have a significant global impact… rallying disparate ethnic and national groups and perhaps even creating an authority that transcends national boundaries.” Radical Islam will continue to appeal to many Muslim migrants who are attracted to the more prosperous West for employment opportunities but do not feel at home in what they perceive as an alien culture..

Studies show that Muslim immigrants are being integrated as West European countries become more inclusive, but many second- and third-generation immigrants are drawn to radical Islam as they encounter obstacles to full integration and barriers to what they consider to be normal religious practices. Differences over religion and ethnicity also will contribute to future conflict, and, if unchecked, will be a cause of regional strife. Regions where frictions risk developing into wider civil conflict include Southeast Asia, where the historic Christian-Muslim faultlines cut across several countries, including West Africa, The Philippines, and Indonesia.

  • Schisms within religions, however historic and long-lasting, also could lead to conflict in this era of increased religious identity. A Shia-dominated Iraq is likely to encourage greater activism by Shia minorities in other Middle Eastern nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan..

Fictional Scenario: A New Caliphate

The fictional scenario portrayed below provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity could emerge. Under this scenario, a new Caliphate is proclaimed and manages to advance a powerful counter ideology that has widespread appeal. It is depicted in the form of a hypothetical letter from a fictional grandson of Bin Ladin to a family relative in 2020. He recounts the struggles of the Caliph in trying to wrest control from traditional regimes and the conflict and confusion which ensue both within the Muslim world and outside between Muslims and the United States, Europe, Russia and China. While the Caliph’s success in mobilizing support varies, places far outside the Muslim core in the Middle East—in Africa and Asia—are convulsed as a result of his appeals.

The scenario ends before the Caliph is able to establish both spiritual and temporal authority over a territory— which historically has been the case for previous Caliphates. At the end of the scenario, we identify lessons to be drawn..

Pervasive Insecurity

We foresee a more pervasive sense of insecurity, which may be as much based on psychological perceptions as physical threats, by 2020. The psychological aspects, which we have addressed earlier in this paper, include concerns over job security as well as fears revolving around migration among both host populations and migrants.

Terrorism and internal conflicts could interrupt the process of globalization by significantly increasing the security costs associated with international commerce, encouraging restrictive border control policies, and adversely affecting trade patterns and financial markets. Although far less likely than internal conflicts, conflict among great powers would create risks to world security. The potential for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will add to the pervasive sense of insecurity.

Transmuting International Terrorism

The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years. Experts assess that the majority of international terrorist groups will continue to identify with radical Islam. The revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology both inside and outside the Middle East, including Western Europe, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

  • This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, or southern Thailand and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness.
  • A radical takeover in a Muslim country in the Middle East could spur the spread of terrorism in the region and give confidence to others that a new Caliphate is not just a dream.
  • Informal networks of charitable foundations, madrasas, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements.
  • Alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. “Our greatest concern is that [terrorist groups] might acquire biological agents, or less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties.” There are indications that the Islamic radicals’ professed desire to create a transnational insurgency, that is, a drive by Muslim extremists to overthrow a number of allegedly apostate secular 12 Hawalas constitute an informal banking system.. governments with predominately Muslim subjects, will have an appeal to many Muslims.
  • Anti-globalization and opposition to US policies could cement a greater body of terrorist sympathizers, financiers, and collaborators. “…We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will have been superceded by similarly inspired but more diffuse Islamic extremist groups.”

A Dispersed Set of Actors. Pressure from the global counterterrorism effort, together with the impact of advances in information technology, will cause the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals. While taking advantage of sanctuaries around the world to train, terrorists will not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will increasingly become virtual (i.e., online).

The core al-Qa’ida membership probably will continue to dwindle, but other groups inspired by al-Qa’ida, regionally based groups, and individuals labeled simply as jihadists—united by a common hatred of moderate regimes and the West—are likely to conduct terrorist attacks. The al-Qa’ida membership that was distinguished by having trained in Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq. We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will have been superceded by similarly inspired but more diffuse Islamic extremist groups, all of which will oppose the spread of many aspects of globalization into traditional Islamic societies.

  • Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are “professionalized” and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself.
  • Foreign jihadists—individuals ready to fight anywhere they believe Muslim lands are under attack by what they see as “infidel invaders”— enjoy a growing sense of support from Muslims who are not necessarily supporters of terrorism. Even if the number of extremists dwindles, however, the terrorist threat is likely to remain. Through the Internet and other wireless communications technologies, individuals with ill intent will be able to rally adherents quickly on a broader, even global, scale and do so obscurely. The rapid dispersion of bio-and other lethal forms of technology increases the potential for an individual not affiliated with any terrorist group to be able to inflict widespread loss of life.

Weapons, Tactics, and Targets.

In the past, terrorist organizations relied on state sponsors for training, weapons, logistical support, travel documents, and money in support of their operations. In a globalized world, groups such as Hizbollah are increasingly self-sufficient in meeting these needs and may act in a state-like manner to preserve “plausible deniability” by supplying other groups, working through third parties to meet.95 their objectives, and even engaging governments diplomatically.

Most terrorist attacks will continue to employ primarily conventional weapons, incorporating new twists to keep counterterrorist planners off balance. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they employ but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

  • One such concept that is likely to continue is a large number of simultaneous attacks, possibly in widely separated locations. While vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices will remain popular as asymmetric weapons, terrorists are likely to move up the technology ladder to employ advanced explosives and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“Terrorist use of biological agents is therefore likely, and the range of options will grow.” The religious zeal of extremist Muslim terrorists increases their desire to perpetrate attacks resulting in high casualties. Historically, religiously inspired terrorism has been most destructive because such groups are bound by few constraints.

The most worrisome trend has been an intensified search by some terrorist groups to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Our greatest concern is that these groups might acquire biological agents or less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties.

  • Bioterrorism appears particularly suited to the smaller, better-informed groups. Indeed, the bioterrorist’s laboratory could well be the size of a household kitchen, and the weapon built there could be smaller than a toaster. Terrorist use of biological agents is therefore likely, and the range of options will grow. Because the recognition of anthrax, smallpox or other diseases is typically delayed, under a “nightmare scenario” an attack could be well under way before authorities would be cognizant of it.
  • The use of radiological dispersal devices can be effective in creating panic because of the public’s misconception of the capacity of such attacks to kill large numbers of people.

With advances in the design of simplified nuclear weapons, terrorists will continue to seek to acquire fissile material in order to construct a nuclear weapon. Concurrently, they can be expected to continue attempting to purchase or steal a weapon, particularly in Russia or Pakistan. Given the possibility that terrorists could acquire nuclear weapons, the use of such weapons by extremists before 2020 cannot be ruled out.

We expect that terrorists also will try to acquire and develop the capabilities to conduct cyber attacks to cause physical damage to computer systems and to disrupt critical information networks. The United States and its interests abroad will remain prime terrorist targets, but more terrorist attacks might.

Organized Crime

Changing geostrategic patterns will shape global organized criminal activity over the next 15 years. Organized crime is likely to thrive in resource-rich states undergoing significant political and economic transformation, such as India, China, Russia, Nigeria, and Brazil as well as Cuba, if it sees the end of its one-party system. Some of the former states of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact also will remain vulnerable to high levels of organized crime.

  • States that transition to one-party systems—such as any new Islamic-run state—will be vulnerable to corruption and attendant organized crime, particularly if their ideology calls for substantial government involvement in the economy.
  • Changing patterns of migration may introduce some types of organized crime into countries that have not previously experienced it. Ethnic-based organized crime groups typically prey on members of their own diasporas and use them to gain footholds in new regions.

Some organized crime syndicates will form loose alliances with one another. They will attempt to corrupt leaders of unstable, economically fragile, or failing states, insinuate themselves into troubled banks and businesses, exploit information technologies, and cooperate with insurgent movements to control substantial geographic areas.

Organized crime groups usually do not want to see governments toppled but thrive in countries where governments are weak, vulnerable to corruption, and unable or unwilling to consistently enforce the rule of law.

  • Criminal syndicates, particularly drug trafficking syndicates, may take virtual control of regions within failing states to which the central government cannot extend its writ. If governments in countries with WMD capabilities lose control of their inventories, the risk of organized crime trafficking in nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons will increase between now and 2020.

We expect that the relationship between terrorists and organized criminals will remain primarily a matter of business, i.e., that terrorists will turn to criminals who can provide forged documents, smuggled weapons, or clandestine travel assistance when the terrorists cannot procure these goods and services on their own. Organized criminal groups, however, are unlikely to form long-term strategic alliances with terrorists. Organized crime is motivated by the desire to make money and tends to regard any activity beyond that required to effect profit as bad for business. For their part, terrorist leaders are concerned that ties to non-ideological partners will increase the chance of successful police penetration or that profits will seduce the faithful..

Over the next 15 years, a growing range of actors, including terrorists, may acquire and develop capabilities to conduct both physical and cyber attacks against nodes of the world’s information infrastructure, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, and computer systems that control critical industrial processes such as electricity grids, refineries, and flood control mechanisms. Terrorists already have specified the US information infrastructure as a target and currently are capable of physical attacks that would cause at least brief, isolated disruptions. The ability to respond to such attacks will require critical technology to close the gap between attacker and defender. A key cyber battlefield of the future will be the information on computer systems themselves, which is far more valuable and vulnerable than physical systems. New technologies on the horizon provide capabilities for accessing data, either through wireless intercept, intrusion into Internet-connected systems, or through direct access by insiders. be aimed at Middle Eastern regimes and at Western Europe.

Intensifying Internal Conflicts

Lagging economies, ethnic affiliations, intense religious convictions, and youth bulges will align to create a “perfect storm,” creating conditions likely to spawn internal conflict. The governing capacity of states, however, will determine whether and to what extent conflicts actually occur. Those states unable both to satisfy the expectations of their peoples and to resolve or quell conflicting demands among them are likely to encounter the most severe and most frequent outbreaks of violence. For the most part, those states most susceptible to violence are in a great arc of instability from Sub-Saharan Africa, through North Africa, into the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus and South and Central Asia and through parts of Southeast Asia. Countries in these regions are generally those “behind” the globalization curve.

  • The number of internal conflicts is down significantly since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the breakup of the Soviet Union and Communist regimes in Central Europe allowed suppressed ethnic and nationalist strife to flare. Although a leveling off point has been reached, the continued prevalence of troubled and institutionally weak states creates conditions for such conflicts to occur in the future.

“Lagging economies, ethnic affiliations, intense religious convictions, and youth bulges will align to create a ‘perfect storm’ [for] internal conflict.”

Internal conflicts are often particularly vicious, long-lasting, and difficult to terminate. Many of these conflicts generate internal displacements and external refugee flows, destabilizing neighboring countries.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be particularly at risk for major new or worsening humanitarian emergencies stemming from conflict. Genocidal conflicts aimed at annihilating all or part of a racial, religious, or ethnic group, and conflicts caused by other crimes against humanity—such as

Cyber Warfare forced, large-scale expulsions of populations—are particularly likely to generate migration and massive, intractable humanitarian needs. “Africa in 2020 …will increasingly resemble a patchwork quilt with significant differences in economic and political performance.”

Some internal conflicts, particularly those that involve ethnic groups straddling national boundaries, risk escalating into regional conflicts. At their most extreme, internal conflicts can produce a failing or failed state, with expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective governmental control. In such instances, those territories can become sanctuaries for transnational terrorists (like al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan) or for criminals and drug cartels (such as in Colombia).

Rising Powers: Tinder for Conflict?

The likelihood of great power conflict escalating into total war in the next 15 years is lower than at any time in the past century, unlike during previous centuries when local conflicts sparked world wars. The rigidities of alliance systems before World War I and during the interwar period, as well as the two-bloc standoff during the Cold War, virtually assured that small conflicts would be quickly generalized. Now, however, even if conflict would break out over Taiwan or between India and Pakistan, outside powers as well as the primary actors would want to limit its extent. Additionally, the growing dependence on global financial and trade networks increasingly will act as a deterrent to conflict among the great powers—the US, Europe, China, India, Japan and Russia. This does not eliminate the possibility of great power conflict, however. The absence of effective conflict resolution mechanisms in some regions, the rise of nationalism in some states, and the raw emotions on both sides of key issues increase the chances for miscalculation.

  • Although a military confrontation between China and Taiwan would derail Beijing’s efforts to gain acceptance as a regional and global power, we cannot discount such a possibility. Events such as Taiwan’s proclamation of independence could lead Beijing to take steps it otherwise might want to avoid, just as China’s military buildup enabling it to bring overwhelming force against Taiwan increases the risk of military conflict.
  • India and Pakistan appear to understand the likely prices to be paid by triggering a conflict. But nationalistic feelings run high and are not likely to abate. Under plausible scenarios Pakistan might use nuclear weapons to counter success by the larger Indian conventional forces, particularly given Pakistan’s lack of strategic depth.

“Advances in modern weaponry—longer ranges, precision delivery, and more destructive conventional munitions—create circumstances encouraging the preemptive use of military force.” Should conflict occur that involved one or more of the great powers, the consequences would be significant.

How Can Sub-Saharan Africa Move Forward?

Most of the regional experts we consulted believe the most likely scenario for Africa in 2020 is that it will increasingly resemble a patchwork quilt with significant differences in economic and political performance.

Africa’s capacity to benefit from the positive elements of globalization will depend on the extent to which individual countries can bring an end to conflict, improve governance, rein in corruption, and establish the rule of law. If progress is achieved in these areas, an expansion of foreign investment, which currently is mostly confined to the oil sector, is possible. Our regional experts felt that if African leaders used such investment to help their economies grow—opening avenues to wealth other than through the power of the state— they might be able to mitigate the myriad other problems facing their countries, with the prospect of prosperity decreasing the level of conflict.

Expanded development of existing or new sources of wealth will remain key. Although mineral and natural resources are not evenly distributed among its countries, Sub-Saharan Africa is well endowed with them and has the potential not only to be self-sufficient in food, but to become a major exporter of agricultural, animal, and fish products. The lowering or elimination of tariff barriers and agricultural subsidies in the European Union and the United States, combined with the demand for raw materials from the burgeoning Chinese and Indian economies, could provide major stimulus to African economies and overcome decades of depressed commodity prices. African experts have agreed that economic reform and good governance are essential for high economic growth and also have concluded that African countries must take the initiative in negotiating new aid and trade relationships that heretofore were essentially dictated by the international financial institutions and the developed world. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), with its peer review mechanism, provides one mechanism for bringing about this economic transformation, if its members individually and collectively honor their commitments.

Over the next 15 years, democratic reform will remain slow and imperfect in many countries due to a host of social and economic problems, but it is highly unlikely that democracy will be challenged as the norm in Africa. African leaders face alliances of international and domestic nongovernmental organizations that sometimes want to supplant certain state services, criminal networks that operate freely across borders, and Islamic groups bent on establishing safe-havens. Some states may fail but in others the overall quality of democracy probably will increase. An emerging generation of leaders includes many from the private sector, who are more comfortable with democracy than their predecessors and who could provide a strong political dynamic for democracy in the future.

Leadership will remain the ultimate wild card, which, even in the least promising circumstances, could make a huge, positive difference. Although countries with poor leadership will find it harder not to fail, those with good leadership that promotes order, institutions, and conflict resolution will at least have a chance of progressing.. ranges, precision delivery, and more destructive conventional munitions— create circumstances encouraging the preemptive use of military force. The increased range of new missile and aircraft delivery systems provides sanctuary to their possessors. Until strategic defenses become as strong as strategic offenses, there will be great premiums associated with the ability to expand conflicts geographically in order to deny an attacker sanctuary. Moreover, a number of recent high-technology conflicts have demonstrated that the outcomes of early battles of major conflicts most often determine the success of entire campaigns. Under these circumstances, military experts believe preemption is likely to appear necessary for strategic success.

The WMD Factor

Nuclear Weapons. Over the next 15 years, a number of countries will continue to pursue their nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and in some cases will enhance their capabilities. Current nuclear weapons states will continue to improve the survivability of their deterrent forces and almost certainly will improve the reliability, accuracy, and lethality of their delivery systems as well as develop capabilities to penetrate missile defenses. The open demonstration of nuclear capabilities by any state would further discredit the current nonproliferation regime, cause a possible shift in the balance of power, and increase the risk of conflicts escalating into nuclear ones.

  • Countries without nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East and Northeast Asia, may decide to seek them as it becomes clear that their neighbors and regional rivals already are doing so.
  • The assistance of proliferators, including former private entrepreneurs such as the A.Q. Khan network, will reduce the time required for additional countries to develop nuclear weapons.

“Countries without nuclear weapons …may decide to seek them as it becomes clear that their neighbors and regional rivals are already doing so.”

Chemical and Biological Weapons.

Developments in CW and BW agents and the proliferation of related expertise will pose a substantial threat, particularly from terrorists, as we have noted.

  • Given the goal of some terrorist groups to use weapons that can be employed surreptitiously and generate dramatic impact, we expect to see terrorist use of some readily available biological and chemical weapons. Countries will continue to integrate both CW and BW production capabilities into apparently legitimate commercial infrastructures, further concealing them from scrutiny, and BW/CW programs will be less reliant on foreign suppliers. •Major advances in the biological sciences and information technology probably will accelerate the pace of BW agent development, increasing the potential for agents that are more difficult to detect or to defend against. Through 2020 some countries will continue to try to develop chemical agents designed to circumvent the Chemical Weapons Convention verification regime.

“Developments in CW and BW agents and the proliferation of related expertise will pose a substantial threat, particularly from terrorists…”

Delivery Systems. Security will remain at risk from increasingly advanced and lethal ballistic and cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). States almost certainly will continue to increase the range, reliability, and accuracy of the missile systems in their inventories. By 2020 several countries of concern probably will have acquired Land-Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs) capable of threatening the US Homeland if brought closer to US shores. Both North Korea and Iran probably will have an ICBM capability well before 2020 and will be working on improvements to enhance such capabilities, although new regimes in either country could rethink these objectives. Several other countries are likely to develop space launch vehicles (SLVs) by 2020 to put domestic satellites in orbit and to enhance national prestige. An SLV is a key stepping-stone toward an ICBM: it could be used as a booster in an ICBM development..

International Institutions in Crisis

Increased pressures on international institutions will incapacitate many, unless and until they can be radically adapted to accommodate new actors and new priorities. Regionally based institutions will be particularly challenged to meet the complex transnational threats posed by economic upheavals, terrorism, organized crime, and WMD proliferation. Such post-World War II creations as the United Nations and international financial institutions risk sliding into obsolescence unless they take into consideration the growing power of the rising powers.

  • Both supporters and opponents of multilateralism agree that Rwanda, Bosnia, and Somalia demonstrated the ineffectiveness, lack of preparation, and weaknesses of global and regional institutions to deal with what are likely to be the more common types of conflict in the future.

The problem of state failure—which is a source or incubator for a number of transnational threats—argues for better coordination between institutions, including the international financial ones and regional security bodies.

Building a global consensus on how and when to intervene is likely to be the biggest hurdle to greater effectiveness but essential in many experts’ eyes if multilateral institutions are to live up to their potential and promise. Many states, especially the emerging powers, continue to worry about setting precedents for outside intervention that can be used against them. Nevertheless, most problems, such as failing states, can only be effectively dealt with through early recognition and preventive measures. Other issues that are likely to emerge on the international agenda will add to the pressures on the collective international order as well as on individual countries. These “new” issues could become the staples of international diplomacy much as human rights did in the 1970s and 1980s. Ethical issues linked to biotechnological discoveries such as cloning, GMOs, and access to biomedicines could become the source of hot debates among countries and regions. As technology increases the capabilities of states to track terrorists, concerns about privacy and extraterritoriality may increasingly surface among publics worldwide. Similarly, debates over environmental issues connected with tempering climate change risk scrambling the international order, pitting the US against its traditional European allies, as well as developed countries against the developing world, unless more global cooperation is achieved. Rising powers may see in the ethical and environmental debates an attempt by the rich countries to slow down their progress by imposing “Western” standards or values. Institutional reform might increasingly surface as an issue. Many in the developing world believe power in international bodies is too much a snapshot of the post-World War II world rather than the current one..

The Rules of War: Entering “No Man’s Land”

With most armed conflict taking unconventional or irregular forms—such as humanitarian interventions and operations designed to root out terrorist home bases— rather than conventional state-to-state warfare, the principles covering resort to, and use of, military force will increasingly be called into question. Both the international law enshrining territorial sovereignty and the Geneva Conventions governing the conduct of war were developed before transnational security threats like those of the twenty-first century were envisioned.

In the late 1990s, the outcry over former Serbian President Milosevic’s treatment of Kosovars spurred greater acceptance of the principle of international humanitarian interventions, providing support to those in the “just war” tradition who have argued since the founding of the UN and before that the international community has a “duty to intervene” in order to prevent human rights atrocities. This principle, however, continues to be vigorously contested by countries worried about harm to the principle of national sovereignty.

The legal status and rights of prisoners taken during military operations and suspected of involvement in terrorism will be a subject of controversy—as with many captured during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan. A debate over the degree to which religious leaders and others who are perceived as abetting or inciting violence should be considered international terrorists is also likely to come to the fore.

The Iraq war has raised questions about what kind of status, if any, to accord to the increasing number of contractors used by the US military to provide security, man POW detention centers, and interrogate POWs or detainees.

Protection for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in conflict situations is another issue that has become more complicated as some charitable work—such as Wahabi missionaries funding terrorist causes—has received criticism and enforcement action at the same time that Western and other NGOs have become “soft targets” in conflict situations.

The role of the United States in trying to set norms is itself an issue and probably will complicate efforts by the global community to come to an agreement on a new set of rules. Containing and limiting the scale and savagery of conflicts will be aggravated by the absence of clear rules..

“Such post-World War II creations as the UN and international financial institutions risk sliding into obsolescence unless they take into consideration the growing power of the developing world.”

Post-Combat Environments Pose the Biggest Challenge

For the United States particularly, if the past decades are any guide waging and winning a conventional war is unlikely to be much of a challenge over the next 15 years in light of our overarching capabilities to conduct such a war. However, the international community’s efforts to prevent outbreaks and ensure that conflicts are not a prelude to new ones could remain elusive.

  • Nation-building is at best an imperfect concept, but more so with the growing importance of cultural, ethnic, and religious identities.
  • Africa’s effort to build a regional peacekeeping force shows some promise, but Sub-Saharan Africa will struggle with attracting sufficient resources and political will.
  • The enormous costs in resources and time for meaningful nation-building or post-conflict/failed state stability operations are likely to be a serious constraint on such coalition or international commitments.

Fictional Scenario: Cycle of Fear

This scenario explores what might happen if proliferation concerns increased to the point that large-scale intrusive security measures were taken. In such a world, proliferators—such as illegal arms merchants—might find it increasingly hard to operate, but at the same time, with the spread of WMD, more countries might want to arm themselves for their own protection. This scenario is depicted in a series of text-message exchanges between two arms dealers. One is ideologically committed to leveling the playing field and ensuring the Muslim world has its share of WMD, while the other is strictly for hire. Neither knows for sure who is at the end of his chain—a government client or terrorist front. As the scenario progresses, the cycle of fear originating with WMD-laden terrorist attacks has gotten out of hand—to the benefit of the arms dealers, who appear to be engaged in lucrative deals. However, fear begets fear. The draconian measures increasingly implemented by governments to stem proliferation and guard against terrorism also have the arms dealers beginning to run scared. In all of this, globalization may be the real victim

Policy Implications

The international order will be in greater flux in the period out to 2020 than at any point since the end of the Second World War. As we map the future, the prospects for global prosperity and the limited likelihood of great power conflict provide an overall favorable environment for coping with the challenges ahead. Despite daunting challenges, the United States, in particular, will be better positioned than most countries to adapt to the changing global environment. As our scenarios illustrate, we see several ways in which major global changes could begin to take shape and be buffeted or bolstered by the forces of change over the next 15 years. In a sense, the scenarios provide us with four different lenses on future developments, underlining the wide range of factors, discontinuities, and uncertainties shaping a new global order. One lens is the globalized economy, another is the security role played by the US, a third is the role of social and religious identity, and a fourth is the breakdown of the international order because of growing insecurity. They highlight various “switching points” that could shift developments onto one path or the other. The most important tipping points include the impact of robust economic growth and the spread of technology; the nature and extent of terrorism; the resiliency or weakness of states, particularly in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa; and the potential spread of conflict, including between states.

  • On balance, for example, as the hypothetical Davos World scenario shows, robust economic growth probably will help to overcome divisions and pull more regions and countries into a new global order. However, the rapid changes might also produce disorder at times; one of the lessons of that and the other scenarios is the need for management to ensure globalization does not go off the rails.

The evolving framework of international politics in all the scenarios suggests that non state actors will continue to assume a more prominent role even though they will not displace the nation-state. Such actors range from terrorists, who will remain a threat to global security, to NGOs and global firms, which exemplify largely positive forces by spreading technology, promoting social and economic progress, and providing humanitarian assistance.

The United States and other countries throughout the world will continue to be vulnerable to international terrorism. As we have noted in the Cycle of Fear scenario, terrorist campaigns that escalate to unprecedented heights, particularly if they involve WMD, are one of the few developments that could threaten globalization.

Counterterrorism efforts in the years ahead—against a more diverse set of terrorists who are connected more by ideology and technology than by geography—will be a more elusive challenge than focusing on a relatively centralized organization such as al-Qa’ida. The looser the connections.

Is the United States’ Technological Prowess at Risk?

US investment in basic research and the innovative application of technology has directly contributed to US leadership in economic and military power during the post-World War II era. Americans, for example, invented and commercialized the semiconductor, the personal computer, and the Internet with other countries following the US lead.

While the United States is still the present leader, there are signs this leadership is at risk.

The number of US engineering graduates peaked in 1985 and is presently down 20 percent from that level; the percentage of US undergraduates taking engineering is the second lowest of all developed countries. China graduates approximately three times as many engineering students as the United States. However, post-9/11 security concerns have made it harder to attract incoming foreign students and, in some cases, foreign nationals available to work for US firms.

Non-US universities—for which a US visa is not required—are attempting to exploit the situation and bolster their strength.

Privately funded industrial research and development—which accounts for 60 percent of the US total—while up this year, suffered three previous years of decline.

Further, major multinational corporations are establishing corporate “research centers” outside of the United States.

While these signs are ominous, the integrating character of globalization and the inherent strengths of the US economic system preclude a quick judgment of an impending US technological demise. By recent assessments, the United States is still the most competitive society in the world among major economies.  In a globalized world where information is rapidly shared—including cross-border sharing done internally by multinational corporations—the creator of new science or technology may not necessarily be the beneficiary in the marketplace. Among individual terrorists and various cells, the more difficult it will be to uncover and disrupt terrorist plotting.

  • One of our scenarios—Pax Americana—envisages a case in which US and European consensus on fighting terrorism would grow much stronger but, under other scenarios, including the hypothetical New Caliphate, US, Russian, Chinese and European interests diverge, possibly limiting cooperation on counterterrorism.

“The US will have to battle world public opinion, which has dramatically shifted since the end of the Cold War.”

The success of the US-led global counterterrorism campaign will hinge on the capabilities and resolve of individual countries to fight terrorism on their own soil. Efforts by Washington to bolster the capabilities of local security forces in other countries and to work with them on their priority issues (such as soaring crime) would be likely to increase cooperation.

  • Defense of the US Homeland will begin overseas. As it becomes more difficult for terrorists to enter the United States, they are likely to try to attack the Homeland from neighboring countries.

A counterterrorism strategy that approaches the problem on multiple fronts offers the greatest chance of containing—and ultimately reducing—the terrorist threat. The development of more open political systems, broader economic opportunities, and empowerment of Muslim reformers would be viewed positively by the broad Muslim communities who do not support the radical agenda of Islamic extremists. A New Caliphate scenario dramatizes the challenge of addressing the underlying causes of extremist violence, not just its manifest actions.

  • The Middle East is unlikely to be the only battleground in which this struggle between extremists and reformers occurs. European and other Muslims outside the Middle East have played an important role in the internal ideological conflicts, and the degree to which Muslim minorities feel integrated in European societies is likely to have a bearing on whether they see a clash of civilizations as inevitable or not. Southeast Asia also has been increasingly a theater for terrorism.

Related to the terrorist threat is the problem of the proliferation of WMD and the potential for countries to have increased motivation to acquire nuclear weapons if their neighbors and regional rivals are doing so. As illustrated in the Cycle of Fear scenario, global efforts to erect greater barriers to the spread of WMD and to dissuade any other countries from seeking nuclear arms or other WMD as protection will continue to be a challenge. As various of our scenarios underline, the communications revolution gives proliferators a certain advantage in striking deals with each other and eluding the authorities, and the “assistance” they provide can cut years off the time it would take for countries to develop nuclear weapons..

How the World Sees the United States

In the six regional conferences that we hosted we asked participants about their views of the role of the United States as a driver in shaping developments in their regions and globally. Asia

Participants felt that US preoccupation with the war on terrorism is largely irrelevant to the security concerns of most Asians. The key question that the United States needs to ask itself is whether it can offer Asian states an appealing vision of regional security and order that will rival and perhaps exceed that offered by China.

US disengagement from what matters to US Asian allies would increase the likelihood that they would climb on Beijing’s bandwagon and allow China to create its own regional security order that excludes the United States.

Participants felt that the rise of China need not be incompatible with a US-led international order. The critical question is whether or not the order is flexible enough to adjust to a changing distribution of power on a global level. An inflexible order would increase the likelihood of political conflict between emerging powers and the United States. If the order is flexible, it may be possible to forge an accommodation with rising powers and strengthen the order in the process.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan African leaders worry that the United States and other advantaged countries will “pull up the drawbridge” and abandon the region.

Participants opined that the United States and other Western countries may not continue to accept Africa’s most successful “export,” its people. The new African diaspora is composed overwhelmingly of economic migrants rather than political migrants as in previous eras.

Some participants felt that Africans worry that Western countries will see some African countries as “hopeless” over the next 15 years because of prevailing economic conditions, ecological problems, and political circumstances.

Participants feared that the United States will focus only on those African countries that are successful.

Latin America

Conference participants acknowledged that the United States is the key economic, political, and military player in the hemisphere. At the same time, Washington was viewed as traditionally not paying sustained attention to the region and, instead of responding to systemic problems, as reacting primarily to crises. Participants saw a fundamentalist trend in Washington that would lead to isolation and unilateralism and undercut cooperation. Most shared the view that the US “war on terrorism” had little to do with Latin America’s security concerns.

Latin American migrants are a stabilizing force in relations with the United States. An important part of the US labor pool, migrants also remit home needed dollars along with new views on democratic governance and individual initiative that will have a positive impact on the region. US policies also can have a positive impact. Some participants said the region would benefit from US application of regional mechanisms to resolve problems rather than punitive measures against regimes not to its liking, such as that of Fidel Castro.

Middle East

Participants felt that the role of US foreign policy in the region will continue to be crucial. The perceived propping up of corrupt regimes by the United States in exchange for secure oil sources has in itself helped to promote continued stagnation. Disengagement is highly unlikely but would in itself have an incalculable effect.

Regarding the prospects for democracy in the region, participants felt that the West placed too much emphasis on the holding of elections, which, while important, is only one element of the democratization process. There was general agreement that if the United States and Europe can engage with and encourage reformers rather than confront and hector, genuine democracy would be achieved sooner.

Some Middle East experts argued that Washington has reinforced zero-sum politics in the region by focusing on top Arab rulers and not cultivating ties with emerging leaders in and outside the government.

Although the Middle East has a lot to gain economically from globalization, it was agreed that Arabs/Muslims are nervous that certain aspects of globalization, especially the pervasive influence of Western, particularly American, values and morality are a threat to traditional cultural and religious values.

Europe and Eurasia

Participants engaged in a lively debate over whether a rift between the US and Europe is likely to occur over the next 15 years with some contending that a collapse of the US-EU partnership would occur as part of the collapse of the international system. Several participants contended that if the United States shifts its focus to Asia, the EU-US relationship could be strained to the breaking point.

  • They were divided over whether China’s rise would draw the United States and Europe closer or not.
  • They also differed over the importance of common economic, environmental, and energy problems to the alliance.

In our Eurasia workshop, participants agreed that the United States has only limited influence on the domestic policies of the Central Asian states, although US success or failure in Iraq would have spillover effects in Central Asia. Countries in western Eurasia, they believed, will continue to seek a balance between Russia and the West. In their view, Ukraine almost certainly will continue to seek admission to NATO and the European Union while Georgia and Moldova probably will maintain their orientation in the same direction..

“A counterterrorism strategy that approaches the problem on multiple fronts offers the greatest chance of containing—and ultimately reducing—the terrorist threat.” On the more positive side, one of the likely features of the next 15 years is the greater availability of high technology, not only to those who invent it. As we try to make clear in our Davos World scenario, the high-tech leaders are not the only ones that can expect to make gains, but also those societies that integrate and apply the new technologies. For example, our scenario points up the beneficial effects of possible new technologies in Africa in helping to eradicate poverty. As we have noted elsewhere in this paper, global firms will play a key role in promoting more widespread prosperity and more technological innovation. The dramatically altered geopolitical landscape also presents a huge challenge for the international system as well as for the United States, which has been the security guarantor of the post-World War II order. The possible contours as several trends develop— including rising powers in Asia, retrenchment in Eurasia, a roiling Middle East, and greater divisions in the transatlantic partnership—remain uncertain and variable. •With the lessening in ties formed during the Cold War, nontraditional ad hoc alliances are likely to develop. For example, shared interest in multilateralism as a cornerstone of international relations has been viewed by some scholars as the basis for a budding relationship between Europe and China.

As the Pax Americana scenario suggests, the transatlantic partnership would be a key factor in Washington’s ability to remain the central pivot in international politics. The degree to which Europe is ready to shoulder more international responsibilities is unclear and depends on its ability to surmount its economic and demographic problems as well as forge a strategic vision for its role in the world. In other respects—GDP, crossroads location, stable governments, and collective military expenditures—it has the ability to increase its weight on the international stage.

“For Washington, dealing with a rising Asia may be the most challenging of all its regional relationships.”

Asia is particularly important as an engine for change over the next 15 years. A key uncertainty is whether the rise of China and India will occur smoothly. A number of issues will be in play, including the future of the world trading system, advances in technology, and the shape and scope of globalization. For Washington, dealing with a rising Asia may be the most challenging of all its regional relationships. One could envisage a range of possibilities from the US enhancing its role as regional balancer between contending forces to Washington being seen as increasingly irrelevant. Both the Korea and Taiwan issues are likely to come to a head, and how they are dealt with will be important factors shaping future US-Asia ties as well as the US role in the region. Japan’s. position in the region is also likely to be transformed as it faces the challenge of a more independent security role. “A key uncertainty is whether the rise of China and India will occur smoothly.”

With the rise of the Asian giants, US economic and technological advantages may be vulnerable to erosion.

  • While interdependencies will grow, increased Asian investment in high-tech research coupled with the rapid growth of Asian markets will increase the region’s competitiveness across a wide range of economic and technical activity.
  • US dependence on foreign oil supplies also makes it more vulnerable as the competition for secure access grows and the risks of supply-side disruptions increase. In the Middle East, market reforms, greater democracy, and progress toward an Arab-Israeli peace would stem the shift towards more radical politics in the region and foster greater accord in the transatlantic partnership. Some of our scenarios highlight the extent to which the Middle East could remain at the center of an arc of instability extending from Africa through Central and Southeast Asia, providing fertile ground for terrorism and the proliferation of WMD.

Realization of a Caliphate-like scenario would pose the biggest challenge because it would reject the foundations on which the current international system has been built. Such a possibility points up the need to find ways to engage and integrate those societies and regions that feel themselves left behind or reject elements of the globalization process. Providing economic opportunities alone may not be sufficient to enable the “have-nots” to benefit from globalization; rather, the widespread trend toward religious and cultural identification suggests that various identities apart from the nation-state will need to be accommodated in a globalized world.

The interdependence that results from globalization places increasing importance not only on maintaining stability in the areas of the world that drive the global economy, where about two thirds of the world’s population resides, but also on helping the poor or failing states scattered across a large portion of the world’s surface which have yet to modernize and connect with the larger, globalizing community. Two of our scenarios—Pax Americana and Davos World—point up the different roles that the United States is expected to play as security provider and as a financial stabilizer.

Eurasia, especially Central Asia and the Caucasus, probably will be an area of growing concern, with its large number of potentially failing states, radicalism in the form of Islamic extremism, and importance as a supplier or conveyor belt for energy supplies to both West and East. The trajectories of these Eurasian states will be affected by external powers such as Russia, Europe, China, India and the United States, which may be able to act as stabilizers. Russia is likely to be particularly active in trying to prevent spillover, even though it has enormous internal problems on its own plate. Farther to the West, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova could offset their vulnerabilities as relatively new states by closer association with Europe and the EU.

Parts of Africa share a similar profile with the weak states of Eurasia and will continue to form part of an extended arc of instability. As the hypothetical Davos World scenario suggests, globalization in terms of rising commodity prices and expanded economic growth may be a godsend where good governance is also put in place. North Africa may benefit particularly from growing ties with Europe. Latin America is likely to become a more diverse set of countries: those that manage to exploit the opportunities provided by globalization will prosper, while those—such as the Andean nations currently—that do not or cannot will be left behind. Governance and leadership—often a wild card—will distinguish societies that prosper from those that remain ill-equipped to adapt. Both regions may have success stories— countries like Brazil or South Africa— which can provide a model for others to follow. The United States is uniquely positioned to facilitate Latin America growth and integration stemming the potential for fragmentation.

In that vein, the number of interstate and internal conflicts has been ebbing, but their lethality and potential to grow in impact once they start is a trend we have noted.

  • While no single country looks within striking distance of rivaling US military power by 2020, more countries will be in a position to contest the United States in their regions. The possession of chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons by more countries by 2020 would increase the potential cost of any military action by the United States and its coalition partners.
  • Most US adversaries, be they states or non state actors, will recognize the military superiority of the United States. Rather than acquiesce to US force, they will try to circumvent or minimize US strengths and exploit perceived weaknesses, using asymmetric strategies, including terrorism and illicit acquisition of WMD, as illustrated in the Cycle of Fear scenario.

“…no single country looks within striking distance of rivaling US military power by 2020.” As our Pax Americana scenario dramatizes, the United States probably will continue to be called on to help manage such conflicts as Palestine, North Korea, Taiwan, and Kashmir to ensure they do not get out of hand if a peace settlement cannot be reached. However, the scenarios and trends we analyze in the paper suggest the challenge will be to harness the power of new players to contribute to global security, potentially relieving the United States of some of the burden. Such a shift could usher in a new phase in international politics.

  • China’s and, to a lesser extent, India’s increasing military spending and investment plans suggest they might be more able to undertake a larger security burden.
  • International and regional institutions also would need to be reformed to. meet the challenges and shoulder more of the burden.

Adapting the international order may also be increasingly challenging because of the growing number of other ethical issues that have the potential to divide worldwide publics. These issues include the environment and climate change, cloning and stem cell research, potential biotechnology and IT intrusions into privacy, human rights, international law regarding conflict, and the role of multilateral institutions.

Many ethical issues, which will become more salient, cut across traditional alliances or groupings that were established to deal mainly with security issues. Such divergent interests underline the challenge for the international community, including the United States, in having to deal with multiple, competing coalitions to achieve resolution of some of these issues.

  • Whatever its eventual impact or success, the Kyoto climate change treaty exemplifies how formerly nontraditional policy issues can come to the fore and form the core of budding new networks or partnerships.
  • The media explosion cuts both ways: on the one hand, it makes it potentially harder to build a consensus because the media tends to magnify differences; on the other hand, the media can also facilitate discussions and consensus-building.

The United States will have to battle world public opinion, which has dramatically shifted since the end of the Cold War. Although some of the current anti-Americanism 13 is likely to lessen as globalization takes on more of a non-Western face, the younger generation of leaders—unlike during the post-World War II period—has no personal recollection of the United States as its “liberator.” Thus, younger leaders are more likely than their predecessors to diverge with Washington’s thinking on a range of issues.

Finally, as the Pax Americana scenario suggests, the United States may be increasingly confronted with the challenge of managing—at an acceptable cost to itself—relations with Europe, Asia, the Middle East and others, absent a single overarching threat on which to build consensus. For all the challenges ahead, the United States will nevertheless retain enormous advantages, playing a pivotal role across the broad range of issues— economic, technological, political, and military—that no other state can or will match by 2020. Even as the existing order is threatened, the United States will have many opportunities to fashion a new one.

The Pew Research survey of attitudes around the world revealed sharply rising anti-Americanism, especially in the Muslim world, but it also found that people in Muslim countries place a high value on such democratic values as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, multiparty political systems, and equal treatment under the law. Large majorities in almost every Muslim country favor free market economic systems and believe that Western-style democracy can work in their own country..

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 12, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

Conversation No. 29

Date: Tuesday July 30, 1996

Commenced: 8:30 AM CST

Concluded: 8:55 AM CST

 

GD: Good morning, Robert.

RTC: And the same to you, Gregory.

GD: Robert, I know you were not in the CIA’s technical branch but I often wonder when I am on the phone, am I being listened to?

RTC: You don’t have to be from the technical people to know the answer to that one. It’s not so much that you are being snooped on but that you can be observed by almost anyone at any time. We listened in on people and opened mail. That’s the reason why Jim was sacked but that was only an excuse. He was getting crazy. But as far as the telephone is concerned, yes, you could be listened to at any time. It’s not a bug on your phone so much as full and complete cooperation by the telephone people with various agencies. We did it, the FBI and the NSA do it and probably others as well. Your mail can be opened, addresses copied and so on. For instance, if you have a private Swiss bank account, we have the postal people copy down and forward to us the cover of any letter sent by a Swiss bank to an American addressee. We don’t have to open the letter to know it’s a monthly bank statement. And then we know where your account is. And the NSA listened in on each and every phone call overseas. You see, they tap into the communications satellites. Of course there are huge numbers of calls every day so their computers are set to pick out certain words. Like Abu Nidal for instance. Once a key word comes up, the conversation is taped and listened to later.

GD: And the television sets can be used as a monitoring device but only if they’re connected to the cable TV system.

RTC: I’ve heard that but then I rarely watch the garbage on television.

GD: You can circumvent that simply by disconnecting your set from the cable system. Just take out the plug. Put it back later. Or, what I would do, would be to hold a really sizzling but totally fake disinformation conversation right in front of the set. You know…’the Russians really pay well for that information…’ and also ‘ yes the entire building has been mined. One push of a button and we can make the front pages of every newspaper in the world.’ Can you imagine the uproar on the other end? Of course you never are specific and just enough to drive them into a frenzy. I’ve done this a number of times but only twice did I ever find out what a huge stink I caused. Loved it then and I love it now.  Oh yes, Bill told me the other day that he saved Bobby Inman   from exposure once. When I asked him from what, he shut down. Can you comment on this?

RTC: Probably the homosexual issue. They are very sensitive to that one.

GD: Why? And is Inman a faggot?

RTC: Now, now, I’ll let Bill discuss this with you. My information would only be second hand. And it has been long felt that if an agent were a fairy, he could be gotten at by the Russians and blackmailed or set up and turned.

GD: Well, that makes sense but there are so many people like that in DC that it would be difficult not to find a few in various agencies. I think it must be the military bases with their legions of muscled hustlers that draws these people. And the, of course, one gets into an agency and of course has to have company.

RTC: Yes. The Jews are the same way. You let one in and pretty soon, the office looks like a synagogue. And it’s always us against them. The same way with the fairies. That’s the main reason why I object to having them on board.

GD: But the problem with Inman….

RTC: Back in 1980 there was a fairy scare over at NSA. Real McCarthy purges, finger pointing, anonymous letters and so on. A number of the top brass there were scared shitless lest they, too, got exposed. Bill knows some of this and he has known Inman for a long time. There was an ugly incident when he was in law school. I was told that Bill was able to shut the matter down. That is one of the reasons Bill has such good rapport in certain circles.

GD: He’s blackmailing them?

RTC: In a sense. During the Carter days, Bill could pretty well get what he wanted from certain highly placed intelligence people. I think I should leave it at that, Gregory. Talk to Bill about this if you like but I doubt he’ll tell you anything and, yes, you are right. Washington is indeed full of those people. A lot in Congress, the military, especially the Air Force and various agencies. The FBI is rather picky but we and NSA have quite a few queers on board. The NSG has more than its share. And if you go into some of the faggot bars here, you might see a number of the prominent dancing around in mesh stockings and wearing really bad wigs.

GD: Oh, I’ve seen these in San Francisco. The wigs look like dead cats. They don’t look any more like women than my dog but who argues with self-delusion? Five kids and a wife at home and into the lavatories with the holes in the partitions after work. During the week, his name is George but on Saturdays, his name is Phyllis.

RTC: (Laughter) Yes, we are overrun here.

GD: Well, at least you can’t dump that one on Clinton although God knows that the weird Christian freaks might try. My God, they hate him and as far as I am concerned, these bone headed twits are far worse than the queens. They believe in the strangest things and are really obnoxious swine. They believe the world is only six thousand years old, that Noah’s ark came to ground at 5,000 feet on a mountain side and God only knows what other myths. I mean, Robert, if another religious cult arose that worshipped the Easter Bunny, it wouldn’t any more unbelievable than the Evangelicals. By the way, did you know that Crisco’s main production plant in New Jersey burned down last night? Yes. Millions now living will never fry.

RTC: (Laughter) Ah, Gregory, I can see why so many hate you so much.

GD: Well, one day, it will come out that Heini Mueller, head of the Gestapo and number two man on the wanted Nazi escapee list was living right near you and visiting the White House.

RTC: We may have to wait a while before that gets to be public knowledge. My God, the Hebes would scream so loud we would have to stuff hundred dollar bills into their mouths like a mama bird shoving worms into her babies. They are such arrogant and demanding people.

GD: Yes, God’s chosen people, Robert. I wonder what God chose them for? Probably to wait in line for the showers somewhere in Poland.

RTC: If that’s true, Gregory, God should have finished the job.

 

(Concluded at 8:55 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Amy Myers

Amy Myers has, over the course of recent years, risen to become something resembling a bigshot in the worthless-supplement industry, with a brand that promises to sell nonsense for often vaguely defined conditions. Now, Myers is, indeed, an MD, but she markets herself as a functional medicine practitioner and is the founder and director of Austin UltraHealth, a functional medicine clinic. Functional medicine stands to medicine like diploma-purchased-online-by-following-the-link-in-a-spam-email stands to education. And her supplements are the kind of supplements that “support MTHFR, adrenal stress, and detoxification efforts” ($43.97 for 120 tablets). Anyone with the faintest knowledge of medicine would of course immediately call “bullshit”. But those with the faintest knowledge of medicine are not in the target audience for these products, of course.

Myers is also the author of a couple of rather popular books, The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases and The Thyroid Connection, both of which should be shunned like the plague by anyone seeking anything remotely resembling medical information. The former claims, without any foundation in fact or reality, that “over 90 percent of the population suffers from inflammation or an autoimmune disorder” – the recipe is simple: convince the reader that she has a disease that doesn’t exist, then push a fake cure that does nothing. “Until now, conventional medicine has said there is no cure,” says Myers, which is technically correct given that there is nothing to cure, and responds with “a cocktail of toxic treatments that fail to address their root cause” – and yes, that is the astonishingly dishonest “doctors-only-treat-symptoms” gambit, no less. Currently, Myers is part of the Goop group, and in particular responsible for developing the Goop vitamin/supplement protocol, Balls in the Air, “designed for women who want to stay on top of their A game”. The protocol is about empowerment, you know; actual health benefits and truth have nothing to do with it.

Myers has been particularly influential on the gluten-free misinfo scene, and has written articles (or rather infomercials) in HuffPo spreading various types of misinformation about gluten. Not all of her writings mention that she, coincidentally, also sells online courses on Celiac/gluten-free diets for the meagre sum of $49.

She has also made a name for herself scaring potential victims with horrid tales of parasites as a likely cause of Hashimoto’s, which is nonsense but surely a good way to lead worried people (including the Morgellons crowd) to her online store and buy her (not cheap) “comprehensive test”. I think we can all tell you in advance what the results of that test and subsequent recommendations are going to be. Suffice to say, the Myers’s Way® Parasite Control Program is not gonna go easy on your wallet. It is certainly not actually going to improve your health, but you may not ever actually realize that: “My objective is to empower you to discover the root cause of your symptoms and be able to self-treat at home with food and supplements,” says Myers – or, put differently: do not seek a second opinion from a different doctor before enrolling or during treatment!

Diagnosis: She’s good at marketing; we’ll give her that. Her claims have no grounding in facts, of course, but that’s never a particularly major obstacle when designing a good marketing strategy.

 

The Enduring Fictional Legacy Of The Illuminati, America’s Favorite Conspiracy Theory

July 8, 2018

by Christopher Shultz

Lit Reactor

Perhaps more so than any other era in history, present-day America lives under a pall of conspiracy theories run wild. We all know the big ones: the CIA (possibly in cahoots with LBJ) orchestrated JFK’s assassination; the Bush administration secretly planned and executed the September 11th attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (a belief colloquially known as the exclamation, “9/11 was an inside job!”); and most recently, Hillary Clinton and various high-profile Democrats ran a child prostitution ring out of a D.C. pizza parlor (you probably know this one as “Pizza-Gate”).

But one prevailing conspiracy theory asserts that every incident mentioned above were not isolated, that they all originated from a single, clandestine organization hell-bent on bringing about the New World Order by any means necessary. It’s the Illuminati, of course, the granddaddy of every conspiratorialist’s nightmares.

And they’re not just behind major world events like 9/11. Rumor has it they control the biggest pop stars and celebrities in the United States as a means of “hiding in plain sight” and spreading their agenda through music and social media influence. Among their purported legion are Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Katy Perry (whom it is also rumored began life as JonBonét Ramsey, the slain child beauty pageant queen who, “in reality” did not die, but rather disappeared into an Illuminati reprograming facility, only to re-emerge a decade later as the author of “Firework”). Also, the Illuminati is hardcore in Satan’s service.

While belief in such far-fetched ideas continues to be detrimental to our rational society, the Illuminati as a fictional cabal once fueled some great (if not deliciously lurid) novels and stories, all of which utilize the very real, but not exactly influential—at least, in the grand historical scheme—secret society that rose to popularity in Bavaria in the 18th century. Founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776, the organization sought to promote education, thought, and reason among would-be politicians, in direct opposition to the Catholic-dominated statesmen who created policy based on religious superstitions. The church didn’t much like that, and more or less snuffed out the group and virtually all secret societies about a decade later.

Nearly all the works mentioned below rely on the basic conceit that the Illuminati somehow managed to survive underground, with the remaining members expanding their plans toward world domination—a rather fun idea for a work of fiction, so long as the idea stays within the confines of a book.

  1. ‘Horrid Mysteries’ (1797) by Carl Grosse
  2. The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975-1984) by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
  3. ‘Fallen Angels’ (1984) by Bernard Cornwell and Susannah Kells
  4. 4. ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’ (1988) by Umberto Eco
  5. The I, Vampire Series (1990-2001) by Michael Romkey
  6. ‘Angels & Demons’ (2000) by Dan Brown
  7. ‘New Avengers: Illuminati’ (2006-2008) by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed & Jim Cheung
  8. ‘Blue Exorcist’ (2009) by Kazue Kato

 

No responses yet

TBR News October 11, 2019

Oct 11 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 11, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 11: “Minute by minute, the anaconda is tightening its coils around the President and will soon eat him. When Nixon saw what was coming after Watergate, he had the political savvy to resign but Trump never will. There will be more drama as he is removed from the Oval Office, probably by force, and then blessed silence and global relief.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • The Kurdish solution that Trump won’t dare contemplate
  • Abandoning Kurds could cost Trump support of evangelical Christians
  • Trump’s Betrayal of the Kurds May Be the Dumbest Move of His Presidency
  • Giuliani associates charged with illegally funneling cash to pro-Trump group
  • Explainer: How Trump used the U.S. government to chase conspiracy theories
  • U.S. appeals court clears way for House to obtain Trump’s financial records
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversation
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

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TBR News October 10, 2019

Oct 10 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 10, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 10: “The Asian banking communities of Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo are privately expressing their concerns over the possibility that strong rumors of the “dumping” of American dollars by major European and Russian banking houses could create economic havoc with the world currency market.

The perceived recklessness of the American Trump Administration’s willingness to launch military attacks against their perceived enemies has caused deep anxiety in both European and Asian economic institutions. It is felt, most especially in Europe but now even in Asia, that the United States has embarked on a reckless course aimed at world economic domination.

Instead of diplomacy, the Trump administration has resorted to threats of naked aggression against any nation that thwarts its designs on this forceful domination.

Afraid of unbridled American “cannon diplomacy,” first European and now Asian economic and political institutions have been engaged in frantic attempts to neutralize what is seen as naked U.S. military aggression.

Unable to match American military might, a number of nations which include France, Germany, Switzerland, the Russian Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia and North Korea have been exploring the possibility of the development of stronger ties, both political and economic.

In a series of meetings now being held in Geneva, Switzerland under conditions of the strictest security, concerned parties have been very seriously considering the options available for the blunting of the current American military and economic plans for world domination

The Table of Contents

  • The Actual Laws Trump Has Broken, Just With the Ukraine and China Affairs, Could Land Him 10 Years in Prison
  • Running the roadblock: House Democrats seeking way around White House on impeachment
  • Turkey opens ground assault on Syria’s Kurds; U.S. Republicans turn on Trump
  • An informative top level Nato conversation report
  • Bringing Company Culture to the Underprivileged
  • The Spy Mania in America Today
  • Trump has no plan — and is panicked and paranoi
  • Trump and the Russians: Facts, not Fictions
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 9, 2019

Oct 09 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 8, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 9: “One has the distinct feeling that Trump has backed himself into a corner from which he cannot escape. There is an old saying in Washington that sums this matter up very well:

Admit nothing

Deny everything

Demand to see the proof

Refuse to accept it.”

 

The Table of Contents 

  • Refuse, block, stonewall – but Trump’s strategy leaves little margin for error
  • Impeachment: White House refuses to comply with inquiry
  • The Kurds lose out again
  • Explained: Why Turkey wants a military assault on Syrian Kurds
  • An informative top level Nato conversation report
  • The Turkish massacre of Armenians: A Holocaust to remember
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 8, 2019

Oct 08 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 8, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 8: “At least ten staff members here in the White House, none of them important in the eyes of the media, have quit this week. Their general objections are that Trump is not sane, is probably a closet Nazi and that they want no part of his growing problems. I wonder how much the Turks paid him to betray their Kurdish enemies? It is pretty obvious that Trump is crooked to the core and bribery is not alien to his nature.”

 

 

 

  • Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Shows 20 Ways Trump Is Copying Hitler’s Early Rhetoric and Policies
  • Trump’s SS connection
  • Trump firm ‘refusing to pay’ legal bill for windfarm case
  • The U.S. Is Now Betraying the Kurds for the Eighth Time
  • U.S. Republicans join Democrats to blast Trump’s Syria withdrawal
  • White House blocks ambassador’s impeachment testimony; lawmakers vow subpoena
  • Clear majority of Americans support Trump impeachment inquiry, poll finds
  • Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria
  • Facebook the focus of U.S. Justice Department and state AGs meeting
  • The Avalanche
  • DoTox G.m.b.H.
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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TBR News October 7, 2019

Oct 06 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 7, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October  7 :

”’Trump aches from his head to his toes

His sphincters have gone where who knows

And his love life has ended

By a paunch so distended

That all he can use is his nose.’

This bit of poetry has been heard in certain Senatorial Republican circles and if Trump ever hears it, he will attack them with his purse.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Erratic Trump struggles to control message as impeachment threat grows
  • Second whistleblower in Trump-Ukraine scandal comes forward: lawyer
  • Impeachment prospect worries Senate Republicans from swing states, and could endanger GOP majority
  • Faked Conspiracy Photos: (A YouTube speciality ed.)
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

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