Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future
People have asked for this document so here it is…moved up from 2025 to 2015….

December 2000
Global Trends 2015:
A Dialogue About the Future
With Nongovernment Experts
This paper was approved for publication by the
National Foreign Intelligence Board under the authority
of the Director of Central Intelligence.
Prepared under the direction of the National
Intelligence Council.
NIC 2000-02

13 December 2000
From the Director of Central Intelligence
I am pleased to introduce Global Trends 2015, which takes a look at the world
over the next 15 years from the perspective of the national security policymaker.
This is not a traditional intelligence assessment, depending on classified sources
and methods. Rather, it reflects an Intelligence Community fully engaged with
outside experts in a constructive dialogue about the future. I want to encourage
this lively exchange.
From the beginning of this ambitious project in fall 1999, we intended to make
GT-2015 an unclassified assessment to be shared with the public. Experts from
academia, think-tanks and the corporate world have made major contributions,
and their reactions, along with those of other specialists who will see our work
for the first time, will strengthen our continuing analysis of the issues covered in
GT-2015. Grappling with the future is necessarily a work in progress that, I
believe, should constantly seek new insights while testing and revising old
I hope that GT-2015 will contribute to a growing strategic dialogue in the US
Government that will help our country meet the challenges and opportunities
ahead. I look forward to your comments.
George J. Tenet
DI Design Center 377188AI 12-00

From the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council:
The National Intelligence Council (NIC), a small center of strategic thinking in the
US Intelligence Community, launched Global Trends 2015 to stimulate US policymakers
to think “beyond their inboxes.” This work expands the effort of Global Trends 2010,
published in 1997 under the leadership of my predecessor, Professor Richard Cooper
of Harvard.
We identify global “drivers” and estimate their impact on the world over the next
15 years—demography and natural resources, technology, globalization and governance,
likely conflicts and prospects for international cooperation, and the role of the United
States. The judgments flow from our best efforts to produce a comprehensive picture
of the world in 2015. Analysis will help senior leaders better cope with, for example,
the uncertainties involved with the decline of Russia, the emergence of China, or the
political, economic and societal dynamics in the Middle East.
Global Trends 2015 should be seen as a work-in-progress, a flexible framework for
thinking about the future that we will update and revise as conditions evolve. As such,
we are pleased to share it with the public, confident that the feedback we receive will
improve our understanding of the issues we treat. We welcome comments on all aspects
of this study.
Global Trends 2015 is not a traditional intelligence product based on classic intelligence
sources, methods and procedures. The National Intelligence Council gave overall
direction to the year-long effort, assisted by colleagues from other intelligence agencies
and offices. We sought out and drew heavily on experts outside the Intelligence
Community to help us both identify the key drivers and assess their impact worldwide.
Ultimately, however, the conclusions are our responsibility.
The NIC’s Vice Chairman, Ellen Laipson, and I want to acknowledge the special
contributions of several individuals. Enid Schoettle, my special adviser on the NIC, was
a principal drafter and coordinator, and she was ably assisted by retired diplomat Richard
Smith. The DCI Environmental and Societal Issues Center, led by Paul Frandano, made
extensive, invaluable contributions. John Phillips, Chief Scientist of CIA, Directorate
of Science and Technology, offered helpful suggestions. Tom Fingar of the State
Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research made important inputs, as did
Ken Knight and Pat Neary of the Defense Intelligence Agency. All the regional and
functional National Intelligence Officers (NIOs)—identified at the back page of this
publication—contributed sections and provided insights in their areas of expertise.
In the final stages of preparing the full text, Enid Schoettle and NIOs Stuart A. Cohen
(with his crack staff), David F. Gordon, and Barry F. Lowenkron performed the critical
service of integrating substantive comments and judgments.
We are particularly grateful to the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, who
encouraged us to take on this ambitious project and provided us with the necessary
assistance to bring it to fruition.
John Gannon
DI Design Center 377189AI 12-00

(U) Note on Process
In undertaking this comprehensive analysis, the NIC worked actively with
a range of nongovernmental institutions and experts.We began the analysis
with two workshops focusing on drivers and alternative futures, as the
appendix describes. Subsequently, numerous specialists from academia
and the private sector contributed to every aspect of the study, from demographics
to developments in science and technology, from the global arms
market to implications for the United States. Many of the judgments in this
paper derive from our efforts to distill the diverse views expressed at these
conferences or related workshops. Major conferences cosponsored by the
NIC with other government and private centers in support of Global
Trends 2015 included:
• Foreign Reactions to the Revolution in Military Affairs (Georgetown
• Evolution of the Nation-State (University of Maryland).
• Trends in Democratization (CIA and academic experts).
• American Economic Power (Industry & Trade Strategies, San Francisco,
• Transformation of Defense Industries (International Institute for Strategic
Studies, London, UK).
• Alternative Futures inWar and Conflict (Defense Intelligence Agency
and Naval War College, Newport, RI, and CIA).
• Out of the Box and Into the Future: A Dialogue BetweenWarfighters
and Scientists on Far Future Warfare (Potomac Institute, Arlington,
• Future Threat Technologies Symposium (MITRE Corporation,
McLean, VA).
• The Global Course of the Information Revolution: Technological
Trends (RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA).
• The Global Course of the Information Revolution: Political, Economic,
and Social Consequences (RAND Corporation, Santa Monica,
• The Middle East: The Media, Information Technology, and the
Internet (The National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington,
• Global Migration Trends and Their Implications for the United
States (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC).
• Alternative Global Futures: 2000-2015 (Department of State/Bureau of
Intelligence and Research and CIA’s Global Futures Project).
In October 2000, the draft report was discussed with outside experts,
including Richard Cooper and Joseph Nye (Harvard University), Richard
Haass (Brookings Institution), James Steinberg (Markle Foundation), and
Jessica Mathews (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Their
comments and suggestions are incorporated in the report. Daniel Yergin
(Cambridge Energy Research Associates) reviewed and commented on the
final draft.
(U) Contents
Note on Process 1
Overview 5
The Drivers and Trends 8
Key Uncertainties: Technology Will Alter Outcomes 13
Key Challenges to Governance: People Will Decide 17
Discussion 19
Population Trends 19
Divergent Aging Patterns 19
Movement of People 20
Health 24
Natural Resources and Environment 26
Food 26
Water 27
Energy 28
Environment 31
Science and Technology 32
Information Technology 32
Biotechnology 33
Other Technologies 33
The Global Economy 34
Dynamism and Growth 34
Unequal Growth Prospects and Distribution 35
Economic Crises and Resilience 38
National and International Governance 38
Nonstate Actors 40
Criminal Organizations and Networks 41
Changing Communal Identities and Networks 41
Overall Impacts on States 46
International Cooperation 47
Future Conflict 49
Internal Conflicts 49
Transnational Terrorism 50
Interstate Conflicts 50
Reacting to US Military Superiority 56
Major Regions 60
East and Southeast Asia 61
South Asia 64
Russia and Eurasia 68
Middle East and North Africa 70
Sub-Saharan Africa 71
Europe 74
Canada 76
Latin America 78
Four Alternative Global Futures 83
(U) Overview
Global Trends 2015:
A Dialogue About the Future
With Nongovernment Experts
Over the past 15 months, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), in close
collaboration with US Government specialists and a wide range of experts
outside the government, has worked to identify major drivers and trends that
will shape the world of 2015.
The key drivers identified are:
(l) Demographics.
(2) Natural resources and environment.
(3) Science and technology.
(4) The global economy and globalization.
(5) National and international governance.
(6) Future conflict.
(7) The role of the United States.
In examining these drivers, several points should be kept in mind:
• No single driver or trend will dominate the global future in 2015.
• Each driver will have varying impacts in different regions and countries.
• The drivers are not necessarily mutually reinforcing; in some cases, they
will work at cross-purposes.
Taken together, these drivers and trends intersect to create an integrated picture
of the world of 2015, about which we can make projections with varying
degrees of confidence and identify some troubling uncertainties of
strategic importance to the United States.
The Methodology Global Trends 2015 provides a flexible framework to discuss and debate the
future. The methodology is useful for our purposes, although admittedly
inexact for the social scientist. Our purpose is to rise above short-term, tactical
considerations and provide a longer-term, strategic perspective.
Judgments about demographic and natural resource trends are based primarily
on informed extrapolation of existing trends. In contrast, many judgments
about science and technology, economic growth, globalization,
governance, and the nature of conflict represent a distillation of views of
experts inside and outside the United States Government. The former are
projections about natural phenomena, about which we can have fairly high
confidence; the latter are more speculative because they are contingent upon
the decisions that societies and governments will make.
The drivers we emphasize will have staying power. Some of the trends will
persist; others will be less enduring and may change course over the time
frame we consider. The major contribution of the National Intelligence
Council (NIC), assisted by experts from the Intelligence Community, has
been to harness US Government and nongovernmental specialists to identify
drivers, to determine which ones matter most, to highlight key uncertainties,
and to integrate analysis of these trends into a national security context. The
result identifies issues for more rigorous analysis and quantification.
Revisiting Global Trends 2010: How Our Assessments Have Changed
Over the past four years, we have tested the judgments made in the
predecessor, Global Trends 2010, published in 1997. Global Trends
2010 was the centerpiece of numerous briefings, conferences, and
public addresses. Various audiences were energetic in challenging,
modifying or confirming our judgments. The lively debate that ensued
has expanded our treatment of drivers, altered some projections we
made in 1997, and matured our thinking overall—which was the
essential purpose of this exercise.
Global Trends 2015 amplifies several drivers identified previously,
and links them more closely to the trends we now project over the next
15 years. Some of the key changes include:
• Globalization has emerged as a more powerful driver. GT 2015 sees
international economic dynamics—including developments in the
World Trade Organization—and the spread of information technology
as having much greater influence than portrayed in GT 2010.
• GT 2015 assigns more significance to the importance of governance,
notably the ability of states to deal with nonstate actors, both good
and bad. GT 2015 pays attention both to the opportunities for cooperation
between governments and private organizations and to the
growing reach of international criminal and terrorist networks.
• GT 2015 includes a more careful examination of the likely role of
science and technology as a driver of global developments. In addition
to the growing significance of information technology, biotechnology
and other technologies carry much more weight in the
present assessment.
• The effect of the United States as the preponderant power is introduced
in GT 2015. The US role as a global driver has emerged more
clearly over the past four years, particularly as many countries
debate the impact of “US hegemony” on their domestic and foreign
• GT 2015 provides a more complete discussion of natural resources
including food, water, energy, and the environment. It discusses, for
example, the over three billion individuals who will be living in
water-stressed regions from North China to Africa and the implications
for conflict. The linkage between energy availability, price, and
distribution is more thoroughly explored.
• GT 2015 emphasizes interactions among the drivers. For example,
we discuss the relationship between S&T, military developments,
and the potential for conflict.
• In the regional sections, GT 2015 makes projections about the
impact of the spread of information, the growing power of China,
and the declining power of Russia.
Events and trends in key states and regions over the last four years
have led us to revise some projections substantially in GT 2015.
• GT 2010 did not foresee the global financial crisis of 1997-98;
GT 2015 takes account of obstacles to economic development in
East Asia, though the overall projections remain fairly optimistic.
The Drivers and Trends
Demographics World population in 2015 will be 7.2 billion, up from 6.1 billion in the year
2000, and in most countries, people will live longer. Ninety-five percent of
the increase will be in developing countries, nearly all in rapidly expanding
urban areas. Where political systems are brittle, the combination of population
growth and urbanization will foster instability. Increasing lifespans will
have significantly divergent impacts.
• In the advanced economies—and a growing number of emerging market
countries—declining birthrates and aging will combine to increase health
care and pension costs while reducing the relative size of the working
population, straining the social contract, and leaving significant shortfalls
in the size and capacity of the work force.
• In some developing countries, these same trends will combine to expand
the size of the working population and reduce the youth bulge—increasing
the potential for economic growth and political stability.
• As described in GT 2010, there is still substantial uncertainty
regarding whether China can cope with internal political and economic
trends. GT 2015 highlights even greater uncertainty over the
direction of Beijing’s regional policies.
• Many of the global trends continue to remain negative for the societies
and regimes in the Middle East. GT 2015 projects at best a “cold
peace” between Israel and its adversaries and sees prospects for
potentially destabilizing social changes due to adverse effects of globalization
and insufficient attention to reform. The spike in oil revenues
reinforces the assessment of GT 2010 about the rising demand
for OPEC oil; these revenues are not likely to be directed primarily
at core human resources and social needs.
• Projections for Sub-Saharan Africa are even more dire than in
GT 2010 because of the spread of AIDS and the continuing prospects
for humanitarian crises, political instability, and military conflicts.
Revisiting Global Trends 2010: How Our Assessments Have Changed
Natural Resources
and Environment
Overall food production will be adequate to feed the world’s growing population,
but poor infrastructure and distribution, political instability, and
chronic poverty will lead to malnourishment in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The potential for famine will persist in countries with repressive government
policies or internal conflicts. Despite a 50 percent increase in global
energy demand, energy resources will be sufficient to meet demand; the latest
estimates suggest that 80 percent of the world’s available oil and 95 percent
of its gas remain underground.
• Although the Persian Gulf region will remain the world’s largest single
source of oil, the global energy market is likely to encompass two relatively
distinct patterns of regional distribution: one serving consumers
(including the United States) from Atlantic Basin reserves; and the other
meeting the needs of primarily Asian customers (increasingly China and
India) from Persian Gulf supplies and, to a lesser extent, the Caspian
region and Central Asia.
• In contrast to food and energy, water scarcities and allocation will pose
significant challenges to governments in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan
Africa, South Asia, and northern China. Regional tensions over water will
be heightened by 2015.
Science and
Fifteen years ago, few predicted the profound impact of the revolution in
information technology. Looking ahead another 15 years, the world will
encounter more quantum leaps in information technology (IT) and in other
areas of science and technology. The continuing diffusion of information
technology and new applications of biotechnology will be at the crest of the
wave. IT will be the major building block for international commerce and
for empowering nonstate actors. Most experts agree that the IT revolution
represents the most significant global transformation since the Industrial
Revolution beginning in the mid-eighteenth century.
• The integration—or fusion—of continuing revolutions in information
technology, biotechnology, materials science, and nanotechnology will
generate a dramatic increase in investment in technology, which will further
stimulate innovation within the more advanced countries.
• Older technologies will continue lateral “sidewise development” into new
markets and applications through 2015, benefiting US allies and adversaries
around the world who are interested in acquiring early generation ballistic
missile and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technologies.
• Biotechnology will drive medical breakthroughs that will enable the
world’s wealthiest people to improve their health and increase their longevity
dramatically. At the same time, genetically modified crops will
offer the potential to improve nutrition among the world’s one billion malnourished
• Breakthroughs in materials technology will generate widely available
products that are multi-functional, environmentally safe, longer lasting,
and easily adapted to particular consumer requirements.
• Disaffected states, terrorists, proliferators, narcotraffickers, and organized
criminals will take advantage of the new high-speed information environment
and other advances in technology to integrate their illegal activities
and compound their threat to stability and security around the world.
The Global Economy
and Globalization
The networked global economy will be driven by rapid and largely unrestricted
flows of information, ideas, cultural values, capital, goods and services,
and people: that is, globalization. This globalized economy will be a
net contributor to increased political stability in the world in 2015, although
its reach and benefits will not be universal. In contrast to the Industrial Revolution,
the process of globalization is more compressed. Its evolution will
be rocky, marked by chronic financial volatility and a widening economic
• The global economy, overall, will return to the high levels of growth
reached in the 1960s and early 1970s. Economic growth will be driven by
political pressures for higher living standards, improved economic policies,
rising foreign trade and investment, the diffusion of information
technologies, and an increasingly dynamic private sector. Potential brakes
on the global economy—such as a sustained financial crisis or prolonged
disruption of energy supplies—could undo this optimistic projection.
• Regions, countries, and groups feeling left behind will face deepening
economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation. They
will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along
with the violence that often accompanies it. They will force the United
States and other developed countries to remain focused on “old-world”
challenges while concentrating on the implications of “new-world” technologies
at the same time.
National and
States will continue to be the dominant players on the world stage, but governments
will have less and less control over flows of information, technology,
diseases, migrants, arms, and financial transactions, whether licit or
illicit, across their borders. Nonstate actors ranging from business firms to
nonprofit organizations will play increasingly larger roles in both national
and international affairs. The quality of governance, both nationally and
internationally, will substantially determine how well states and societies
cope with these global forces.
• States with competent governance, including the United States, will adapt
government structures to a dramatically changed global environment—
making them better able to engage with a more interconnected world. The
responsibilities of once “semiautonomous” government agencies increasingly
will intersect because of the transnational nature of national security
priorities and because of the clear requirement for interdisciplinary policy
responses. Shaping the complex, fast-moving world of 2015 will require
reshaping traditional government structures.
• Effective governance will increasingly be determined by the ability and
agility to form partnerships to exploit increased information flows, new
technologies, migration, and the influence of nonstate actors. Most but not
all countries that succeed will be representative democracies.
• States with ineffective and incompetent governance not only will fail to
benefit from globalization, but in some instances will spawn conflicts at
home and abroad, ensuring an even wider gap between regional winners
and losers than exists today.
Globalization will increase the transparency of government decision-making,
complicating the ability of authoritarian regimes to maintain control,
but also complicating the traditional deliberative processes of democracies.
Increasing migration will create influential diasporas, affecting policies,
politics and even national identity in many countries. Globalization also
will create increasing demands for international cooperation on transnational
issues, but the response of both states and international organizations
will fall short in 2015.
Future Conflict The United States will maintain a strong technological edge in IT-driven
“battlefield awareness” and in precision-guided weaponry in 2015. The
United States will face three types of threats:
• Asymmetric threats in which state and nonstate adversaries avoid direct
engagements with the US military but devise strategies, tactics, and weapons—
some improved by “sidewise” technology—to minimize US
strengths and exploit perceived weaknesses;
• Strategic WMD threats, including nuclear missile threats, in which (barring
significant political or economic changes) Russia, China, most likely
North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq have the capability to strike
the United States, and the potential for unconventional delivery of WMD
by both states or nonstate actors also will grow; and
• Regional military threats in which a few countries maintain large
military forces with a mix of Cold War and post-Cold War concepts and
The risk of war among developed countries will be low. The international
community will continue, however, to face conflicts around the world, ranging
from relatively frequent small-scale internal upheavals to less frequent
regional interstate wars. The potential for conflict will arise from rivalries in
Asia, ranging from India-Pakistan to China-Taiwan, as well as among the
antagonists in the Middle East. Their potential lethality will grow, driven by
the availability of WMD, longer-range missile delivery systems and other
Internal conflicts stemming from religious, ethnic, economic or political
disputes will remain at current levels or even increase in number. The
United Nations and regional organizations will be called upon to manage
such conflicts because major states—stressed by domestic concerns, perceived
risk of failure, lack of political will, or tight resources—will minimize
their direct involvement.
Export control regimes and sanctions will be less effective because of the
diffusion of technology, porous borders, defense industry consolidations,
and reliance upon foreign markets to maintain profitability. Arms and weapons
technology transfers will be more difficult to control.
• Prospects will grow that more sophisticated weaponry, including weapons
of mass destruction—indigenously produced or externally acquired—will
get into the hands of state and nonstate belligerents, some hostile to the
United States. The likelihood will increase over this period that WMD
will be used either against the United States or its forces, facilities, and
interests overseas.
Role of the United
The United States will continue to be a major force in the world community.
US global economic, technological, military, and diplomatic influence will
be unparalleled among nations as well as regional and international organizations
in 2015. This power not only will ensure America’s preeminence,
but also will cast the United States as a key driver of the international
The United States will continue to be identified throughout the world as the
leading proponent and beneficiary of globalization. US economic actions,
even when pursued for such domestic goals as adjusting interest rates, will
have a major global impact because of the tighter integration of global markets
by 2015.
• The United States will remain in the vanguard of the technological revolution
from information to biotechnology and beyond.
• Both allies and adversaries will factor continued US military pre-eminence
in their calculations of national security interests and ambitions.
• Some states—adversaries and allies—will try at times to check what they
see as American “hegemony.” Although this posture will not translate into
strategic, broad-based and enduring anti-US coalitions, it will lead to tactical
alignments on specific policies and demands for a greater role in
international political and economic institutions.
Diplomacy will be more complicated. Washington will have greater difficulty
harnessing its power to achieve specific foreign policy goals: the US
Government will exercise a smaller and less powerful part of the overall
economic and cultural influence of the United States abroad.
• In the absence of a clear and overriding national security threat, the
United States will have difficulty drawing on its economic prowess to
advance its foreign policy agenda. The top priority of the American private
sector, which will be central to maintaining the US economic and
technological lead, will be financial profitability, not foreign policy objectives.
• The United States also will have greater difficulty building coalitions to
support its policy goals, although the international community will often
turn to Washington, even if reluctantly, to lead multilateral efforts in real
and potential conflicts.
• There will be increasing numbers of important actors on the world stage
to challenge and check—as well as to reinforce—US leadership: countries
such as China, Russia, India, Mexico, and Brazil; regional organizations
such as the European Union; and a vast array of increasingly
powerful multinational corporations and nonprofit organizations with
their own interests to defend in the world.
Key Uncertainties: Technology Will Alter Outcomes
Examining the interaction of these drivers and trends points to some major
uncertainties that will only be clarified as events occur and leaders make
policy decisions that cannot be foreseen today. We cite eight transnational
and regional issues for which the future, according to our trends analysis, is
too tough to call with any confidence or precision.
• These are high-stakes, national security issues that will require continuous
analysis and, in the view of our conferees, periodic policy
review in the years ahead.
Science and
We know that the possibility is greater than ever that the revolution in science
and technology will improve the quality of life. What we know about
this revolution is exciting. Advances in science and technology will generate
dramatic breakthroughs in agriculture and health and in leap-frog applications,
such as universal wireless cellular communications, which already
are networking developing countries that never had land-lines. What we do
not know about the S&T revolution, however, is staggering. We do not
know to what extent technology will benefit, or further disadvantage, disaffected
national populations, alienated ethnic and religious groups, or the
less developed countries. We do not know to what degree lateral or “sidewise”
technology will increase the threat from low technology countries
and groups. One certainty is that progression will not be linear. Another is
that as future technologies emerge, people will lack full awareness of their
wider economic, environmental, cultural, legal, and moral impact—or the
continuing potential for research and development.
Advances in science and technology will pose national security challenges
of uncertain character and scale.
• Increasing reliance on computer networks is making critical US infrastructures
more attractive as targets. Computer network operations today
offer new options for attacking the United States within its traditional
continental sanctuary—potentially anonymously and with selective
effects. Nevertheless, we do not know how quickly or effectively such
adversaries as terrorists or disaffected states will develop the tradecraft to
use cyber warfare tools and technology, or, in fact, whether cyber warfare
will ever evolve into a decisive combat arm.
• Rapid advances and diffusion of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the
materials sciences, moreover, will add to the capabilities of our adversaries
to engage in biological warfare or bio-terrorism.
Asymmetric Warfare As noted earlier, most adversaries will recognize the information advantage
and military superiority of the United States in 2015. Rather than acquiesce
to any potential US military domination, they will try to circumvent or minimize
US strengths and exploit perceived weaknesses. IT-driven globalization
will significantly increase interaction among terrorists, narcotraffickers,
weapons proliferators, and organized criminals, who in a networked world
will have greater access to information, to technology, to finance, to sophisticated
deception-and-denial techniques and to each other. Such asymmetric
approaches—whether undertaken by states or nonstate actors—will become
the dominant characteristic of most threats to the US homeland. They will
be a defining challenge for US strategy, operations, and force development,
and they will require that strategy to maintain focus on traditional, lowtechnology
threats as well as the capacity of potential adversaries to harness
elements of proliferating advanced technologies. At the same time, we do
not know the extent to which adversaries, state and nonstate, might be influenced
or deterred by other geopolitical, economic, technological, or diplomatic
factors in 2015.
The Global Economy Although the outlook for the global economy appears strong, achieving
broad and sustained high levels of global growth will be contingent on
avoiding several potential brakes to growth. These include:
The US economy suffers a sustained downturn. Given its large trade deficit
and low domestic savings, the US economy—the most important driver of
recent global growth—is vulnerable to a loss of international confidence in
its growth prospects that could lead to a sharp downturn, which, if long lasting,
would have deleterious economic and policy consequences for the rest
of the world.
Europe and Japan fail to manage their demographic challenges. European
and Japanese populations are aging rapidly, requiring more than 110 million
new workers by 2015 to maintain current dependency ratios between the
working population and retirees. Conflicts over social services or immigration
policies in major European states could dampen economic growth.
China and/or India fail to sustain high growth. China’s ambitious goals for
reforming its economy will be difficult to achieve: restructuring stateowned
enterprises, cleaning up and transforming the banking system, and
cutting the government’s employment rolls in half. Growth would slow if
these reforms go off-track. Failure by India to implement reforms would
prevent it from achieving sustained growth.
Emerging market countries fail to reform their financial institutions. Many
emerging market countries have not yet undertaken the financial reforms
needed to help them survive the next economic crisis. Absent such reform, a
series of future economic crises in emerging market countries probably will
dry up the capital flows crucial for high rates of economic growth.
Global energy supplies suffer a major disruption. Turbulence in global
energy supplies would have a devastating effect. Such a result could be
driven by conflict among key energy-producing states, sustained internal
instability in two or more major energy-producing states, or major terrorist
The Middle East Global trends from demography and natural resources to globalization and
governance appear generally negative for the Middle East. Most regimes are
change-resistant. Many are buoyed by continuing energy revenues and will
not be inclined to make the necessary reforms, including in basic education,
to change this unfavorable picture.
• Linear trend analysis shows little positive change in the region, raising the
prospects for increased demographic pressures, social unrest, religious
and ideological extremism, and terrorism directed both at the regimes and
at their Western supporters.
• Nonlinear developments—such as the sudden rise of a Web-connected
opposition, a sharp and sustained economic downturn, or, conversely, the
emergence of enlightened leaders committed to good governance—might
change outcomes in individual countries. Political changes in Iran in the
late 1990s are an example of such nonlinear development.
China Estimates of developments in China over the next 15 years are fraught with
unknowables. Working against China’s aspirations to sustain economic
growth while preserving its political system is an array of political, social,
and economic pressures that will increasingly challenge the regime’s legitimacy,
and perhaps its survival.
• The sweeping structural changes required by China’s entry into theWorld
Trade Organization (WTO) and the broader demands of economic globalization
and the information revolution will generate significantly new levels
and types of social and economic disruption that will only add to an
already wide range of domestic and international problems.
Nevertheless, China need not be overwhelmed by these problems. China
has proven politically resilient, economically dynamic, and increasingly
assertive in positioning itself for a leadership role in East Asia. Its long-term
military program in particular suggests that Beijing wants to have the capability
to achieve its territorial objectives, outmatch its neighbors, and constrain
US power in the region.
• We do not rule out the introduction of enough political reform by 2015 to
allow China to adapt to domestic pressure for change and to continue to
grow economically.
Two conditions, in the view of many specialists, would lead to a major security
challenge for the United States and its allies in the region: a weak, disintegrating
China, or an assertive China willing to use its growing economic
wealth and military capabilities to pursue its strategic advantage in the
region. These opposite extremes bound a more commonly held view among
experts that China will continue to see peace as essential to its economic
growth and internal stability.
Russia Between now and 2015, Moscow will be challenged even more than today
to adjust its expectations for world leadership to its dramatically reduced
resources. Whether the country can make the transition in adjusting ends to
means remains an open and critical question, according to most experts, as
does the question of the character and quality of Russian governance and
economic policies. The most likely outcome is a Russia that remains internally
weak and institutionally linked to the international system primarily
through its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In this view,
whether Russia can adjust to this diminished status in a manner that preserves
rather than upsets regional stability is also uncertain. The stakes for
both Europe and the United States will be high, although neither will have
the ability to determine the outcome for Russia in 2015. Russian governance
will be the critical factor.
Japan The first uncertainty about Japan is whether it will carry out the structural
reforms needed to resume robust economic growth and to slow its decline
relative to the rest of East Asia, particularly China. The second uncertainty
is whether Japan will alter its security policy to allow Tokyo to maintain a
stronger military and more reciprocal relationship with the United States.
Experts agree that Japanese governance will be the key driver in determining
the outcomes.
India Global trends conflict significantly in India. The size of its population—1.2
billion by 2015—and its technologically driven economic growth virtually
dictate that India will be a rising regional power. The unevenness of its
internal economic growth, with a growing gap between rich and poor, and
serious questions about the fractious nature of its politics, all cast doubt on
how powerful India will be by 2015. Whatever its degree of power, India’s
rising ambition will further strain its relations with China, as well as complicate
its ties with Russia, Japan, and the West—and continue its nuclear
standoff with Pakistan.
Key Challenges to Governance: People Will Decide
Global Trends 2015 identifies governance as a major driver for the future
and assumes that all trends we cite will be influenced, for good or bad, by
decisions of people. The inclusion of the United States as a driver—both the
US Government as well as US for-profit and nonprofit organizations—is
based on the general assumption that the actions of nonstate actors as well
as governments will shape global outcomes in the years ahead.
An integrated trend analysis suggests at least four related conclusions:
National Priorities
Will Matter
• To prosper in the global economy of 2015, governments will have to
invest more in technology, in public education, and in broader participation
in government to include increasingly influential nonstate actors. The
extent to which governments around the world are doing these things
today gives some indication of where they will be in 2015.
US Responsibilities
Will Cover theWorld,
Old and New
• The United States and other developed countries will be challenged in
2015 to lead the fast-paced technological revolution while, at the same
time, maintaining military, diplomatic, and intelligence capabilities to
deal with traditional problems and threats from low-technology countries
and groups. The United States, as a global power, will have little choice
but to engage leading actors and confront problems on both sides of the
widening economic and digital divides in the world of 2015, when globalization’s
benefits will be far from global.
US Foreign Priorities
Will be More
• International or multilateral arrangements increasingly will be called
upon in 2015 to deal with growing transnational problems from economic
and financial volatility; to legal and illegal migration; to competition for
scarce natural resources such as water; to humanitarian, refugee, and
environmental crises; to terrorism, narcotrafficking, and weapons proliferation;
and to both regional conflicts and cyber threats. And when international
cooperation—or international governance—comes up short, the
United States and other developed countries will have to broker solutions
among a wide array of international players—including governments at
all levels, multinational corporations, and nonprofit organizations.
Governments Will be
More Transparent
• To deal with a transnational agenda and an interconnected world in 2015,
governments will have to develop greater communication and collaboration
between national security and domestic policy agencies. Interagency cooperation
will be essential to understanding transnational threats and to developing
interdisciplinary strategies to counter them. Consequence management
of a biological warfare (BW) attack, for example, would require close coordination
among a host of US Government agencies, foreign governments,
US state and municipal governments, the military, the medical community,
and the media.
Global Trends 2015:
A Dialogue About the Future
With Nongovernment Experts
The international system in 2015 will be
shaped by seven global drivers and related
trends: population; natural resources and the
environment; science and technology; the global
economy and globalization; national and
international governance; the nature of conflict;
and the role of the United States. These trends
will influence the capacities, priorities, and
behavior of states and societies and thus
substantially define the international security
Population Trends
The world in 2015 will be populated by some
7.2 billion people, up from 6.1 billion in the
year 2000. The rate of world population
growth, however, will have diminished from
1.7 percent annually in 1985, to 1.3 percent
today, to approximately 1 percent in 2015.
Increased life expectancy and falling fertility
rates will contribute to a shift toward an aging
population in high-income developed countries.
Beyond that, demographic trends will sharply
diverge. More than 95 percent of the increase in
world population will be found in developing
countries, nearly all in rapidly expanding urban
• India’s population will grow from 900 million
to more than 1.2 billion by 2015; Pakistan’s
probably will swell from 140 million
now to about 195 million.
• Some countries in Africa with high rates of
AIDS will experience reduced population
growth or even declining populations despite
relatively high birthrates. In South Africa, for
example, the population is projected to drop
from 43.4 million in 2000 to 38.7 million in
Russia and many post-Communist countries of
Eastern Europe will have declining populations.
As a result of high mortality and low
birthrates, Russia’s population may drop from
its current 146 million to as low as 130 to 135
million in 2015, while the neighboring states of
Central Asia will experience continued population
growth. In Japan and West European countries
such as Italy and Spain, populations also
will decline in the absence of dramatic
increases in birthrates or immigration.
• North America, Australia, and New
Zealand—the traditional magnets for
migrants—will continue to have the highest
rates of population growth among the developed
countries, with annual population growth
rates between 0.7 percent and 1.0 percent.
Divergent Aging Patterns
In developed countries and many of the more
advanced developing countries, the declining
ratio of working people to retirees will strain
social services, pensions, and health systems.
Governments will seek to mitigate the problem
through such measures as delaying retirement,
encouraging greater participation in the work

Los Angeles
Mexico City
New York
Sao Paulo
Buenos Aires
Boundary representation is
no necessarily authoritative.
DI Cartography Center 753949AI 12-00
Growth in Megacitiesa
> 100 million
50-100 million
10-50 million
< 10 million
Population Growth, 1950-2000
aCities containing more than
10 million inhabitants.
Sources: The National Geographic Society and United Nations.
2000 (estimate)
2015 (projection)
Population Growth of Largest Cities

Nearly one-half of the world’s land surface
consists of river basins shared by more than one
country, and more than 30 nations receive more
than one-third of their water from outside their
• Turkey is building new dams and irrigation
projects on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers,
which will affect water flows into Syria and
Iraq—two countries that will experience considerable
population growth.
• Egypt is proceeding with a major diversion of
water from the Nile, which flows from Ethiopia
and Sudan, both of which will want to
draw more water from the Nile for their own
development by 2015.Water-sharing arrangements
are likely to become more contentious.
Water shortages occurring in combination with
other sources of tension—such as in the Middle
East—will be the most worrisome.
The global economy will continue to become
more energy efficient through 2015. Traditional
industries, as well as transportation, are
increasingly efficient in their energy use. Moreover,
the most dynamic growth areas in the global
economy, especially services and the
knowledge fields, are less energy intensive than
the economic activities that they replace.
Energy production also is becoming more efficient.
Technological applications, particularly
in deep-water exploration and production, are
opening remote and hostile areas to petroleum
Sustained global economic growth, along with
population increases, will drive a nearly 50 percent
increase in the demand for energy over the
next 15 years. Total oil demand will increase
from roughly 75 million barrels per day in 2000
to more than 100 million barrels in 2015, an
increase almost as large as OPEC’s current production.
Over the next 15 years, natural gas
usage will increase more rapidly than that of
any other energy source—by more than 100
percent—mainly stemming from the tripling of
gas consumption in Asia.
Asia will drive the expansion in energy
demand, replacing North America as the leading
energy consumption region and accounting
for more than half of the world’s total increase
in demand.
• China, and to a lesser extent India, will see
especially dramatic increases in energy consumption.
• By 2015, only one-tenth of Persian Gulf oil
will be directed to Western markets; threequarters
will go to Asia.
Fossil fuels will remain the dominant form of
energy despite increasing concerns about global
warming. Efficiency of solar cells will
improve, genetic engineering will increase the
long-term prospects for the large-scale use of
ethanol, and hydrates will be used increasingly
as fuels. Nuclear energy use will remain at current
Meeting the increase in demand for energy will
pose neither a major supply challenge nor lead
to substantial price increases in real terms.
Estimates of the world’s total endowment of oil
have steadily increased as technological
progress in extracting oil from remote sources
has enabled new discoveries and more efficient
production. Recent estimates indicate that 80
percent of the world’s available oil still remains
in the ground, as does 95 percent of the world’s
natural gas.
DI Cartography Center 754033AI 12-00
World Water Availability
More than 20
– very high
10 to 20 – high
5 to 10 – average
2 to 5 – low
1 to 2 – very low
Less than 1
– catastrophically low
No data
Water Availability
(1,000m3/year per capita)
Source: Stockholm Environmental Institute, 1997:
Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater
Resources of the World.

Contemporary environmental problems will
persist and in many instances grow over the
next 15 years. With increasingly intensive land
use, significant degradation of arable land will
continue as will the loss of tropical forests.
Given the promising global economic outlook,
greenhouse gas emissions will increase substantially.
The depletion of tropical forests and
other species-rich habitats, such as wetlands
and coral reefs, will exacerbate the historically
large losses of biological species now occurring.
• Environmental issues will become mainstream
issues in several countries, particularly
in the developed world. The consensus
on the need to deal with environmental issues
will strengthen; however, progress in dealing
with them will be uneven.
The outlook to 2015 is mixed for such localized
environmental problems as high concentrations
of ozone and noxious chemicals in the air and
the pollution of rivers and lakes by industrial
and agricultural wastes.
• Developed countries will continue to manage
these local environmental issues, and such
issues are unlikely to constitute a major constraint
on economic growth or on improving
health standards.
• The developing countries, however, will face
intensified environmental problems as a result
of population growth, economic development,
and rapid urbanization. An increasing
number of cities will face the serious air and
water quality problems that already are troubling
in such urban centers as Mexico City,
Sao Paulo, Lagos, and Beijing.
• Russia and Ukraine will struggle with problems
stemming from decades of environmental
neglect and abuse, including widespread
radioactive pollution from badly managed
nuclear facilities. These problems are
unlikely to be adequately addressed. As these
countries pursue economic growth, they will
devote insufficient resources to environmental
• Central and Eastern European countries face
similar problems as a result of the legacy of
environmental neglect from the Communist
era; nevertheless, driven by their desire to
gain EU membership, several will become
more effective in addressing these problems
and will upgrade their environmental
Some existing agreements, even when implemented,
will not be able by 2015 to reverse the
targeted environmental damage they were
designed to address. The Montreal Protocol is
on track to restore the stratospheric ozone layer
over the next 50 years. Nevertheless, the seasonal
Antarctic ozone hole will expand for the
next two decades—increasing the risk of skin
cancer in countries like Australia, Argentina,
and Chile—because of the long lag time
between emission reductions and atmospheric
effects. Important new agreements will be
implemented, including, for example, a global
treaty to control the worldwide spread of such
persistent organic chemicals as DDT and
dioxins. Other agreements, such as the
Convention on Biodiversity, will fall short
in meeting their objectives.
Over the next 15 years the pressures on the
environment as a result of economic growth
will decrease as a result of less energy-intensive
economic development and technological
advances. For example, increased use of fuel
cells and hybrid engines is likely to reduce the
rate of increase in the amount of pollution produced,
particularly in the transportation sector.
Also, increases in the utilization of solar and
wind power, advances in the efficiency of
energy use, and a shift toward less polluting
fuels, such as natural gas, will contribute to this
Global warming will challenge the international
community as indications of a warming
climate—such as meltbacks of polar ice, sea
level rise, and increasing frequency of major
storms—occur. The Kyoto Protocol on Climate
Change, which mandates emission-reduction
targets for developed countries, is unlikely to
come into force soon or without substantial
modification. Even in the absence of a formal
treaty, however, some incremental progress will
be made in reducing the growth of greenhouse
gas emissions.
• Both India and China will actively explore
less carbon-intensive development strategies,
although they will resist setting targets or
timetables for carbon dioxide emission limits.
• A number of major firms operating internationally
will take steps to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions.
Science and Technology
The continuing diffusion of information technology
and new applications in the biotechnology
field will be of particular global
significance. Two major trends will continue:
• The integration of existing disciplines to
form new ones. The integration of information
technology, biotechnology, materials sciences,
and nanotechnology will generate a
dramatic increase in innovation. The effects
will be profound on business and commerce,
public health, and safety.
• The lateral development of technology.
Older established technologies will continue
“sidewise” development into new markets
and applications, for example, developing
innovative applications for “old” computer
The time between the discovery and the application
of scientific advances will continue to
shorten. Developments in the laboratory will
reach commercial production at ever faster
rates, leading to increased investments.
Information Technology (IT)
Over the next 15 years, a wide range of developments
will lead to many new IT-enabled
devices and services. Rapid diffusion is likely
because equipment costs will decrease at the
same time that demand is increasing. Local-toglobal
Internet access holds the prospect of universal
wireless connectivity via hand-held
devices and large numbers of low-cost, lowaltitude
satellites. Satellite systems and services
will develop in ways that increase performance
and reduce costs.
By 2015, information technology will make
major inroads in rural as well as urban areas
around the globe. Moreover, information technology
need not be widespread to produce
important effects. The first information technology
“pioneers” in each society will be the
local economic and political elites, multiplying
the initial impact.
• Some countries and populations, however,
will fail to benefit much from the information
• Among developing countries, India will
remain in the forefront in developing information
technology, led by the growing class
of high-tech workers and entrepreneurs.
• China will lead the developing world in
utilizing information technology, with urban
areas leading the countryside. Beijing’s
capacity to control or shape the content of
information, however, is likely to be sharply
• Although most Russian urban-dwellers will
adopt information technologies well before
2015, the adoption of such technologies will
be slow in the broader population.
• Latin America’s Internet market will grow
exponentially. Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil
will accrue the greatest benefits because of
larger telecommunications companies, bigger
markets, and more international investment.
• In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is best
positioned to make relatively rapid progress
in IT.
Societies with advanced communications generally
will worry about threats to individual privacy.
Others will worry about the spread of
“cultural contamination.” Governments everywhere
will be simultaneously asked to foster
the diffusion of IT while controlling its “harmful”
By 2015, the biotechnology revolution will be
in full swing with major achievements in combating
disease, increasing food production,
reducing pollution, and enhancing the quality
of life. Many of these developments, especially
in the medical field, will remain costly through
2015 and will be available mainly in the West
and to wealthy segments of other societies.
Some biotechnologies will continue to be controversial
for moral and religious reasons.
Among the most significant developments by
2015 are:
• Genomic profiling—by decoding the genetic
basis for pathology—will enable the medical
community to move beyond the description
of diseases to more effective mechanisms for
diagnosis and treatment.
• Biomedical engineering, exploiting advances
in biotechnology and “smart” materials, will
produce new surgical procedures and systems,
including better organic and artificial
replacement parts for human beings, and the
use of unspecialized human cells (stem cells)
to augment or replace brain or body functions
and structures. It also will spur development
of sensor and neural prosthetics such as retinal
implants for the eye, cochlear implants
for the ear, or bypasses of spinal and other
nerve damage.
• Therapy and drug developments will cure
some enduring diseases and counter trends in
antibiotic resistance. Deeper understanding
of how particular diseases affect people with
specific genetic characteristics will facilitate
the development and prescription of custom
• Genetic modification—despite continuing
technological and cultural barriers—will
improve the engineering of organisms to
increase food production and quality, broaden
the scale of bio-manufacturing, and provide
cures for certain genetic diseases. Cloning
will be used for such applications as livestock
production. Despite cultural and political
concerns, the use of genetically modified
crops has great potential to dramatically
improve the nutrition and health of many of
the world’s poorest people.
• DNA identification will continue to improve
law enforcement capabilities.
Other Technologies
Breakthroughs in materials technology will
generate widely available products that are
smart, multifunctional, environmentally
compatible, more survivable, and customizable.
These products not only will contribute to
the growing information and biotechnology
revolutions but also will benefit manufacturing,
logistics, and personal lifestyles. Materials with
active capabilities will be used to combine
sensing and actuation in response to environmental
Discoveries in nanotechnology will lead to
unprecedented understanding and control over
the fundamental building blocks of all physical
things. Developments in this emerging field are
likely to change the way almost everything—
from vaccines to computers to automobile tires
to objects not yet imagined—is designed and
made. Self-assembled nanomaterials, such as
semiconductor “quantum dots,” could by 2015
revolutionize chemical labeling and enable
rapid processing for drug discovery, blood content
analysis, genetic analysis, and other biological
The Global Economy
The global economy is well-positioned to
achieve a sustained period of dynamism
through 2015. Global economic growth will
return to the high levels reached in the 1960s
and early 1970s, the final years of the post-
World War II “long boom.” Dynamism will be
strongest among so-called “emerging markets”—
especially in the two Asian giants,
China and India—but will be broadly based
worldwide, including in both industrialized and
many developing countries. The rising tide of
the global economy will create many economic
winners, but it will not lift all boats. The information
revolution will make the persistence of
poverty more visible, and regional differences
will remain large.
Dynamism and Growth
Five factors will combine to promote widespread
economic dynamism and growth:
Political pressures for higher living standards.
The growing global middle class—now 2 billion
strong—is creating a cycle of rising aspirations,
with increased information flows and the
spread of democracy giving political clout to
formerly disenfranchised citizens.
Improved macroeconomic policies. The widespread
improvement in recent years in economic
policy and management sets the stage
for future dynamism. Inflation rates have been
dramatically lowered across a wide range of
economies. The abandonment of unsustainable
fixed exchange rate regimes in Asia and the
creation of the European Monetary Union
(EMU) will contribute to economic growth.
Rising trade and investment. International
trade and investment flows will grow, spurring
rapid increases in world GDP. Opposition to
further trade liberalization from special interest
groups and some governments will not erode
the basic trend toward expansion of trade. International
capital flows, which have risen dramatically
in the past decade, will remain plentiful,
especially for emerging market countries that
increase their transparency.
Diffusion of information technology. The pervasive
incorporation of information technologies
will continue to produce significant
efficiency gains in the US economy. Similar
gains will be witnessed—albeit in varying
degrees—in numerous other countries as the
integration of these technologies proceeds. But
the absorption of IT and its benefits will not be
automatic because many countries will fail to
meet the conditions needed for effective IT utilization—
high educational levels, adequate
infrastructure, and appropriate regulatory policies.
Increasingly dynamic private sectors. Rapid
expansion of the private sector in many emerging
market countries—along with deregulation
and privatization in Europe and Japan—will
spur economic growth by generating
competitive pressures to use resources more
efficiently. The impact of improved efficiencies
will be multiplied as the information revolution
enhances the ability of firms around the world
to learn “best practices” from the most successful
enterprises. Indeed, the world may be on the
verge of a rapid convergence in market-based
financial and business practices.
Unequal Growth Prospects and Distribution
The countries and regions most at risk of falling
behind economically are those with endemic
internal and/or regional conflicts and those that
fail to diversify their economies. The economies
of most states in Sub-Saharan Africa and
the Middle East and some in Latin America
will continue to suffer. A large segment of the
Eurasian landmass extending from Central Asia
through the Caucasus to parts of southeastern
Europe faces dim economic prospects. Within
countries, the gap in the standard of living also
will increase. Even in rapidly growing countries,
large regions will be left behind.
Emerging Asia will be the fastest growing
region, led by breakout candidates China and
India, whose economies already comprise
roughly one-sixth of global GDP. To the degree
that China implements reforms mandated by its
entry into the World Trade Organization, its
economy will become more efficient, enabling
rapid growth to continue. China’s economic
development, however, will be mainly in the
dynamic coastal provinces. Agricultural provinces
in northern and western China will lag
behind, causing social tensions that Beijing will
be challenged to manage. India’s relatively
strong educational system, democracy, and
English-language skills position it well to take
advantage of gains related to information
technology. India nevertheless faces enormous
challenges in spreading the benefits of growth to
hundreds of millions of impoverished, often illiterate
citizens, particularly in the northern states.
In Europe and Japan, the picture is mixed.
Western Europe is likely to narrow what has
been a growing economic performance gap
with the United States, and Eastern European
countries, eager for EU membership, generally
will adopt reform policies and grow apace.
South-Eastern Europe will improve economic
prospects only gradually as it improves
regional security. Although Japan’s economic
performance in the next 15 years will be
stronger than that of the 1990s, its relative
importance in the global economy will
decrease. Economic prospects for Russia and
Eurasia are not promising.
Latin America will manage fairly rapid aggregate
growth, but it will be spread unevenly
across the region. The market-oriented
democracies in Mexico and the southern cone
will lead the way. A new generation of entrepreneurs
will be inclined to favor additional
market openings, but the benefits may further
distort income distribution, already the most
inequitable in the world. Elsewhere, the
Andean region will struggle with a poorly
educated labor force, unstable governance, and
dependence upon commodities such as oil, copper,
and narcotics.
The Middle East and North Africa will be
marked by increasing internal differentiation as
some countries respond more effectively to the
challenges of globalization or to the uncertainties
of closer integration with the EU while others
lag. In Sub-Saharan Africa, persistent
conflicts and instability, autocratic and corrupt
governments, overdependence on commodities
with declining real prices, low levels of education,
and widespread infectious diseases will
combine to prevent most countries from experiencing
rapid economic growth.
Economic Crises and Resilience
The global economy will be prone to periodic
financial crises, but its capacity to correct itself
will remain strong. The rapid rebound from the
global financial crisis of 1997-98, the limited
impact of the recent tripling of oil prices on
global economic growth, and the successful
management of the “Y2K” problem are the
most recent manifestations of resilience. Nonetheless,
economic liberalization and globalization
entail risks and inevitably will create
bumps in the road, some of them potentially
highly disruptive.
• Economic crises will recur. The trends
toward free markets and deregulation will
allow financial markets to overshoot, increase
the possibility for sudden reversal in sentiment,
and expose individual countries to
broad swings in the global market. Any of
these could trigger a financial crisis.
• Turbulence in one economy will affect others.
Increased trade links and the integration
of global financial markets will quickly transmit
turmoil in one economy regionally and
internationally, as Russia’s financial turmoil
in 1998 affected Brazil.
• Disputes over international economic rules.
The Asian financial crisis revealed differences
among countries regarding global
financial architecture. As emerging market
countries continue to grow, they will seek a
stronger voice in setting the terms of international
economic governance. A lack of consensus
could at times make financial markets
skittish and undermine growth.
National and International Governance
The state will remain the single most important
organizing unit of political, economic, and
security affairs through 2015 but will confront
fundamental tests of effective governance. The
first will be to benefit from, while coping with,
several facets of globalization. The second will
be to deal with increasingly vocal and organized
• The elements of globalization—greater and
freer flow of information, capital, goods, services,
people, and the diffusion of power to
nonstate actors of all kinds—will challenge
the authority of virtually all governments. At
the same time, globalization will create
demands for increased international cooperation
on transnational issues.
The Role of Education
Education will be determinative of success
in 2015 at both the individual and country
levels. The globalizing economy and technological
change inevitably place an
increasing premium on a more highly
skilled labor force. Adult literacy and
school enrollments will increase in almost
all countries. The educational gender gap
will narrow and probably will disappear
in East and Southeast Asia and Latin
• Progress will vary among regions, countries,
and social groups, triggering
increased income inequalities within as
well as among countries.
• School enrollments will decline in the
most highly impoverished countries, in
those affected by serious internal conflicts,
and in those with high rates of
infectious diseases.
Alternative Trajectories
Although the outlook for the global economy
appears quite strong, achieving sustained
high levels of global growth will be contingent
on avoiding several potential brakes to
growth. Five are described below.
The US economy suffers a sustained downturn.
Given the large trade deficit and low
domestic savings, the US economy—the most
important driver of recent global growth—is
vulnerable to loss of international confidence
in its growth prospects that could lead to a
sharp downturn, which, if long-lasting, would
have deleterious economic and policy consequences
for the rest of the world. Key trading
partners would suffer as the world’s largest
market contracted, and international financial
markets might face profound instability.
Europe and Japan fail to manage their
demographic challenges. European and Japanese
populations are aging rapidly, requiring
more than 110 million new workers by
2015 to maintain current dependency ratios
between the working population and retirees.
For these countries, immigration is a controversial
means of meeting these labor force
requirements. Conflicts over the social contract
or immigration policies in major European
states could dampen economic growth.
Japan faces an even more serious labor force
shortage and its strategies for responding—
enticing overseas Japanese to return, broadening
the opportunities for women, and
increasing investments elsewhere in Asia—
may prove inadequate. If growth in Europe
and Japan falters, the economic burden on the
US economy would increase, weakening the
overall global outlook.
China and/or India fail to sustain high
growth. China’s ambitious goals for reforming
its economy will be difficult to realize:
restructuring state-owned enterprises, cleaning
up and transforming the banking system,
cutting the government’s employment rolls in
half, and opening up the economy to greater
foreign competition. Growth would slow if
these reforms go awry, which, in turn, would
exacerbate bureaucratic wrangling and
increase opposition to the reform agenda.
India’s reform drive—essential to sustained
economic growth—could be sidetracked by
social divisions and by the bureaucratic culture
of the public service.
Emerging market countries fail to reform
their financial institutions. Although most
emerging market countries bounced back
from the 1997-98 financial crisis more
quickly than expected, many have not yet
undertaken the financial reforms needed to
help them survive the next economic crisis.
Absent such reform, a series of future economic
crises in emerging market countries
could dry up the capital flows crucial for
high rates of economic growth.
Global energy supplies are disrupted in a
major way. Although the world economy is
less vulnerable to energy price swings than
in the 1970s, a major disruption in global
energy supplies still would have a devastating
effect. Conflict among key energy-producing
states, sustained internal instability
in two or more major energy-producing
states, or major terrorist actions could lead
to such a disruption.
• All states will confront popular demands for
greater participation in politics and attention
to civil rights—pressures that will encourage
greater democratization and transparency.
Twenty-five years ago less than a third of
states were defined as democracies by Freedom
House; today more than half of states are
considered democracies, albeit with varying
combinations of electoral and civil or political
rights. The majority of states are likely to
remain democracies in some sense over the
next 15 years, but the number of new democracies
that are likely to develop is uncertain.
Successful states will interact with nonstate
actors to manage authority and share responsibility.
Between now and 2015, three important
challenges for states will be:
• Managing relations with nonstate actors;
• Combating criminal networks; and
• Responding to emerging and dynamic religious
and ethnic groups.
Nonstate Actors
States continually will be dealing with privatesector
organizations—both for-profit and nonprofit.
These nonstate actors increasingly will
gain resources and power over the next 15 years
as a result of the ongoing liberalization of global
finance and trade, as well as the opportunities
afforded by information technology.
The For-profit Sector. The for-profit business
sector will grow rapidly over the next 15 years,
spearheading legal and judicial reform and
challenging governments to become more
transparent and predictable. At the same time,
governments will be challenged to monitor and
regulate business firms through measures consistent
with local standards of social welfare.
Multinational corporations—now numbering
more than 50,000 with nearly one-half million
affiliates—have multiplied in recent years as
governments have deregulated their economies,
privatized state-owned enterprises, and liberalized
financial markets and trade. This trend will
Medium-sized, mostly local firms will multiply
in many countries, driven by the shift away
from Communism and other socialist models
and the broadening of financial services and
banking systems. Micro-enterprises also will
multiply, not only because of deregulation and
liberalization, but also because many states will
have a declining capacity to stymie small-scale
commercial activities. As medium-sized and
small businesses become more numerous, they
will encourage, and then link into, various global
The Nonprofit Sector. Nonprofit networks with
affiliates in more than one country will grow
through 2015, having expanded more than 20-
fold between 1964 and 1998.Within individual
countries, the nonprofit sector also will expand
Over the next 15 years international and
national nonprofits will not only expand but
change in significant ways.
• Nonprofit organizations will have more
resources to expand their activities and will
become more confident of their power and
more confrontational. Nonprofits will move
beyond delivering services to the design and
implementation of policies, whether as partners
or competitors with corporations and
• Western preponderance will persist but at a
declining level as economic growth in Asia
and Latin America produces additional
resources for support of civil society. In addition,
autocratic governments and Islamic
states or groups will increasingly support
nonprofit groups sympathetic to their
• Nonprofit organizations will be expected to
meet codes of conduct. Governments and corporations—
which are increasingly held to
standards of transparency and accountability—
will, in turn, expect nonprofits to meet
similar standards.
Criminal Organizations and Networks
Over the next 15 years, transnational criminal
organizations will become increasingly adept at
exploiting the global diffusion of sophisticated
information, financial, and transportation
Criminal organizations and networks based in
North America, Western Europe, China,
Colombia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and
Russia will expand the scale and scope of their
activities. They will form loose alliances with
one another, with smaller criminal entrepreneurs,
and with insurgent movements for specific
operations. They will corrupt leaders of
unstable, economically fragile or failing states,
insinuate themselves into troubled banks and
businesses, and cooperate with insurgent political
movements to control substantial geographic
areas. Their income will come from
narcotics trafficking; alien smuggling; trafficking
in women and children; smuggling toxic
materials, hazardous wastes, illicit arms, military
technologies, and other contraband; financial
fraud; and racketeering.
• The risk will increase that organized criminal
groups will traffic in nuclear, biological, or
chemical weapons. The degree of risk
depends on whether governments with WMD
capabilities can or will control such weapons
and materials.
Changing Communal Identities and
Traditional communal groups—whether religious
or ethnic-linguistic groups—will pose a
range of challenges for governance. Using
opportunities afforded by globalization and the
opening of civil society, communal groups will
be better positioned to mobilize coreligionists
or ethnic kin to assert their interests or defend
against perceived economic or political discrimination.
Ethnic diasporas and coreligionists
abroad also will be more able and willing to
provide fraternal groups with political, financial,
and other support.
The Role of the Nonprofit Sector
Nonprofit organizations deliver critical
services to individuals and private groups,
with 67 percent of nonprofit activities in
health, education, and social services
alone. They provide information and
expertise, advocate policies on behalf of
their interests, and work through international
organizations, both as implementing
partners and as advocates. In many
development projects and humanitarian
emergencies, nonprofits will continue to
deliver most of the aid from governments
and international organizations.

DI Cartography Center 753989AI 12-00
Source: US Government
Women and
Trafficking Flows
Growing Areas
Opium poppy
Current World Illicit Trafficking
Boundary representation is
no necessarily authoritative.

discriminate against communal minorities.
Such conditions will foment ethnic tensions
in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South
Asia, and parts of the Middle East, often in
rapidly growing urban areas. Certain powerful
states—such as Russia, China, Brazil, and
India—also are likely to repress politicized
communal minorities.
• Religious, often fused with ethnic, grievances.
Few Muslim states will grant full
political and cultural rights to religious
minorities. At the same time, they will not
remain indifferent to the treatment of Muslim
minorities elsewhere: in Russia, Indonesia,
India/Kashmir, China, and the Balkans. Other
religious denominations also will support
beleaguered coreligionists.
• Resistance to migration. Some relatively
homogenous countries or sub-regions in Asia
and Europe will resist ethnically diverse
migrants, creating tensions.
• Indigenous protest movements. Such movements
will increase, facilitated by transnational
networks of indigenous rights activists
and supported by well-funded international
human rights and environmental groups.
Tensions will intensify in the area from
Mexico through the Amazon region; northeastern
India; and the Malaysian-Indonesian
Overall Impact on States
The developed democracies will be best positioned
for good governance because they will
tend to empower legitimate nonstate actors in
both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors; will
favor institutions and processes that accommodate
divergent communal groups; will press for
transparency in government and the efficient
delivery of public services; and will maintain
institutions to regulate legitimate for-profit and
nonprofit organizations and control illegitimate
criminal groups. Countries in Western Europe,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan
have the requisite agility and institutions to
meet the challenges. Countries in Eastern
Europe as well as Turkey, South Korea, India,
Chile, and Brazil, among other developing
countries, are moving in these directions,
despite some continuing obstacles.
Some newly democratic states and modernizing
authoritarian states will have leaders amenable
to technological change and access to substantial
human and financial resources. They will
encourage business firms, nonprofits, and communal
groups supportive of the government and
discourage or suppress those that are independent-
minded or critical of government policies.
They will have some success in coping with the
energy, ideas, and resources of nonstate actors.
Several Asian countries, such as Singapore,
Taiwan, and perhaps China, as well as some
states in the Middle East and Latin America are
likely to take this approach.
Other states in varying degrees will lack the
resources and leadership to achieve effective
governance. Most autocratic states in the Middle
East and Africa will not have the institutions
or cultural orientation to exploit the
opportunities provided by nonstate actors—
apart from certain forms of humanitarian assistance.
In many of these countries, nonstate
actors will become more important than governments
in providing services, such as health
clinics and schools. In the weakest of these
countries, communal, criminal, or terrorist
groups will seek control of government institutions
and/or territory.
Overall, the number of states—which has more
than tripled since 1945 and has grown 20 percent
since 1990—is likely to increase at a
slower rate through 2015. This growth will
result from remaining cases of decolonization
and to communal tensions leading to state
secession, most likely in Sub-Saharan Africa,
Central Asia, and Indonesia. In some cases,
new states will inspire other secessionist movements,
destabilizing countries where minorities
were not initially seeking secession.
At the same time, the very concept of “belonging”
to a particular state probably will erode
among a growing number of people with continuing
transnational ties to more than one
country through citizenship, residence or other
International Cooperation
Globalization and technological change are
raising widespread expectations that increased
international cooperation will help manage
many transnational problems that states can no
longer manage on their own. Efforts to realize
such expectations will increase, but concerns
about national interests as well as the costs and
risks involved in some types of international
activism will limit success.
Mechanisms of international cooperation—
intended to facilitate bargaining, elucidate
common interests and resolve differences
among states—have increased rapidly in recent
• International treaties registered with the
United Nations more than tripled between
1970 and 1997. In addition, there are growing
numbers of agreements on standards and
practices initiated by self-selected private
• The number of international institutions
increased by two-thirds from 1985 until
1999, while at the same time becoming more
complex, more interrelated with often overlapping
areas of responsibility, and more
closely linked to transnational networks and
private groups.
International cooperation will continue to
increase through 2015, particularly when large
economic stakes have mobilized the for-profit
sector, and/or when there is intense interest
from nonprofit groups and networks.
Most high-income democratic states will participate
in multiple international institutions
and seek cooperation on a wide range of issues
to protect their interests and to promote their
influence. Members of the European Union will
tackle the most ambitious agenda, including
significant political and security cooperation.
Strongly nationalistic and/or autocratic states
will play selective roles in inter-governmental
organizations: working within them to protect
and project their interests, while working
against initiatives that they view as threatening
to their domestic power structures and national
sovereignty. They will also work against those
international institutions viewed as creatures of
the established great powers and thus rigged
against them—such as the IMF and the WTO—
as well as those that cede a major role to nonstate
Low-income developing countries will participate
actively in international organizations and
arrangements to assert their sovereignty, garner
resources for social and economic development,
and gain support for the incumbent government.
The most unstable of these states will
participate in international organizations and
arrangements primarily to maintain international
recognition for the regime.
Agenda for International Cooperation
Cooperation is likely to be effective in such
areas as:
• Monitoring international financial flows
and financial safehavens.
• Law enforcement against corruption, and
against trafficking in narcotics and women
and children.
• Monitoring meteorological data and warning
of extreme weather events.
• Selected environmental issues, such as
reducing substances that deplete the ozone
layer or conserving high-seas fisheries.
• Developing vaccines or medicines against
major infectious diseases, such as HIV/
AIDS or malaria and surveillance of infectious
disease outbreaks.
• Humanitarian assistance for refugees and
for victims of famines, natural disasters,
and internal conflicts where relief organizations
can gain access.
• Counterterrorism.
• Efforts by international and regional organizations
to resolve some internal and
interstate conflicts, particularly in Africa.
Cooperation is likely to be contentious and
with mixed results in such areas as:
• Conditions under which Intellectual Property
Rights are protected.
• Reform and strengthening of international
financial institutions, particularly the Bretton
Woods institutions.
• Expansion of the UN Security Council.
• Adherence by major states to an International
Criminal Court with universal, comprehensive
• Control of greenhouse gas emissions to
reduce global warming, carrying out the
purposes of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on
Climate Change.
• Acceptance of genetically-modified organisms
to improve nutrition and health in
poor regions.
• Establishing peacekeeping forces and
standby military forces under the authority
of the UN Security Council or most
regional organizations, with the possible
exception of the EU.
Future Conflict
Through 2015, internal conflicts will pose the
most frequent threat to stability around the
world. Interstate wars, though less frequent,
will grow in lethality due to the availability of
more destructive technologies. The international
community will have to deal with the
military, political, and economic dimensions of
the rise of China and India and the continued
decline of Russia.
Internal Conflicts
Many internal conflicts, particularly those arising
from communal disputes, will continue to
be vicious, long-lasting and difficult to terminate—
leaving bitter legacies in their wake.
• They frequently will spawn internal displacements,
refugee flows, humanitarian emergencies,
and other regionally destabilizing
• If left to fester, internal conflicts will trigger
spillover into inter-state conflicts as neighboring
states move to exploit opportunities for
gain or to limit the possibilities of damage to
their national interests.
• Weak states will spawn recurrent internal
conflicts, threatening the stability of a globalizing
international system.
Internal conflicts stemming from state repression,
religious and ethnic grievances, increasing
migration pressures, and/or indigenous
protest movements will occur most frequently
in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caucasus and Central
Asia, and parts of south and southeast Asia,
Central America and the Andean region.
• Military action by forces authorized by
the United Nations to correct abuses of
human rights within states, pursuant to
an asserted principle of humanitarian
intervention or an expanded right of
secession. Although “coalitions of the
willing” will undertake such operations
from time to time, a significant number
of states will continue to view such interventions
as illegitimate interference in
the internal affairs of sovereign states.
• Proposed new rights to enjoy or appropriate
elements of the “global commons,”
such as a right to “open
borders” for people from lower-income
Agenda for International Cooperation
(mixed results continued)

DI Cartography Center 753977AI 12-00
Current Ethnic Diversity of States
High: ranked below 0.25 on index of ethnic concentration
Medium: ranked between 0.25 and 0.70 on index of ethnic concentration
Low: ranked at or greater than 0.70 on index of ethnic concentration
No data
Ethnic Diversitya
aCalculated in the Herfindahl index from data on ethnic
composition from the Correlates of War project, census
estimates, or other unclassified sources; data for the United
States are from the US Bureau of the Census Statistical
Abstract of the United States, 1998. Other data are derived
from the State Failure Project.

• Russia’s decline. By 2015, Russia will be
challenged even more than today to adjust its
expectations for world leadership to the dramatically
reduced resources it will have to
play that role. The quality of Russian governance
is an open question as is whether the
country will be able to make the transition in
a manner that preserves rather than upsets
regional stability.
• Japan’s uncertainty. In the view of many
experts, Japan will have difficulty maintaining
its current position as the world’s third
largest economy by 2015. Tokyo has so far
not shown a willingness to carry through the
painful economic reforms necessary to slow
the erosion of its leadership role in Asia. In
the absence of an external shock, Japan is
similarly unlikely to accelerate changes in
security policy.
• India’s prospects. India will strengthen its
role as a regional power, but many uncertainties
about the effects of global trends on its
society cast doubt on how far India will go.
India faces growing extremes between wealth
and poverty, a mixed picture on natural
resources, and problems with internal governance.
The changing dynamics of state power will combine
with other factors to affect the risk of conflict
in various regions. Changing military
capabilities will be prominent among the factors
that determine the risk of war. In South Asia, for
example, that risk will remain fairly high over
the next 15 years. India and Pakistan are both
prone to miscalculation. Both will continue to
build up their nuclear and missile forces.
India most likely will expand the size of its
nuclear-capable force. Pakistan’s nuclear and
missile forces also will continue to increase.
Islamabad has publicly claimed that the number
of nuclear weapons and missiles it deploys
will be based on “minimum” deterrence and
will be independent of the size of India’s arsenal.
A noticeable increase in the size of India’s
arsenal, however, would prompt Pakistan to
further increase the size of its own arsenal.
Russia will be unable to maintain conventional
forces that are both sizable and modern or to
project significant military power with conventional
means. The Russian military will
increasingly rely on its shrinking strategic and
theater nuclear arsenals to deter or, if deterrence
fails, to counter large-scale conventional
assaults on Russian territory.
• Moscow will maintain as many strategic missiles
and associated nuclear warheads as it
believes it can afford but well short of START
I or II limitations. The total Russian force by
2015, including air launched cruise missiles,
probably will be below 2,500 warheads.
As Russia struggles with the constraints on its
ambitions, it will invest scarce resources in
selected and secretive military technology programs,
especially WMD, hoping to counter
Western conventional and strategic superiority
in areas such as ballistic missile defense.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will
remain the world’s largest military, but the
majority of the force will not be fully modernized
by 2015. China could close the technological
gap with the West in one or more major
weapons systems. China’s capability for
regional military operations is likely to improve
significantly by 2015.
• China will be exploiting advanced weapons
and production technologies acquired from
abroad—Russia, Israel, Europe, Japan, and
the United States—that will enable it to
integrate naval and air capabilities against
Taiwan and potential adversaries in the South
China Sea.
China: How to Think About Its Growing
Wealth and Power
China has been riding the crest of a significant
wave of economic growth for two
decades. Many experts assess that China can
maintain a growth rate of 7 percent or more
for many years. Such impressive rates provide
a foundation for military potential, and
some predict that China’s rapid economic
growth will lead to a significant increase in
military capabilities. But the degree to which
an even more powerful economy would
translate into greater military power is
The relationship between economic growth
and China’s overall power will derive from
the priorities of leaders in Beijing—provided
the regime remains stable. China’s leaders
have assessed for some years that comprehensive
national power derives both from
economic strength and from the military and
diplomatic resources that a healthy, large
economy makes possible. They apparently
agree that, for the foreseeable future, such
priorities as agricultural and national infrastructure
modernization must take precedence
over military development. In the
absence of a strong national security challenge,
this view is unlikely to change even as
new leaders emerge in Beijing. In a stable
environment, two leadership transitions will
occur in China between now and 2015. The
evidence strongly suggests that the new leaders
will be even more firmly committed to
developing the economy as the foundation
of national power and that resources for
military capabilities will take a secondary
role. Existing priorities and projected
defense allocations could enable the PLA
to emerge as the most powerful regional
military force.
• Beyond resource issues, China faces daunting
challenges in producing defense systems.
Beijing has yet to demonstrate an
assured capacity to translate increasingly
sophisticated science and technology
advances into first-rate military production.
To achieve this, China must effect
reforms in its State Owned Enterprises
(SOEs), develop a capacity for advanced
systems integration skills, and recruit and
retain technologically sophisticated
officers and enlisted personnel.
A decision to alter priorities to emphasize
military development would require substantial
change in the leadership. Internal instability
or a rise in nationalism could produce
such change but also probably would result
in economic decline.
• In the event of a peaceful resolution of the
Taiwan issue, some of China’s military objectives—
such as protecting the sea lanes for
Persian Gulf oil—could become more congruent
with those of the United States. Nevertheless,
as an emerging regional power, China
would continue to expand its influence without
regard to US interests.
• China by 2015 will have deployed tens to
several tens of missiles with nuclear warheads
targeted against the United States,
mostly more survivable land- and sea-based
mobile missiles. It also will have hundreds of
shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles for
use in regional conflicts. Some of these
shorter-range missiles will have nuclear warheads;
most will be armed with conventional
Japan has a small but modern military force,
more able than any other in Asia to integrate
large quantities of new weaponry. Japan’s
future military strength will reflect the state of
its economy and the health of its security relationship
with the United States. Tokyo will
increasingly pursue greater autonomy in security
matters and develop security enhancements,
such as defense improvements and
more active diplomacy, to supplement the US
A unified Korea with a significant US military
presence may become a regional military
power. For the next 10 to 15 years, however,
knowledgeable observers suggest that the process
of unification will consume South Korea’s
energies and resources.
Absent unification, North Korea’s WMD capabilities
will continue to cloud regional stability.
P’yongyang probably has one, possibly two,
nuclear weapons. It has developed mediumrange
missiles for years and has tested a threestage
space launch vehicle.
P’yonyang may improve the accuracy, range,
and payload capabilities of its Taepo Dong-2
ICBM, deploy variants, or develop more capable
systems. North Korea could have a few to
several Taepo Dong-2 type missiles deployed
by 2005.
In the Middle East, the confluence of domestic
economic pressures and regional rivalries is
likely to further the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction and the means to deliver
them. By contrast, spending on conventional
arms probably will remain stable or decline in
most countries. Some governments may maintain
large armed forces to absorb otherwise
unemployable youths, but such armies will be
less well trained and equipped. Rather than
conventional war, the region is likely to experience
more terrorism, insurgencies, and humanitarian
emergencies arising from internal
disparities or disputes over ethnic or religious
• Iran sees its short- and medium-range missiles
as deterrents, as force-multiplying
weapons of war, primarily with conventional
warheads, and as options for delivering biological,
chemical, and eventually nuclear
weapons. Iran could test an IRBM or landattack
cruise missile by 2004 and perhaps
even an ICBM or space launch vehicle as
early as 2001.
• Iraq’s ability to obtain WMD will be influenced,
in part, by the degree to which the UN
Security Council can impede development or
procurement over the next 15 years. Under
some scenarios, Iraq could test an ICBM
capable of delivering nuclear-sized payloads
to the United States before 2015; foreign
assistance would affect the capabilities of the
missile and the time it became available. Iraq
could also develop a nuclear weapon during
this period.
Reacting to US Military Superiority
Experts agree that the United States, with its
decisive edge in both information and weapons
technology, will remain the dominant military
power during the next 15 years. Further bolstering
the strong position of the United States are
its unparalleled economic power, its university
system, and its investment in research and
development—half of the total spent annually
by the advanced industrial world. Many potential
adversaries, as reflected in doctrinal writings
and statements, see US military concepts,
together with technology, as giving the United
States the ability to expand its lead in conventional
warfighting capabilities.
This perception among present and potential
adversaries will continue to generate the pursuit
of asymmetric capabilities against US forces
and interests abroad as well as the territory of
the United States. US opponents—state and
such nonstate actors as drug lords, terrorists,
and foreign insurgents—will not want to
engage the US military on its terms. They will
choose instead political and military strategies
designed to dissuade the United States from
using force, or, if the United States does use
force, to exhaust American will, circumvent or
minimize US strengths, and exploit perceived
US weaknesses. Asymmetric challenges can
arise across the spectrum of conflict that will
confront US forces in a theater of operations or
on US soil.
It is also generally recognized that the United
States and other developed countries will continue
to possess the political, economic, military,
and technological advantages—including
through National Missile and Theater Missile
Defense systems—to reduce the gains of adversaries
from lateral or “side-wise” technological
improvements to their capabilities.
Threats to Critical Infrastructure. Some
potential adversaries will seek ways to threaten
the US homeland. The US national infrastructure—
communications, transportation, financial
transactions, energy networks—is
vulnerable to disruption by physical and electronic
attack because of its interdependent
nature and by cyber attacks because of their
dependence on computer networks. Foreign
governments and groups will seek to exploit
Central Asia: Regional Hot Spot?
The interests of Russia, China, and
India—as well as of Iran and Turkey—will
intersect in Central Asia; the states of
that region will attempt to balance those
powers as well as keep the United States
and the West engaged to prevent their
domination by an outside power. The
greatest danger to the region, however,
will not be a conflict between states, which
is unlikely, but the corrosive impact of
communal conflicts and politicial insurgencies,
possibly abetted by outside
actors and financed at least in part by
such vulnerabilities using conventional munitions,
information operations, and even WMD.
Over time, such attacks increasingly are likely
to be delivered by computer networks rather
than by conventional munitions, as the affinity
for cyber attacks and the skill of US adversaries
in employing them evolve. Cyber attacks will
provide both state and nonstate adversaries new
options for action against the United States
beyond mere words but short of physical
attack—strategic options that include selection
of either nonlethal or lethal damage and the
prospect of anonymity.
Information Operations. In addition to threatening
the US national infrastructure, adversaries
will seek to attack US military capabilities
through electronic warfare, psychological operations,
denial and deception, and the use of new
technologies such as directed energy weapons
or electromagnetic pulse weapons. The primary
purpose would be to deny US forces information
superiority, to prevent US weapons from
working, and to undermine US domestic support
for US actions. Adversaries also are likely
to use cyber attacks to complicate US power
projection in an era of decreasing permanent
US military presence abroad by seeking to disrupt
military networks during deployment operations—
when they are most stressed. Many
countries have programs to develop such technologies;
few have the foresight or capability to
fully integrate these various tools into a comprehensive
attack. But they could develop such
capabilities over the next decade and beyond.
Terrorism. Much of the terrorism noted earlier
will be directed at the United States and its
overseas interests. Most anti-US terrorism will
be based on perceived ethnic, religious or cultural
grievances. Terrorist groups will continue
to find ways to attack US military and diplomatic
facilities abroad. Such attacks are likely
to expand increasingly to include US companies
and American citizens. Middle East and
Southwest Asian-based terrorists are the most
likely to threaten the United States.
Weapons of Mass Destruction. WMD programs
reflect the motivations and intentions of
the governments that produce them and, therefore,
can be altered by the change of a regime
or by a regime’s change of view. Linear projections
of WMD are intended to assess what the
picture will look like if changes in motivations
and intentions do not occur.
Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles,
particularly if armed with WMD, already pose
a significant threat overseas to US interests,
military forces, and allies. By 2015, the United
States, barring major political changes in these
countries, will face ICBM threats from North
Korea, probably from Iran, and possibly from
Iraq, in addition to long-standing threats from
Russia and China.
• Weapons development programs, in many
cases fueled by foreign assistance, have led to
new capabilities—as illustrated by Iran’s
Shahab-3 launches in 1998 and 2000 and
North Korea’s Taepo Dong-1 space launch
attempt in August 1998. In addition, some
countries that have been traditional recipients
of missile technologies have become
• Sales of ICBMs or space launch vehicles,
which have inherent ICBM capabilities,
could further increase the number of countries
that will be able to threaten the United
States with a missile strike.
The probability that a missile armed with
WMD would be used against US forces or
interests is higher today than during most of the
Cold War and will continue to grow. The
emerging missile threats will be mounted by
countries possessing considerably fewer missiles
with far less accuracy, yield, survivability,
reliability, and range-payload capability than
the strategic forces of the Soviet Union. North
Korea’s space launch attempt in 1998 demonstrated
that P’yongyang is seeking a long-range
missile capability that could be used against US
forces and interests abroad and against US territory
itself. Moreover, many of the countries
developing longer-range missiles assess that
the mere threat of their use would complicate
US crisis decisionmaking and potentially
would deter Washington from pursuing certain
Other means to deliver WMD against the
United States will emerge, some cheaper and
more reliable and accurate than early-generation
ICBMs. The likelihood of an attack by
these means is greater than that of a WMD
attack with an ICBM. The goal of the adversary
would be to move the weapon within striking
distance by using short- and medium-range
missiles deployed on surface ships or covert
missions using military special operations
forces or state intelligence services. Non-missile
delivery means, however, do not provide
the same prestige, deterrence, and coercive
diplomacy associated with ICBMs.
Chemical and biological threats to the United
States will become more widespread; such
capabilities are easier to develop, hide, and
deploy than nuclear weapons. Some terrorists
or insurgents will attempt to use such weapons
against US interests—against the United States
itself, its forces or facilities overseas, or its
allies. Moreover, the United States would be
affected by the use of such weapons anywhere
in the world because Washington would be
called on to help contain the damage and to
provide scientific expertise and economic assistance
to deal with the effects. Such weapons
could be delivered through a variety of means,
including missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles,
or covertly via land, air, and sea.
Theater-range ballistic and cruise missile proliferation
will continue. Most proliferation will
involve systems a generation or two behind
state of the art, but they will be substantially
new capabilities for the states that acquire
WMD Proliferation and the Potential
for Unconventional Warfare and
The risks of escalation inherent in direct
armed conflict will be magnified by the
availability of WMD; consequently, proliferation
will tend to spur a reversion to
prolonged, lower-level conflict by other
means: intimidation, subversion, terrorism,
proxies, and guerrilla operations.
This trend already is evident between
Israel and some of its neighbors and
between India and Pakistan. In the event
of war, urban fighting will be typical and
consequently, civilian casualties will be
high relative to those among combatants.
Technology will count for less, and large,
youthful, and motivated populations for
more. Exploitation of communal divisions
within an adversary’s civil populations
will be seen as a key to winning such conflicts—
increasing their bitterness and
thereby prolonging them.
Trends in Global Defense Spending and
Defense-related technologies will advance
rapidly over the next 15 years—particularly
precision weapons, information systems and
communications. The development and integrated
application of these technologies will
occur mostly in the advanced countries, particularly
the United States. Given the high
costs and complexity of technical and operational
integration, few nations will assign
high priority to the indigenous development
of such military technology.
• Non-US global defense spending has
dropped some 50 percent since the late
1980s. “Military modernization accounts,”
particularly procurement, have been hit
• The global arms market has decreased by
more than 50 percent during the same
• Indications are that global defense spending
may be recovering from mid-1990s
lows; part of East Asia, for example, could
experience rises in defense spending over
the next decade, but, overall, long-term
spending patterns are uncertain.
Over the past decade, a slow but persistent
transformation has occurred in the arms procurement
strategies of states. Many states
are attempting to diversify sources of arms
for reasons that vary from fears of arms
embargoes, to declining defense budgets, or
to a desire to acquire limited numbers of cutting-
edge technologies. Their efforts include
developing a mix of indigenous production;
codeveloping, coproducing, or licensing production;
purchasing entire weapon systems;
or leasing capabilities. At the same time,
many arms-producing states, confronted
with declining domestic arms needs but
determined to maintain defense industries,
are commercializing defense production and
aggressively expanding arms exports.
Together, the above factors suggest:
Technology diffusion to those few states
with a motivation to arm and the economic
resources to do so will accelerate as weapons
and militarily relevant technologies are
moved rapidly and routinely across national
borders in response to increasingly commercial
rather than security calculations. For
such militarily related technologies as the
Global Positioning System, satellite imagery,
and communications, technological superiority
will be difficult to maintain for very
long. In an environment of broad technological
diffusion, nonmaterial elements of military
power—strategy, doctrine, and
training—will increase in importance over
the next 15 years in deciding combat outcomes.
them. Such missiles will be capable of
delivering WMD or conventional payloads
inter-regionally against fixed targets. Major air
and sea ports, logistics bases and facilities,
troop concentrations, and fixed communications
nodes increasingly will be at risk.
• Land-attack cruise missiles probably will be
more accurate than ballistic missiles.
Access to Space. US competitors and adversaries
realize the degree to which access to space
is critical to US military power, and by 2015
they will have made strides in countering US
space dominance. International commercialization
of space will give states and nonstate
adversaries access rivaling today’s major space
powers in such areas as high-resolution
reconnaissance and weather prediction, global
encrypted communications, and precise
navigation. When combined, such services will
provide adversaries who are aware of US and
allied force deployments the capability for
precise targeting and global coordination of
operations. Moreover, many adversaries will
have developed capabilities to degrade US
space assets—in particular, with attacks against
ground facilities, electronic warfare, and denial
and deception. By 2015, several countries will
have such counterspace technologies as
improved space-object tracking, signal jamming,
and directed-energy weapons such as
low-power lasers.
Major Regions
The following snapshots of individual regions
result from our assessment of trends and from
estimates by regional experts as to where specific
nations will be in 15 years. To make these
judgments, we have distilled the views
Export regimes and sanctions will be difficult
to manage and less effective in controlling
arms and weapons technology
transfers. The resultant proliferation of
WMD and long-range delivery systems
would be destabilizing and increase the
risk of miscalculation and conflict that
produces high casualties.
Advantages will go to states that have a
strong commercial technology sector and
develop effective ways to link these capabilities
to their national defense industrial
base. States able to optimize private
and public sector linkages could achieve
significant advancements in weapons
The twin developments outlined above—
constrained defense spending worldwide
combined with increasing military technological
potential—preclude accurate forecasts
of which technologies, in what
quantity and form, will be incorporated in
the military systems of future adversaries.
In many cases, the question will not be
which technologies provide the greatest
military potential but which will receive
the political backing and resources to
reach the procurement and fielding stage.
Moreover, civilian technology development
already is driving military technology
development in many countries.
Trends in Global Defense Spending and
Armaments (continued)
expressed by many outside experts in our
conferences and workshops. The results are
intended to stimulate debate, not to endorse one
view over another.
East and Southeast Asia
Regional Trends. East Asia over the next 15
years will be characterized by uneven economic
dynamism—both between and within
states—political and national assertiveness
rather than ideology, and potential for strategic
tension if not outright conflict.
The states of the region will be led by generally
nationalistic governments eschewing ideology
and focusing on nation-building and development.
These states will broadly accommodate
international norms on the free flow of information
to modernize their economies, open markets,
and fight international crime and disease.
They also will encounter pressure for greater
political pluralism, democracy, and respect for
human rights. Failure to meet popular expectations
probably will result in leaders being voted
Arms Control: An Uncertain Agenda
The last three decades witnessed significant
negotiations between the United States and
the Soviet Union (and Russia), but the future
probably will not replicate those efforts in
form or magnitude.
• The INF, CFE, and START I treaties and, to
a large extent, the CWC were concluded in
an effort to reduce tensions during the Cold
War. Verification and monitoring in each of
these treaties were viewed as essential to
their implementation.
Prospects for bilateral arms control between
the major powers probably will be dim over
the next 15 years; progress in multilateral
regimes—with less intrusive and lower-certainty
monitoring—probably will grow sporadically.
Beyond this generalization:
• Efforts will be incremental, focusing
mainly on extensions, modifications or
adaptations of existing treaties, such as
START III between the United States
and Russia or a protocol enhancing
verification of the Biological Weapons
• Efforts will assume a more regional focus
as countries of concern continue developing
their own WMD arsenals.
• Safeguarding and controlling transfer of
materials and technology for nuclear
weapons and missile delivery systems will
take on greater importance.
• Formal agreements probably will contain
limited monitoring or verification provisions.
• Agreements are more likely to be asymmetrical
in terms of the goals and outcomes.
For example, a form of barter may become
the norm. Sides will negotiate dissimilar
commitments in reaching agreement. An
example would be North Korea’s willingness
to give up nuclear weapons and missiles
in return for electric power and space
launch services.
out of office in democratic states or in widespread
demonstrations and violence leading to
regime collapse in authoritarian states.
Political and Security Trends. The major
power realignments and the more fluid post-
Cold War security environment in the region
will raise serious questions about how regional
leaders will handle nascent great-power rivalries
(the US-China, China-Japan, China-India),
related regional “hot spots” (Taiwan, Korea,
South China Sea), the future of challenged
political regimes (Indonesia, North Korea
absent unification, China), and communal tensions
and minority issues (in China, Indonesia,
the Philippines, and Malaysia). On balance, the
number and range of rivalries and potential
flashpoints suggest a better-than-even chance
that episodes of military confrontation and conflict
will erupt over the next 15 years.
The implications of the rise of China as an economic
and increasingly capable regional military
power—even as the influence of
Communism and authoritarianism weakens—
pose the greatest uncertainty in the area. Adding
to uncertainty are the prospects for—and
implications of—Korean unification over the
next 15 years, and the evolution of Japan’s
regional leadership aspirations and capabilities.
Instability in Russia and Central Asia, and the
nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan
will be peripheral but still important in East
Asian security calculations. The Middle East
will become increasingly important as a primary
source of energy.
Economic Dynamism. While governments in
the region generally will accept the need to
accommodate international norms on ownership,
markets, trade, and investment, they will
seek to block or slow the perceived adverse
economic, political, and social consequences of
The most likely economic outlook will be that
rich societies—Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Singapore, and pockets in China and elsewhere—
will get richer, with Japan likely to
continue to be a leader in S&T development
and applications for commercial use. In contrast,
the poor societies—Vietnam, Cambodia,
Laos, and rural areas in western China and elsewhere—
will fall further behind. Greater economic
links are likely to have been forged
between Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South China
as a result of the development of investment
and infrastructure. China will be increasingly
integrated into the world economy through
foreign direct investiment, trade, and international
capital markets. Energy markets will
have drawn the region more closely together
despite lingering issues of ownership of
resources and territorial disputes.
Key uncertainties will persist on economic performance
and political stability, including the
rising costs of pensions and services for Japan’s
aging population; the adequacy of energy and
water for China, political leadership in Indonesia
and China, and the impact of AIDS in Cambodia,
Thailand, and Vietnam.
Regional Interaction. Given the weakness of
regional political-security arrangements, the
US political, economic, and security presence
will remain pronounced. At the same time,
many countries in the region will remain uncertain
about US objectives, apprehensive of both
US withdrawal and US unilateralism. Key
states, most significantly China and Japan, will
continue “hedging,” by using diplomacy, military
preparations and other means to ensure
that their particular interests will be safeguarded,
especially in case the regional situation
Japan and others will seek to maintain a US
presence, in part to counter China’s influence.
Economic and other ties will bind Japan and
China, but historical, territorial, and strategic
differences will underline continuing wariness
between the two. China will want good economic
ties to the United States but also will
nurture links to Russia and others to counter the
possibility of US pressure against it and to
weaken US support for Taiwan and the US
security posture in East Asia. US-China confrontations
over Taiwan or over broader competing
security interests are possible.
Although preserving the US alliance, Japanese
leaders also will be less certain they can rely on
the United States to deal with some security
contingencies. More confident of their ability to
handle security issues independently, they will
pursue initiatives internally and overseas that
are designed to safeguard Japanese interests
without direct reference to the US alliance.
South Asia
Regional Trends. The widening strategic and
economic gaps between the two principal powers,
India and Pakistan—and the dynamic interplay
between their mutual hostility and the
instability in Central Asia—will define the
South Asia region in 2015.
• India will be the unrivaled regional power
with a large military—including naval and
nuclear capabilities—and a dynamic and
growing economy. The widening India-Pakistan
gap—destabilizing in its own right—will
be accompanied by deep political, economic,
and social disparities within both states.
• Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and
dependent on international financial assistance.
• Other South Asian states—Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, and Nepal—will be drawn closer to
and more dependent on India and its economy.
Afghanistan will likely remain weak
and a destabilizing force in the region and the
Wary of China, India will look increasingly to
the West, but its need for oil and desire to balance
Arab ties to Pakistan will lead to strengthened
ties to Persian Gulf states as well.
Demographic Challenges. Although population
growth rates in South Asia will decline,
population still will grow by nearly 30 percent
by 2015. India’s population alone will grow to
more than 1.2 billion. Pakistan’s projected
growth from 140 million to about 195 million
in 2015 will put a major strain on an economy
already unable to meet the basic needs of the
current population. The percentage of urban
dwellers will climb steadily from the current
25-30 percent of the population to between
40-50 percent, leading to continued deterioration
in the overall quality of urban life. Differential
population growth patterns will
exacerbate inequalities in wealth. Ties between
provincial and central governments throughout
the region will be strained.
Resource and Environmental Challenges.
Water will remain South Asia’s most vital and
most contested natural resource. Continued
population and economic growth and expansion
of irrigated agriculture over the next 15
years will increasingly stress water resources,
and pollution of surface and groundwater will
be a serious challenge. In India, per capita

India in 2015. Indian democracy will remain
strong, albeit more factionalized by the secular-
Hindu nationalist debate, growing differentials
among regions and the increase in competitive
party politics. India’s economy, long repressed
by the heavy hand of regulation, is likely to
achieve sustained growth to the degree reforms
are implemented. High-technology companies
will be the most dynamic agents and will lead
the thriving service sector in four key urban
centers—Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and
Chennai. Computer software services and customized
applications will continue to expand as
India strengthens economic ties to key international
markets. Industries such as pharmaceuticals
and agro-processing also will compete
globally. Numerous factors provide India a
competitive advantage in the global economy.
It has the largest English-speaking population
in the developing world; its education system
produces millions of scientific and technical
personnel. India has a growing businessminded
middle class eager to strengthen ties to
the outside world, and the large Indian expatriate
population provides strong links to key markets
around the world.
Despite rapid economic growth, more than half
a billion Indians will remain in dire poverty.
Harnessing technology to improve agriculture
will be India’s main challenge in alleviating
poverty in 2015. The widening gulf between
“have” and “have-not” regions and disagreements
over the pace and nature of reforms will
be a source of domestic strife. Rapidly growing,
poorer northern states will continue to
drain resources in subsidies and social welfare
Pakistan in 2015. Pakistan, our conferees concluded,
will not recover easily from decades of
political and economic mismanagement, divisive
politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic
friction. Nascent democratic reforms will
produce little change in the face of opposition
from an entrenched political elite and radical
Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would
benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly
increase their role in national politics
and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military—
once Pakistan’s most capable institution.
In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the
central government’s control probably will be
reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic
hub of Karachi.
Other Regional States. Prospects for Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in 2015 appear
bleak. Decades of foreign domination and civil
war have devastated Afghanistan’s society and
economy, and the country is likely to remain
internationally isolated, a major narcotics
exporter, and a haven for Islamic radicals and terrorist
groups. Bangladesh will not abandon
democracy but will be characterized by coalitions
or weak one-party governments, fragile institutions
of governance, deep-seated leadership
squabbles, and no notion of a loyal opposition.
Security and Political Concerns Predominate.
The threat of major conflict between India and
Pakistan will overshadow all other regional
issues during the next 15 years. Continued turmoil
in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over
into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent,
prompting Indian leaders to take more
aggressive preemptive and retaliatory actions.
India’s conventional military advantage over
Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi’s
superior economic position. India will also continue
to build up its ocean-going navy to dominate
the Indian Ocean transit routes used for
delivery of Persian Gulf oil to Asia. The decisive
shift in conventional military power in
India’s favor over the coming years potentially
will make the region more volatile and unstable.
Both India and Pakistan will see weapons

of mass destruction as a strategic imperative
and will continue to amass nuclear warheads
and build a variety of missile delivery systems.
Russia and Eurasia
Regional Trends. Uncertainties abound about
the future internal configuration, geopolitical
dynamics, and degree of turbulence within and
among former Soviet states. Russia and the
other states of Eurasia are likely to fall short in
resolving critical impediments to economic and
political reform in their struggle to manage the
negative legacies of the Soviet period. Changing
demographics, chronic economic difficulties,
and continued questions about governance
will constrain Russia’s ability to project its
power beyond the former Soviet republics to
the south, complicate Ukraine’s efforts to draw
closer to the West, and retard the development
of stable, open political structures throughout
the Caucasus and Central Asia. Those states
that could make progress on the basis of potential
energy revenues are likely to fail because of
corruption and the absence of structural economic
reform. The rapid pace of scientific and
technological innovation, as well as globalization,
will leave these states further behind the
West as well as behind the major emerging
The economic challenges to these countries
will remain daunting: insufficient structural
reform, poor productivity in agriculture as
compared with Western standards, decaying
infrastructure and environmental degradation.
Corruption and organized crime, sustained by
drug trafficking, money laundering, and other
illegal enterprises and, in several instances,
protected by corrupt political allies, will
Demographic pressures also will affect the economic
performance and political cohesiveness
of these states. Because of low birthrates and
falling life expectancy among males, the populations
of the Slavic core and much of the Caucasus
will continue to decline; Russian experts
predict that the country’s population could fall
from 146 million at present to 130-135 million
by 2015. At the other end of the spectrum, the
Central Asian countries will face a growing
youth cohort that will peak around 2010 before
resuming a more gradual pattern of population
The centrality of Russia will continue to diminish,
and by 2015 “Eurasia” will be a geographic
term lacking a unifying political, economic,
and cultural reality. Russia and the western
Eurasian States will continue to orient themselves
toward Europe but will remain essentially
outside of it. Because of geographic
proximity and cultural affinities, the Caucasus
will be closer politically to their neighbors to
the south and west, with Central Asia drawing
closer to South Asia and China. Nonetheless,
important interdependencies will remain, primarily
in the energy sphere.
Russia will remain the most important actor in
the former Soviet Union. Its power relative to
others in the region and neighboring areas will
have declined, however, and it will continue to
lack the resources to impose its will.
The Soviet economic inheritance will continue
to plague Russia. Besides a crumbling physical
infrastructure, years of environmental neglect
are taking a toll on the population, a toll made
worse by such societal costs of transition as
alcoholism, cardiac diseases, drugs, and a
worsening health delivery system. Russia’s
population is not only getting smaller, but it is
becoming less and less healthy and thus less
able to serve as an engine of economic recovery.
In macro economic terms Russia’s GDP
probably has bottomed out. Russia, nevertheless,
is still likely to fall short in its efforts to
become fully integrated into the global financial
and trading system by 2015. Even under a
best case scenario of five percent annual economic
growth, Russia would attain an economy
less than one-fifth the size of that of the United
Many Russian futures are possible, ranging
from political resurgence to dissolution. The
general drift, however, is toward authoritarianism,
although not to the extreme extent of the
Soviet period. The factors favoring this course
are President Putin’s own bent toward hierarchical
rule from Moscow; the population’s general
support of this course as an antidote to the
messiness and societal disruption of the post-
Soviet transition; the ability of the ruling elite
to hold on to power because of the lack of
effective national opposition, thus making that
elite accountable only to itself; and the ongoing
shift of tax resources from the regions to the
center. This centralizing tendency will contribute
to dysfunctional governance. Effective governance
is nearly impossible under such
centralization for a country as large and diverse
as Russia and lacking well-ordered, disciplined
national bureaucracies. Recentralization, however,
will be constrained by the interconnectedness
brought about by the global information
revolution, and by the gradual, although
uneven, growth of civil society.
Russia will focus its foreign policy goals on
reestablishing lost influence in the former
Soviet republics to the south, fostering ties to
Europe and Asia, and presenting itself as a significant
player vis-a-vis the United States. Its
energy resources will be an important lever for
these endeavors. However, its domestic ills will
frustrate its efforts to reclaim its great power
status. Russia will maintain the second largest
nuclear arsenal in the world as the last vestige
of its old status. The net outcome of these
trends will be a Russia that remains internally
weak and institutionally linked to the international
system primarily through its permanent
seat on the UN Security Council.
Ukraine’s path to the West will be constrained
by widespread corruption, the power of criminal
organizations, and lingering questions over
its commitment to the rule of law. Kiev will
remain vulnerable to Russian pressures, primarily
because of its continued energy dependence,
but Ukrainians of all political stripes and
likely to opt for independence rather than reintegration
into Russia’s sphere of influence.
In 2015, the South Caucasus will remain in
flux because of unresolved local conflicts, weak
economic fundamentals, and continued Russian
meddling. Georgia probably will have achieved
a measure of political and economic stability,
fueled in part by energy transit revenues, but it
will remain the focus of Russian attention in the
region. Armenia will remain largely isolated
and is likely to remain a Russian—or possibly
Iranian—client and, therefore, a regional wild
card. Azerbaijan’s success in developing its
energy sector is unlikely to bring widespread
prosperity: Baku will be a one-sector economy
with pervasive corruption at all levels of society.
In Central Asia, social, environmental, religious,
and possibly ethnic strains will grow.
Wasteful water-intensive practices and
pollution of ground water and arable land will
lead to continued shortages for agricultural and
energy generation. The high birthrates of the
1980s and early 1990s will lead to strains on
education, healthcare, and social services. The
region also is likely to be the scene of increased
competition among surrounding powers—Russia,
China, India, Iran, and possibly Turkey—
for control, influence, and access to energy
resources. Developments in Afghanistan and
Pakistan will threaten regional stability.

potentially destabilizing—options for those
states. New relationships between geographic
regions could emerge between North Africa
and Europe (on trade); India, China and the
Persian Gulf (on energy); and Israel, Turkey,
and India (on economic, technical, and in the
case of Turkey, security considerations).
A key driver for the Middle East over the next
15 years will be demographic pressures, specifically
how to provide jobs, housing, public services,
and subsidies for rapidly growing and
increasingly urban populations. By 2015, in
much of the Middle East populations will be
significantly larger, poorer, more urban, and
more disillusioned. In nearly all Middle Eastern
countries, more than half the population is now
under 20 years of age. These populations will
continue to have very large youth cohorts
through 2015, with the labor force growing at
an average rate of 3.1 percent per year. The
problem of job placement is compounded by
weak educational systems producing a generation
lacking the technical and problem-solving
skills required for economic growth.
Globalization. With the exception of Israel,
Middle Eastern states will view globalization
more as a challenge than an opportunity.
Although the Internet will remain confined to a
small elite due to relatively high cost, undeveloped
infrastructures, and cultural obstacles, the
information revolution and other technological
advances probably will have a net destabilizing
effect on the Middle East by raising expectations,
increasing income disparities, and eroding
the power of regimes to control information
or mold popular opinion. Attracting foreign
direct investment will also be difficult: except
for the energy sector, investors will tend to shy
away from these countries, discouraged by
overbearing state sectors; heavy, opaque, and
arbitrary government regulation; underdeveloped
financial sectors; inadequate physical
infrastructure; and the threat of political
Political Change. Most Middle Eastern governments
recognize the need for economic
restructuring and even a modicum of greater
political participation, but they will proceed
cautiously, fearful of undermining their rule.
As some governments or sectors embrace the
new economy and civil society while others
cling to more traditional paradigms, inequities
between and within states will grow. Islamists
could come to power in states that are beginning
to become pluralist and in which
entrenched secular elites have lost their appeal.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Regional Trends. The interplay of demographics
and disease—as well as poor governance—
will be the major determinants of Africa’s
increasing international marginalization in
2015. Most African states will miss out on the
economic growth engendered elsewhere by
globalization and by scientific and technological
advances. Only a few countries will do
better, while a handful of states will have
hardly any relevance to the lives of their citizens.
As Sub-Saharan Africa’s multiple and
interconnected problems are compounded, ethnic
and communal tensions will intensify, periodically
escalating into open conflict, often
spreading across borders and sometimes
spawning secessionist states.
In the absence of a major medical breakthrough,
the relentless progression of AIDS and
other diseases will decimate the economically
productive adult population, sharply accentuate
the continent’s youth bulge, and generate a

ing out to 2015, Europe’s agenda will be to put
in place the final components of EU integration;
to take advantage of globalization; to sustain
a strong IT and S&T base to tackle
changing demographics; and to wean the Balkans
away from virulent nationalism.
EU enlargement, institutional reform, and a
common foreign, security and defense policy
will play out over the next 15 years, so that by
2015 the final contours of the “European
project” are likely to be firmly set. Having
absorbed at least 10 new members, the European
Union will have achieved its geographic
and institutional limits.
• As a consequence of long delays in gaining
EU entry (and the after-effects of actual
membership), leaders in some Central/Eastern
Europe countries will be susceptible to
pressures from authoritarian, nationalist
forces on both the left and right. These forces
will capitalize on public resentment about the
effects of EU policy and globalization,
including unemployment, foreign ownership,
and cultural penetration.
• The EU will not include Russia. The Europeans,
nevertheless, will seek to engage
Moscow—encouraging stability and maintaining
dialogue. Although Russia will continue
to recede in importance to the European
governments, they will use US handling of
Russia as a barometer of how well or poorly
Washington is exerting leadership and
defending European interests.
Economic Reform & Globalization. EU governments
will continue to seek a “third way”
between state control and unbridled capitalism:
piecemeal and often unavowed economic
reform driven in part by an ever denser network
of overseas business relationships and changes
in corporate governance. Lingering labor market
rigidity and state regulation will hamper
restructuring, retooling, and reinvestment strategies.
Europe will trail the United States in
entrepreneurship and innovation as governments
seek ways to balance encouragement of
these factors against social effects. Thus,
Europe will not achieve fully the dreams of parity
with the United States as a shaper of the global
economic system.
In Prague, Vienna, and other European capitals,
protestors have questioned the merits of globalization.
By 2015, Europe will have globalized
more extensively than some of its political
rhetoric will suggest. It also will have less
difficulty than other regions coping with rapid
change because of high education and technological
levels. States will continue to push
private sector competitiveness in the international
market. Three of the top five information
technology centers in the world will be in
Europe: London, Munich, and Paris.
Many Europeans will see the role of foreign
policy as protecting their social and cultural
identities from the “excesses” of globalization—
and from its “superpatron,” the United
States. One of the ways in which leaders will
respond will be to clamor for greater political
control over international financial and trade
The aging of the population and low birthrates
will be major challenges to European prosperity
and cohesion. Greater percentages of state
budgets will have to be allocated to the aging,
while, at the same time, there will be significant,
chronic shortages both of highly skilled
workers in IT and other professions and
unskilled workers in basic services. Legal and
illegal immigration will mitigate labor shortages
to a limited extent but at a cost in terms of
social friction and crime. As EU governments
grapple with immigration policy and European
and national identity, anti-immigrant sentiment
will figure more prominently in the political
arena throughout Western Europe.
Turkey. The future direction of Turkey, both
internally and geopolitically, will have a major
impact on the region, and on US and Western
interests. Shifting political dynamics; debates
over identity, ethnicity and the role of religion
in the state; and the further development of
civil society will figure prominently in Turkey’s
domestic agenda. The road to Turkish membership
in the EU will be long and difficult, and
EU member states will evaluate Turkey’s
candidacy not only on the basis of economic
performance, but on how well it tackles this
comprehensive agenda. Part of Turkey’s
success will hinge on the effectiveness of a
growing private sector in advancing Turkey’s
reform efforts and its goal of full integration in
the West. NATO’s involvement in the Ballkans
and expected enlargement in southern Europe
will increase ties between Turkey and the West.
By dint of its history, location, and interests,
Turkey will continue to pay attention to its
neighbors to the north—in the Caucasus and
Central Asia—and to the south and east—
Syria, Iraq and Iran.With few exceptions, these
states will continue to struggle with questions
of governance. As Turkey crafts policies
toward the countries in these regions, no single
issue will dominate its national security
agenda. Rather, Ankara will find itself having
to cope with regional rivalries—including what
policies to adopt toward internal and interstate
conflicts—proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, the politics and economics of
energy transport, and water rights.
Europe and the World. Europe’s agenda will
require it to demonstrate influence in world
affairs commensurate with its size in population
and economic strength. The EU’s global
reach will be based primarily on economics:
robust trade and investment links to the United
States and growing ties to East and Southeast
Asia and Latin America.
In dealing with matters outside the region,
European leaders will construe their global
responsibilities as building legal mechanisms,
encouraging diplomatic contact, and—to a
lesser extent—providing nonmilitary aid. They
will respond sporadically to foreign crises—
either through the UN or in ad hoc “coalitions
of the willing” withWashington or others—but
they will not make strong and consistent overseas
commitments, particularly in regard to
sending troops.
Transatlantic Links. Economic issues will
have overtaken security issues in importance
by 2015, and the United States will see its
relations with Europe defined increasingly
through the EU, not only on the basis of trade
but in the context of using economic tools—
such as aid and preferential trading regimes—
to underwrite peace initiatives.
By 2015, NATO will have accepted many, but
not all, Central/Eastern European countries.
European Security and Defense Policy will be
set in terms of partnership with, rather than
replacement of, NATO.
Trends. Canada will be a full participant in the
globalization process in 2015 and a leading
player in the Americas after the United States,
along with Mexico and Brazil. Ottawa will still

be grappling with the political, demographic,
and cultural impact of heavy Asian immigration
in the West as well as residual nationalist
sentiment in French-speaking Quebec. The vast
and diverse country, however, will remain stable
amidst constant, dynamic change.
Ottawa will continue to emphasize the importance
of education, and especially science and
technology, for the new economy. Canada also
will promote policies designed to stem the flow
of skilled workers south and will seek to attract
skilled immigrants—especially professionals
from East and South Asia—to ensure that Canada
will be able to take full advantage of global
opportunities. The question of Quebec’s place
in the country will continue to stir national
Canada’s status as the pre-eminent US economic
partner will be even more pronounced in
2015. National sensitivity to encroaching US
culture will remain, even as the two economies
become more integrated. Ottawa will retain its
interests in the stability and prosperity of East
Asia because of growing Canadian economic,
cultural, and demographic links to the Pacific
region. As additional trade links with Latin
America are developed through the North
American Free Trade Agreement and a likely
Free Trade Area of the Americas, Canada
increasingly will take advantage of developments
in the Western hemisphere. Although
Canadians will focus more on Latin America
and less on Europe, they will still look to
NATO as the cornerstone of Western security.
Like Europeans, Canadians will judge US global
leadership in terms of the relationship with
Russia, especially regarding strategic arms and
National Missile Defense (NMD).
Despite the relatively small size of Canada’s
armed forces, Ottawa still will seek to participate
in global and regional discussions on the
future of international peacekeeping. Canada
will continue to build on its traditional support
for international organizations by working to
ensure a more effective UN and greater respect
for international treaties, norms, and regimes.
Canadians will be sympathetic to calls for
greater political “management” of globalization
to help mitigate adverse impacts on the
environment and ensure that globalization’s
benefits reach less advantaged regions and
Latin America
Regional Trends. By 2015, many Latin American
countries will enjoy greater prosperity as a
result of expanding hemispheric and global
economic links, the information revolution, and
lowered birthrates. Progress in building democratic
institutions will reinforce reform and
promote prosperity by enhancing investor confidence.
Brazil and Mexico will be increasingly
confident and capable actors that will seek a
greater voice in hemispheric affairs. But the
region will remain vulnerable to financial crises
because of its dependence on external finance
and the continuing role of single commodities
in most economies. The weakest countries in
the region, especially in the Andean region,
will fall further behind. Reversals of democracy
in some countries will be spurred by a failure to
deal effectively with popular demands, crime,
corruption, drug trafficking, and insurgencies.
Latin America—especially Venezuela, Mexico,
and Brazil—will become an increasingly
important oil producer by 2015 and an
important component of the emerging Atlantic
Basin energy system. Its proven oil reserves are
second only to those located in the Middle East.
Globalization Gains and Limits. Continued
trade and investment liberalization and the
expansion of free trade agreements within and
outside of Latin America will be a significant
catalyst of growth. Regional trade integration
through organizations such as MERCOSUR
and the likely conclusion of a Free Trade Area
of the Americas will both boost employment
and provide the political context for governments
to sustain economic reforms even against
opposing entrenched interest groups.
Latin America’s Internet market is poised to
grow exponentially, stimulating commerce,
foreign investment, new jobs, and corporate
efficiency. Although Internet business opportunities
will promote the growth of firms throughout
the region, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico
are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries.
Shifting Demographics. Latin America’s
demographics will shift markedly—to the
distinct advantage of some countries—helping
to ease social strains and underpin higher
economic growth. During the next 15 years,
most countries will experience a substantial
slowdown in the number of new jobseekers,
which will help reduce unemployment and
boost wages. But not all countries will enjoy
these shifts; Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua, and Paraguay will still face
rapidly increasing populations in need of work.
Democratization Progress and Setbacks. By
2015, key countries will have made some headway
in building sturdier and more capable democratic
institutions. Democratic institutions in
Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil appear
poised for continued incremental consolidation.
In other countries, crime, public corruption, the
spread of poverty, and the failure of governments
to redress worsening income inequality
will provide fertile ground for populist and
authoritarian politicians. Soaring crime rates
will contribute to vigilantism and extrajudicial
killings by the police. Burgeoning criminal
activity—including money laundering, alien
smuggling, and narcotrafficking—could overwhelm
some Caribbean countries. Democratization
in Cuba will depend upon how and when
Fidel Castro passes from the scene.
Growing Regional Gaps. By 2015, the gap
between the more prosperous and democratic
states of Latin America and the others will
widen. Countries that are unable or unwilling to
undertake reforms will experience slow growth
at best. Several will struggle intermittently with
serious domestic political and economic problems
such as crime, corruption, and dependence
on single commodities such as oil.
Countries with high crime and widespread
corruption will lack the political consensus to
advance economic reforms and will face lower
growth prospects. Although poverty and inequality
will remain endemic throughout the
region, high-fertility countries will face higher
rates of poverty and unemployment.
The Andean countries—Colombia, Venezuela,
Ecuador, and Peru—are headed for greater
challenges of differing nature and origin. Competition
for scarce resources, demographic
pressures, and a lack of employment opportunities
probably will cause workers’ anger to
mount and fuel more aggressive tactics in the
future. Fatigue with economic hardship and
deep popular cynicism about political institutions,
particularly traditional parties, could lead
to instability in Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador.
Resolution of the long-running guerrilla war is
key to Colombia’s future prospects. The Cuban
economy under a Castro Government will fall
further behind most of the Latin American
countries that embrace globalization and adopt
free market practices.
Rising Migration. Pressures for legal and illegal
migration to the United States and regionally
will rise during the next 15 years.
Demographic factors, political instability, personal
insecurity, poverty, wage differentials, the
growth of alien-smuggling networks, and wider
family ties will propel more Latin American
workers to enter the United States. El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua will
become even greater sources of illegal
migrants. In Mexico, declining population
growth and strong economic prospects will
gradually diminish pressures to seek work in
the United States, but disparities in living standards,
US demand for labor, and family ties
will remain strong pull factors. Significant
political instability during a transition process
in Cuba could lead to mass migration.
• The growth of Central American and Mexican
alien-smuggling networks will exacerbate
problems along the US border.
Illegal migration within the region will become
a more contentious issue between Latin American
governments. Argentina and Venezuela
already have millions of undocumented workers
from neighboring countries, and resentment
of illegal workers could increase. Although
most Haitian migrants will head for the United
States, Haiti’s Caribbean neighbors will also
experience further strains.
Significant Discontinuities
The trends outlined in this study are based
on the combinations of drivers that are most
likely over the next 15 years. Nevertheless,
the drivers could produce trends quite different
from the ones described. Below are possibilities
different from those presented in the
body of the study:
• Serious deterioration of living standards
for the bulk of the population in several
major Middle Eastern countries and the
failure of Israel and the Palestinians to
conclude even a “cold peace,” lead to serious,
violent political upheavals in Egypt,
Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
• The trend toward more diverse, free-wheeling
transnational terrorist networks leads
to the formation of an international terrorist
coalition with diverse anti-Western
objectives and access to WMD.
• Another global epidemic on the scale of
HIV/AIDS, or rapidly changing weather
patterns attributable to global warming,
with grave damage and enormous costs for
several developed countries—sparking an
enduring global consensus on the need for
concerted action on health issues and the
• A state of major concern to US strategic
interests—such as Iran, Nigeria, Israel, or
Saudi Arabia—fails to manage serious
internal religious or ethnic divisions and
crisis ensues.
• A growing antiglobalization movement
becomes a powerful sustainable global
political and cultural force—threatening
Western governmental and corporate interests.
• China, India, and Russia form a defacto
geo-strategic alliance in an attempt to
counterbalance US and Western
• The US-European alliance collapses,
owing in part to intensifying trade disputes
and competition for leadership in handling
security questions.
• Major Asian countries establish an Asian
Monetary Fund or less likely an Asian
Trade Organization, undermining the IMF
and WTO and the ability of the US to exercise
global economic leadership.

(U) Appendix
Four Alternative
Global Futures
In September-October 1999, the NIC initiated
work on Global Trends 2015 by cosponsoring
with Department of State/INR and CIA’s Global
Futures Project two unclassified workshops
on Alternative Global Futures: 2000-2015. The
workshops brought together several dozen government
and nongovernment specialists in a
wide range of fields.
The first workshop identified major factors and
events that would drive global change through
2015. It focused on demography, natural
resources, science and technology, the global
economy, governance, social/cultural identities,
and conflict and identified main trends and
regional variations. These analyses became the
basis for subsequent elaboration in Global
Trends 2015.
The second workshop developed four alternative
global futures in which these drivers would
interact in different ways through 2015. Each
scenario was intended to construct a plausible,
policy-relevant story of how this future might
evolve: highlighting key uncertainties, discontinuities,
and unlikely or “wild card” events, and
identifying important policy and intelligence
Scenario One: Inclusive Globalization:
A virtuous circle develops among technology,
economic growth, demographic factors, and
effective governance, which enables a majority
of the world’s people to benefit from globalization.
Technological development and diffusion—
in some cases triggered by severe
environmental or health crises—are utilized to
grapple effectively with some problems of the
developing world. Robust global economic
growth—spurred by a strong policy consensus
on economic liberalization—diffuses wealth
widely and mitigates many demographic and
resource problems. Governance is effective at
both the national and international levels. In
many countries, the state’s role shrinks, as its
functions are privatized or performed by public-
private partnerships, while global cooperation
intensifies on many issues through a
variety of international arrangements. Conflict
is minimal within and among states benefiting
from globalization. A minority of the world’s
people—in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle
East, Central and South Asia, and the Andean
region—do not benefit from these positive
changes, and internal conflicts persist in and
around those countries left behind.
Scenario Two: Pernicious Globalization
Global elites thrive, but the majority of the
world’s population fails to benefit from globalization.
Population growth and resource
scarcities place heavy burdens on many developing
countries, and migration becomes a
major source of interstate tension. Technologies
not only fail to address the problems of
developing countries but also are exploited by
negative and illicit networks and incorporated
into destabilizing weapons. The global economy
splits into three: growth continues in
developed countries; many developing countries
experience low or negative per capita
growth, resulting in a growing gap with the
developed world; and the illicit economy grows
dramatically. Governance and political leadership
are weak at both the national and international
levels. Internal conflicts increase, fueled
by frustrated expectations, inequities, and
heightened communal tensions; WMD proliferate
and are used in at least one internal conflict.
Scenario Three: Regional Competition
Regional identities sharpen in Europe, Asia,
and the Americas, driven by growing political
resistance in Europe and East Asia to US global
preponderance and US-driven globalization
and each region’s increasing preoccupation
with its own economic and political priorities.
There is an uneven diffusion of technologies,
reflecting differing regional concepts of intellectual
property and attitudes towards biotechnology.
Regional economic integration in trade
and finance increases, resulting in both fairly
high levels of economic growth and rising
regional competition. Both the state and institutions
of regional governance thrive in major
developed and emerging market countries, as
governments recognize the need to resolve
pressing regional problems and shift responsibilities
from global to regional institutions.
Given the preoccupation of the three major
regions with their own concerns, countries outside
these regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the
Middle East, and Central and South Asia have
few places to turn for resources or political support.
Military conflict among and within the
three major regions does not materialize, but
internal conflicts increase in and around other
countries left behind.
Scenario Four: Post-Polar World
US domestic preoccupation increases as the US
economy slows, then stagnates. Economic and
political tensions with Europe grow, the USEuropean
alliance deteriorates as the United
States withdraws its troops, and Europe turns
inward, relying on its own regional institutions.
At the same time, national governance crises
create instability in Latin America, particularly
in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Panama,
forcing the United States to concentrate on the
region. Indonesia also faces internal crisis and
risks disintegration, prompting China to provide
the bulk of an ad hoc peacekeeping force.
Otherwise, Asia is generally prosperous and
stable, permitting the United States to focus
elsewhere. Korea’s normalization and de facto
unification proceed, China and Japan provide
the bulk of external financial support for
Korean unification, and the United States
begins withdrawing its troops from Korea and
Japan. Over time, these geostrategic shifts
ignite longstanding national rivalries among the
Asian powers, triggering increased military
preparations and hitherto dormant or covert
WMD programs. Regional and global institutions
prove irrelevant to the evolving conflict
situation in Asia, as China issues an ultimatum
to Japan to dismantle its nuclear program and
Japan—invoking its bilateral treaty with the
US—calls for US reengagement in Asia under
adverse circumstances at the brink of a major
war. Given the priorities of Asia, the Americas,
and Europe, countries outside these regions are
marginalized, with virtually no sources of
political or financial support.
Generalizations Across the Scenarios
The four scenarios can be grouped in two pairs:
the first pair contrasting the “positive” and
“negative” effects of globalization; the second
pair contrasting intensely competitive but not
conflictual regionalism and the descent into
regional military conflict.
• In all but the first scenario, globalization does
not create widespread global cooperation.
Rather, in the second scenario, globalization’s
negative effects promote extensive dislocation
and conflict, while in the third and
fourth, they spur regionalism.
• In all four scenarios, countries negatively
affected by population growth, resource scarcities
and bad governance, fail to benefit from
globalization, are prone to internal conflicts,
and risk state failure.
• In all four scenarios, the effectiveness of
national, regional, and international governance
and at least moderate but steady economic
growth are crucial.
• In all four scenarios, US global influence

Identity and
Driver Behavior in the Global Futures Scenarios
Scenario: Inclusive Globalization
Global population increases by 1 billion people. Pressures from
population growth mitigated by high average annual economic growth.
Urbanization manageable in many countries, but some cities with rapid
population growth become politically unstable.
High migration beneficial for sending and receiving countries, although
controversial in Europe and Japan.
Population increases and robust economic growth will stress
ecosystems, resulting in soil degradation, CO2 pollution, deforestation
and loss of species, especially in areas of rapid urbanization.
Advanced developing countries largely resolve resource problems,
although the poorest developing countries will suffer resource
scarcities. In particular, water scarcities will worsen in South Asia,
northern China, Middle East, and Africa.
Conditions will be auspicious for rapid innovation, diffusion and
implementation of IT, biotechnology, and smart materials.
IT will promote productivity gains and higher levels of non-inflationary
growth for many countries.
Some countries will fall further behind because they lack sufficient
education levels, infrastructure, and regulatory systems.
US global leadership and economic power, further liberalization of
trade, broad acceptance of market reforms, rapid diffusion of IT, and
absence of great-power conflict will generate on average 4% annual
global economic growth.
Emerging markets—China, India, Brazil—and many developing
countries will benefit. Some states in Africa, the Middle East, Andean
region, Central Asia, and the Caucasus will lag.
Ethnic heterogeneity challenges cohesion of some states, migrant
workers create chronic tensions in ethnically homogeneous Europe and
East Asia, and communal tensions and violence increase in developing
countries with poor governance.
In many states benefiting from rapid economic growth and spread of IT,
functions of governance will diffuse widely from national governments
to local governments and partnerships with business firms, non-profits.
Some states’ capacity to govern will weaken, and especially in the
Andean region, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and South Asia.
Absence of great power conflict. Conflict is minimal between and
within developed and emerging market countries, due to economic
prosperity and growing acceptance of democratic norms.
Internal and cross-border conflicts persist in Sub-Saharan Africa,
parts of Central, South, and Southeast Asia, and the Andean region
due to lack of effective governance and countries’ inability to handle
population growth, resources scarcities, ethnic tensions, and
Developed countries will allow many strategically remote conflicts to
proceed without attempting to intervene.
Scenario: Pernicious Globalization
Additional 1 billion people prove burdensome, since economic
stagnation and high unemployment prevent absorption of new job
market entrants or migrants.
Inadequate urban infrastructure and social services in most cities create
conditions ripe for instability and insurgency.
South–North migration becomes major source of tension, spurring US
and Europe to disengage from developing countries.
Population growth will contribute to scarcities of arable land and fresh
water, exacerbated by inappropriate policies of subsidy and
Resource scarcities, particularly that of fresh water, will be major
problems in both emerging market and developing countries, reducing
agricultural production and spurring migration to cities.
Innovation and diffusion will be slow, due to economic stagnation and
political uncertainties.
The destabilizing effects of technology will predominate: WMD
proliferates; IT empowers terrorists and criminals.
Benefits of technology will be realized by only a few rich countries,
while most countries will fall further behind.
A US downturn leads to economic stagnation. Global consensus
supporting market reforms will erode, undermining the “American
economic model,” making US especially vulnerable and leading US to
disengage from global involvement.
Emerging markets, as well as most developing countries, are hard hit by
economic stagnation.
Ethnic/religious identities sharpen in many heterogeneous states.
Communal tensions and violence increase in Africa, Central and South
Asia, and parts of Middle East. Political Islam grows. Likelihood of
terrorism against targets linked to globalization and the US will
increase, hastening Northern disengagement.
Weakening of governing capacity at all levels among both developed
and developing countries; China and Russia face territorial
Risk of regional conflict in Asia rises substantially. Serious questions
arise concerning:
• China’s territorial integrity.
• India’s ability to govern.
• Future of democracy in Russia.
Frequency of internal and interstate conflicts increases, triggered by
rising tensions in emerging and developing countries and reduced
cooperation among developed countries.
WMD restraints will erode, increasing risks of terrorism and regional
DI Design Center 376666AI 10-00

Identity and
Driver Behavior in the Global Futures Scenarios (continued)
Scenario: Regional Competition
Additional 1 billion people prove burdensome for many developing
countries, due to slow economic growth and regional protectionism.
Cities in many developing countries become unstable, due to growing
economic disparities, inadequate infrastructure and services, and weak
governance: increasing cross-border migration.
Population growth, economic pressures, and policy failures create
resource scarcities, especially in poor countries and highly populated
emerging markets.
International environmental collaboration weakens, and local conflicts
over water spur cross-border migration.
Technology advances and commercializes rapidly, but regional
protectionism reduces economies of scale and promotes trade barriers.
Conflicts over market openings for high technology sectors break out.
Developing countries unable to compete in global economy fall into
technological backwardness.
Growth is robust, but diminished by effects of regionalism and
protectionism. US maintains advantage over Europe and Japan through
ability to absorb foreign workers.
Emerging markets are targets of developed country mercantilist
competition. Other developing countries are neglected by rich countries
and atrophied global institutions.
Globalization, assertions of US “hegemony,” and cultural changes
challenge national identities, contributing to US-European and USAsian
estrangement and increasing US engagement in Latin America.
Labor mobility sharpens ethnic/religious identities in countries where
immigrants cannot be absorbed.
Communal pressures in developing countries increase, in some cases
leading to internal communal conflicts.
Mercantilist competition strengthens the state.
A number of regional organizations are strengthened while global
institutions weaken, due to inattention, preoccupation with
domestic/regional issues, and EU/Japan resentment of US preeminence.
Increased regionalism results in conflict over markets, investment
flows, and resources, further reducing international collaboration on
terrorism, crime, cross-border conflicts, and WMD proliferation.
WMD proliferates rapidly and dangerously.
High levels of internal and cross-border conflicts persist in developing
Scenario: Post-Polar World
Additional 1 billion people destabilizing some countries, such as
Indonesia, and make some rapidly growing cities ungovernable.
Population dynamics create opportunities for China and emerging
market countries of Latin America and contribute to reordering of
great-power relationships in Asia.
Resource trends similar to those in regional competition scenario.
Widespread regional protectionism and conflicts over access to high
technology develop.
Regional and great-power relations in Asia become more contentious.
Demand for militarily-relevant technologies in Asia increases.
Economic trends similar to those in regional competition scenario.
Globalization and cultural changes contribute to US–European
estrangement and increase US engagement in Latin America.
Traditional national identities and rivalries stoke intensified nationalism
in Asia.
Labor mobility sharpens ethnic/religious identities in countries where
immigrants cannot be absorbed.
Communal pressures increase in many developing countries, and
conflicts persist in the Andean region, Indonesia, and elsewhere.
Both mercantilist competition and a growing prospect of interstate
conflict in Asia strengthen developed and emerging market states’
ability to command resources, invest in militarily-relevant technology,
and control borders.
Both global and regional intergovernmental institutions weaken.
As US concentrates on Western Hemisphere and downgrades its
presence in Europe and Asia, China drives towards regional dominance,
Japan rearms and the risk of great-power conflict increases as US
contemplates reasserting influence in Asia.
WMD proliferates rapidly and dangerously, particularly in Asia.
High levels of internal and cross-border conflicts persist in developing
DI Design Center 376666AI 10-00
The National Intelligence Council
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) manages the Intelligence Community’s estimative process,
incorporating the best available expertise inside and outside the government. It reports to the Director
of Central Intelligence in his capacity as head of the US Intelligence Community and speaks authoritatively
on substantive issues for the Community as a whole.
(concurrently Assistant Director of
Central Intelligence for Analysis
and Production)
John Gannon
Vice Chairman Ellen Laipson
Director, Senior Review,
Production, and Analysis
Stuart A. Cohen
National Intelligence Officers
Africa Robert Houdek
At-Large Stuart A. Cohen
Conventional Military Issues John Landry
East Asia Robert Sutter
Economics & Global Issues David Gordon
Europe Barry F. Lowenkron
Latin America Fulton T. Armstrong
Near East and South Asia Paul Pillar
Russia and Eurasia George Kolt
Science & Technology Lawrence Gershwin
Strategic & Nuclear Programs Robert D Walpole
Warning Robert Vickers


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