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La Republica, Peru

Choose Your Future

By Mirko Lauer

Translated By Karen Posada

28 December 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager

Peru - La Republica - Original Article (Spanish)

The U.S. National Intelligence Council just published a report about potential global futures. It covers the present day until 2030 and is mainly a projection about current trends into the future. The picture it paints combines what we know, the predictable, the unexpected and the never imagined. In none of the cases does it portend a more comfortable world for humanity.

Here’s their prediction of four megatrends: significant progress in the empowerment of the individual; diffusion of power among the numerous poles of the world: 60 percent of the population concentrating in cities; the interaction of need of food, water and energy becoming crucial in the development of events during the period.

The negative developments will be powerful versions of current trends: unstable politics, the danger of conflict, endemic weaknesses in the economy, problems not overwhelmed by demographic, social, climate and technological changes, especially. There’s no sign of relief in the horizon.

There are four potential worlds. The first one, considered by the report as the most plausible of the negative scenarios, posits that risks of conflict within states would increase. In this case, “the U.S. would withdraw and globalization would stagnate.” The idea is that then the engine of the world would begin to sink. In the second scenario, considered the most positive, there’s a kind of fusion between China and the U.S., which would lead to greater global cooperation. In a third scenario the differences between countries sharpen, with powerful tensions among the countries that fail. In a fourth scenario, non-state actors would lead.

The document is much more dense (about 200 pages), detailed and informed than an executive summary. For obvious reasons it pivots around the U.S., yet it is conceived as material for debate. All the major points of geopolitics and the main domestic national policies are there to be discussed.

It’s hard to place Peru among the predictions, though the majority of trends include us. But refining our relationships within these kinds of potential global scenarios (from the NIC or elsewhere) is an indispensable exercise of intelligence. Let’s read this: www.dni.gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf

A world more or less globalized would make all the difference to us in the next 20 years. The same if non-state actors take the world by the reins. Withdrawal by the U.S. or fusion with China are two very different scenarios for Peru. Thinking about 20 years from now can help us understand some of the options from now until 2016.



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