US Intel Report sees the end of US domination in a new world
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-11-30

In past columns, every time this Chair Wrecker mentioned that the end of US world domination has come — responses from unsettled minds that still cling to illusions of ‘USA Forever’ questioned and argued the point. Someone even suggested that Chair Wrecker information sources may be coming from Robert Ludlum novels.

Well here is something to further unsettle those ‘USA Forever’ types — the US National Intelligence Council’s report (titled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World”) which sees the end of US domination in a transformed world. The report is sourced from all the intelligence agencies and units of the US as well as consulted international organizations and experts.

Here is the gist of what the report says, quoted verbatim.

The 2025 Global Landscape Prepared by the US National Intelligence Council

Relative certainties and likely impact

1. A global multi-polar system is emerging with the rise of China, India, and others. The relative power of non-state actors — businesses, tribes, religious organizations, and even criminal networks — also will increase.

Likely impact: By 2025 a single “international community” composed of nation-states will no longer exist. Power will be more dispersed with the newer players bringing new rules of the game while risks will increase that the traditional Western alliances will weaken. Rather than emulating Western models of political and economic development, more countries may be attracted to China’s alternative development model.

2. The unprecedented shift in relative wealth and economic power roughly from West to East now under way will continue.

Likely impact: As some countries become more invested in their economic well-being, incentives toward geopolitical stability could increase. However, the transfer is strengthening states like Russia that want to challenge the Western order.

3. The United States will remain the single most powerful country but will be less dominant.

Likely impact: Shrinking economic and military capabilities may force the US into a difficult set of tradeoffs between domestic versus foreign policy priorities.

4. Continued economic growth — coupled with 1.2 billion more people by 2025 — will put pressure on energy, food, and water resources.

Likely impact: The pace of technological innovation will be key to outcomes during this period. All current technologies are inadequate for replacing traditional energy architecture on the scale needed.

5. The number of countries with youthful populations in the “arc of instability”1[1] will decrease, but the populations of several youth-bulge states are projected to remain on rapid growth trajectories.

Likely impact: Unless employment conditions change dramatically in parlous youth-bulge states such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen, these countries will remain ripe for continued instability and state failure.

6. The potential for conflict will increase owing to rapid changes in parts of the greater Middle East and the spread of lethal capabilities.

Likely impact: The need for the US to act as regional balancer in the Middle East will increase, although other outside powers — Russia, China and India — will play greater roles than today.

7. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025, but its appeal could lessen if economic growth continues in the Middle East and youth unemployment is reduced. For those terrorists that are active the diffusion of technologies will put dangerous capabilities within their reach.

Likely impact: Opportunities for mass-casualty terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, or less likely, nuclear weapons will increase as technology diffuses and nuclear power (and possibly weapons) programs expand. The practical and psychological consequences of such attacks will intensify in an increasingly globalized world.

Key uncertainties and potential consequences

1. Whether an energy transition away from oil and gas — supported by improved energy storage, biofuels, and clean coal — is completed during the 2025 time frame.

Potential consequences: With high oil and gas prices, major exporters such as Russia and Iran will substantially augment their levels of national power, with Russia’s GDP potentially approaching that of the UK and France.

A sustained plunge in prices, perhaps underpinned by a fundamental switch to new energy sources, could trigger a long-term decline for producers as global and regional players.

2. How quickly climate change occurs and the locations where its impact is most pronounced.

Potential consequences: Climate change is likely to exacerbate resource scarcities, particularly water scarcities.

3. Whether mercantilism stages a comeback and global markets recede.

Potential consequences: Descending into a world of resource nationalism increases the risk of great power confrontations.

4.Whether advances toward democracy occur in China and Russia.

Potential consequences: Political pluralism seems less likely in Russia in the absence of economic diversification. A growing middle class increases the chances of political liberalization and potentially greater nationalism in China.

5. Whether regional fears about a nuclear-armed Iran trigger an arms race and greater militarization.

Potential consequences: Episodes of low-intensity conflict and terrorism taking place under a nuclear umbrella could lead to an unintended escalation and broader conflict.

6. Whether the greater Middle East becomes more stable, especially whether Iraq stabilizes, and whether the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved peacefully.

Potential consequences: Turbulence is likely to increase under most scenarios. Revival of economic growth, a more prosperous Iraq, and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute could engender some stability as the region deals with a strengthening Iran and global transition away from oil and gas.

7. Whether Europe and Japan overcome economic and social challenges caused or compounded by demography.

Potential consequences: Successful integration of Muslim minorities in Europe could expand the size of the productive work forces and avert social crisis. Lack of efforts by Europe and Japan to mitigate demographic challenges could lead to long-term declines.

8. Whether global powers work with multilateral institutions to adapt their structure and performance to the transformed geopolitical landscape.

Potential consequences: Emerging powers show ambivalence toward global institutions like the UN and IMF, but this could change as they become bigger players on the global stage. Asian integration could lead to more powerful regional institutions. NATO faces stiff challenges in meeting growing out-of-area responsibilities with declining European military capabilities. Traditional alliances will weaken. (End of summary)

The US has started slipping since the China-backed North Koreans forced General Douglas MacArthur and the allied forces south of the 38th Parallel during the 1950s Korean Peninsula War. Since then, a Russia-supported North Vietnam defeated US armed forces and kicked them out of South Vietnam. In the same period, a China-supported regime repelled the US in Cambodia. That is hardly the track record of a dominant superpower.

What should interest those pushing for the Reproductive Health Bill is the report’s mention of countries that are projected to undergo economic problems because of an aging population — most notable of these are Western European countries and Japan.

It is also lost on those who are promoting the Reproductive Health Bill that the two emerging titans — China and India — enjoy large populations. Their economic successes were not hampered by their large population which makes our 84 million look teeny weenie. What they did was to empower their people and create a larger consumer base — the asset that attracted foreign investors to flock to their shores.

Yet despite the eerie scenario that this transformed world is projecting, how come all we see our leaders engage in are Senate coups, population control, narrow-minded and self-seeking Charter Change and other counter-productive misadventures that will not help prepare our country to cope with the forthcoming changes.

The eminent Professor Emmanuel Q. Yap, founder of the People’s Patriotic Movement, has been discussing many of these findings of the US National Intelligence Council for over a decade already but our leaders never found it important enough to act on.

It is high time Filipinos started realizing and understanding the true state of affairs in the world for only then can we set things right in our country and meet the emerging challenges of a transformed world.

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