This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Predicting the Global Political Future

"Really for the first time in human history, people as individuals really, really matter."
"They're [anti-establishment Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders] channelling something that we're observing in a lot of countries, not just the United States, which is this real dissatisfaction with the existing social bargains or compacts in society."
Suzanne Fry, director, National Intelligence Council Strategic Future Group

America is in social ferment, and the turmoil caused by the run-ups to the Democratic and Republican candidacies for the general election in the fall, when two-time President Barack Obama is constitutionally mandated to step down from the Oval Office, has roiled the nation. Two polarizing images of populist candidates expressing their views of U.S. political-social failures at home and abroad have shown the world that this is a nation in trouble with itself.

The confident stability and pride of America has been shattered in a paroxysm of self-doubt and anger. Americans feel they have been cynically manipulated, that their best interests are no longer considered, that the elite demographic of the wealthier-becoming-wealthier at the core's expense is an atrocious situation they will no longer tolerate. Anger seeps out of every corner of the country, out of the pores of furious liberals and conservatives alike who no longer see a common interest they share as a nation.

And this is the nation that leads the world, steady on as she goes, only it no longer does. It has been notably and noticeably faltering for decades. But a change in administration is in the offing. Or perhaps not. Only the outcome of the election will tell. In the meantime, a new forecast for the nation has been in the making, a prediction of trends and the global political environment for the foreseeable years to come.

The National Intelligence Council out of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence bridges intelligence agencies and policy-makers awaiting its four-year-issue of global trends meant to be presented to an incoming president; alternately the incumbent, but this incumbent has had his two stints as national navigator and this report will be presented to his successor, whoever she -- or he will be. A draft summary has been released for the edification of the interested.

The director of the council's Strategic Future Group and ten of her colleagues set out to examine 30 countries, taking a year and a half to do the job right. They discussed the future with some 1,800 people at home and abroad, representing all interests and all spectrums of society. The prediction is that populism where average people assert themselves and their interests will continue to factor into society's unfolding new environment, from industrial nations to emerging ones.

China's economic slowdown reducing commodities demand from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East will have its impact, and perhaps spur those countries to find other ways they can aspire to grow their economic interests into the future. Wage stagnation has gone hand in glove with a reduction in global poverty. Yet a concentration of wealth in the hands of a globally minuscule group of people continues apace.

Trouble looms ahead as transnational terrorism played out by groups like Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, by al-Qaeda and by Boko Haram, and ongoing sectarian violence threatening stability in the Middle East, Asia and parts of Africa will continue until they are stifled and consume themselves for lack of the oxygen of support, suffocated by the will and determination of those they plague in their dominating quest for power.

Global Trends 2035

Critical to its insight and policy-relevance have been meetings worldwide with a wide range of interlocutors—including government officials, scholars, business people, civil society representatives, and others—in workshops, exchanges, and other events designed to stimulate thinking about possible global trajectories and discontinuities over the next two decades. 

Individuals from scores of countries and walks of life have helped the NIC examine trends—including economics, demography, ecology, energy, health, governance, security, identity, and geopolitics—and understand their implications for peace, security, and prosperity worldwide.  

The NIC crystallizes ideas gleaned from these meetings as well as extensive research in a Global Trends report published every four years, between the US Presidential Election Day and Inauguration Day
  • The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
  • The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future.
  • Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources—particularly energy, food, and water—raising the specter of scarcities emerging as demand outstrips supply.
  • The potential for conflict will increase owing partly to political turbulence in parts of the greater Middle East."

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