Saturday, February 12, 2005

NIC 2020 project: plus ca change?

Mapping the Global Future, a report of the US National Intelligence Council's 2020 project, looks worth the reading. Lindsey Hilsum comments:

It can only be good that the US has people at the heart of its intelligence structures who are both forward-looking and clear-eyed - proof there is thinking beyond ideology.

I've only read the introduction, and am looking forward to the four scenarios (Davos World, Pax Americana, A New Caliphate and Cycle of Fear). Having done scenario work myself in the past, I come with a sceptical - but not cynical - eye. Sometimes ficitional future scenarios can be another way we dress up an analysis of the present, or present fears, without fully realising what we're doing.

For example, the description on page 14 of the introduction: "Pervasive insecurity...globalisation will profoundly shake up the status quo...the transition will not be painless and will hit the middle classes of the developed world in particuar...weak governments, lagging economies, religious extremism, and youth bulges will align to create a perfect storm for internal conflict in certain regions". This looks like an imminent situation, not one twenty years hence.

No comments: