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Report Predicts U.S. May Have Tougher Time Mustering Future Coalitions

Report Predicts U.S. May Have Tougher Time Mustering Future Coalitions

By Jacquelyn S. Porth, Washington File Security Affairs Writer. Source: US State Department, Washington D.C., December 18, 2000.

Washington D.C.---Capping a 15-month effort, a group of non-government political and security experts have issued a new report designed to help American political leaders grapple with future uncertainties arising in Russia, China, Japan, India and the Middle East.

"Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future with Nongovernmental Experts" predicts that there will be a greater number of actors on the world stage to challenge, check and reinforce U.S. leadership, including China, Russia, India, Mexico and Brazil; regional forums such as the European Union; as well as strong multinational corporations and non-profit groups.

The report finds that no single trend will dominate, nor will any single factor or "driver" -- such as demographics, natural resources and environment, science and technology, the global economy and globalization, national and international governance, or future conflict. The analysis says that each of these "drivers" will have varying impacts on regions and countries, and in some cases "they will work at cross-purposes."

The report, issued December 18 under the auspices of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), predicts that U.S. "global economic, technological, military, and diplomatic influence will be unparalleled among nations as well as regional and international organizations in 2015." This will mean that the U.S. will be identified as both the "the leading proponent and beneficiary of globalization."

At the same time, it says the U.S. will have a hard time "drawing on its economic prowess to advance its foreign policy agenda." This is due to the American private sector's focus on maintaining its economic and technological lead in its drive to achieve financial profitability, it adds.

The report suggests that allies and adversaries "will factor continued U.S. military pre-eminence in their calculations of national security interests and ambitions." Some of them will try periodically to check "what they see as American 'hegemony.'" This will not manifest itself in enduring anti-U.S. coalitions, but "will lead to tactical alignments on specific policies and demands for a greater role in international political and economic institutions."

With respect to policy, the report's analysts write that Washington will have a harder time "harnessing its power to achieve specific foreign policy goals." For example, the U.S. will have more trouble building coalitions to support policy objectives even though the international community "will often turn to Washington, even if reluctantly, to lead multilateral efforts in real and potential conflicts."

The international community will be faced with the military, political and economic consequences of "the rise of China and India and the continued decline of Russia," according to this unclassified assessment. Internal conflicts, especially ones arising from communal disputes, "will pose the most frequent threat to stability around the world."

In a brief snapshot the report states:

China: As already proven, it is "politically resilient, economically dynamic, and increasingly assertive in positioning itself for a leadership role in East Asia."

Russia: Within 15 years, it "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."

Japan: Tokyo will be hard pressed to maintain "its current position as the world's third largest economy by 2015."

India: Although it will strengthen its regional role, "uncertainties about the effects of global trends on its society cast doubt on how far India will go."

Middle East: Israel will attain "a cold peace with its neighbors" by 2015 and a Palestinian state will exist, "but Israeli-Palestinian tensions will persist and occasionally erupt into crises."

Europe: NATO will move to accept many, but not all, of the Central and East European nations, and the European Security and Defense Policy "will be set in terms of partnership with, rather than replacement of, NATO."

On the subject of anti-U.S. terrorism, the report says most of it will be based on "perceived ethnic, religious or cultural grievances" with terrorists trying to find ways to continue attacking U.S. military and diplomatic institutions and private symbols of America. Terrorist tactics will become more sophisticated and lethal, according to the analysts. However, international cooperation will likely be effective in countering terrorism.

Touching on the threat from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, the report finds the probability that a WMD-equipped missile would be used against U.S. forces or interests "is higher today than during most of the Cold War and will continue to grow." Emerging missile threats will be posed by nations with fewer, less accurate and survivable missiles than that of the former Soviet Union. The report concludes that chemical and biological threats to the U.S. will become greater simply because those capabilities "are easier to develop, hide and deploy than nuclear weapons."

Even if weapons of mass destruction were used against non-U.S. interests somewhere in the world, the report says, Washington would be affected because it could be called upon "to help contain the damage and...provide scientific expertise and economic assistance to deal with the effects." In addition, the proliferation of theater-range ballistic and cruise missiles will continue.

Examining the prospects for arms control, the report predicts that prospects for the growth of bilateral arms control regimes between the major powers "probably will be dim over the next 15 years," while progress multilaterally will grow sporadically. New, formal arms control agreements will rely on limited provisions for monitoring or verification.

Its sponsors hope that it will be viewed as a work-in-progress. It follows a previous report entitled: "Revisiting Global Trends 2010: How Our Assessments Have Changed." The Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet said he hopes the new report will contribute to "a growing strategic dialogue."

The National Intelligence Council is a 15-person center headquartered at the CIA which focuses on conducting strategic intelligence assessments. NIC Chairman John Gannon says: "We welcome comments on all aspects of this study."

Click here for full text of Global Trends 2015 report.



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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).