international order is in the midst of profound
change: at no time since the formation
of the Western alliance system in 1949 have the
shape and nature of international alignments been
in such a state of flux as
they have during the past decade. As
a result, the world of 2020 will differ markedly
from the world of 2004, and in the intervening
years the United States will face major international
challenges that differ significantly from those
we face today. The very magnitude and
speed of change resulting from a globalizing world-regardless
of its precise character-will be a defining feature
of the world out to 2020. Other significant
contradictions of globalization.
- Rising powers: the changing geopolitical
- New challenges to governance.
- A more pervasive sense of insecurity.
As with previous upheavals, the
seeds of major change have been laid in the trends
apparent today. Underlying the broad characteristics
listed above are a number of specific trends that
overlap and play off each other:
expanding global economy.
- The accelerating pace of scientific change
and the dispersion of dual-use technologies.
- Lingering social inequalities.
- Emerging powers.
- The global aging phenomenon.
- Halting democratization.
- A spreading radical Islamic ideology.
- The potential for catastrophic terrorism.
- The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Increased pressures on international institutions.
As we survey the next 15 years,
the role of the United States will be an important
variable in how the world is shaped, influencing
the path that states and nonstate actors choose
to follow. In addition to the pivotal
role of the United States, international bodies
including international organizations, multinational
corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
and others can mitigate distinctly negative trends,
such as greater insecurity, and advance positive
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