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Navigating the Future: A Strategy for our Turbulent World Strategic Foresight: 100-Day Checklist for the New Administration 1. Incorporate strategic foresight into decision making in an effort to get ahead of the crisis curve. 2. Undertake entitlement reform. Not putting entitlements on a more solid fiscal foundation will endanger the US’s long term security. 3. Treat water security for US allies and partners as a national security priority. 4. Put fighting corruption up there with counterterrorism. 5. Develop strategies for ensuring new technologies such as geoengineering, drones, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology don’t end up becoming national security threats. 6. Stop the slide towards a segmented internet. There is needs to be rules governing offensive cyber. 7. Identify new areas of joint cooperation with Russia and China so as to prevent further deterioration in ties. 8. Raise public awareness of rapidly changing world. Consider government funding for area studies programs at US universities. 9. Ease barriers to immigration of highly skilled workers. 10. Bolster tech training and vocational education. 11. Help Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries develop their economic reform efforts.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I

n the four years since Global Trends 2030 was published, the biggest change in the world is the increased risk of major conflict. In 2012, a large-scale US/NATO conflict with Russia or China was close to unthinkable. Now, the post-Cold War security order has broken down, and the consequences are immense, potentially threatening globalization.

The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system is accompanied by the internal fraying in the political, social, and economic fabric of practically all states. For some time, the Global Trends editions have charted the significant unravelling of societies in the developing world. This unravelling replicates many of the same upheavals associated with the modernization process of any country undergoing rapid change. The spectacular growth of a large global middle class over the last couple of decades is emblematic of the overall success of that modernization process. Never before have so many people been lifted out of extreme poverty and economically empowered, to the point that the future of the middle class now lies in the global East and South. By any calculation, their numbers will dwarf the Western middle classes, even though it will take decades before the per-capita incomes of the global middle class converge with the West’s higher standard of living. Still, the global middle class is encountering many of the same headwinds affecting the Western middle class. We have learned over the past decade that technology spares no one. The job prospects of Western and global middle classes are already affected, and it is just the beginning. Robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and automation have the potential to upend both skilled and unskilled occupations. The broad social and economic benefits of the products and services provided by emerging technologies could be immense, but there may be few big winners and many more losers in the short term. This is a far cry from the earlier notion that globalization and technological change would “lift all boats.” ii

Global Risks 2035  

Authored by Dr. Mathew J. Burrows, director of the Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on Intern...

Global Risks 2035  

Authored by Dr. Mathew J. Burrows, director of the Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on Intern...