November 21, 2008: German news media paid special
attention to the U.S. National Intelligence Council's special
report titled "Global Trends 2025", which was released yesterday.
American intelligence agencies compiled the report, which took
one year to prepare and is released every five years.
According to the 120 page report, the international system
resulting from World war II will hardly be recognizable by the
year 2025. American economic and political clout will decline over
the next two decades, with China and Russia as the most likely
candidates competing for increased influence on the world scene.
The United States will still be a superpower, but it will be less
dominant and only one of several important countries at the
center of world events. Reflecting this future trend, the U.S.
dollar's role as the world's main reserve currency will continue
to decline, with the dollar becoming a "first among equals."
The prediction about the dollar's decline comes as no surprise,
since the euro has already established itself as a major reserve
currency. No less than former Fed chairman
has predicted that the euro will be a major competitor for the
Russia's vast energy resources will contribute to its
increased influence. Alternative sources of energy will be
much more developed than today, but America's intelligence
agencies see the potential for tension over access to
conventional sources of energy. War could even break out
over energy, according to the report.
For all the time and effort put into the report,
America's spy agencies failed to identify a major
source of future competition – and conflict –
for the United States – Europe. With its democratic
institutions and its traditional ties to America, Europe
doesn't seem to be much of a threat to anyone right now.
That will change in the coming years, however.
Six times since 800 A.D. the Roman Empire has been revived in
western Europe with the label "holy". A seventh and final
resurrection lies ahead that will lead to a major shift in
the balance of power. Events leading to that final union in
Europe began with over 50 years ago with the
Treaty of Rome.
Overlooking Europe as a potential source of tension is
somewhat remarkable, since the intelligence report predicted
possible conflict over access to energy resources. Europe's
growing dependence on imported energy
makes it one of the most likely candidates to full the prediction.