"Mapping the Global Future is the third unclassified report prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the past seven years that takes a long-term view of the future. The National Intelligence Council, as a center of strategic thinking and over-the-horizon analysis for the US Government, takes this as one of its key challenges."
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.
The likely emergence of China and India, as well as others, as new major global players -- similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century -- will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries.
The world economy is likely to continue growing impressively: by 2020, it is projected to be about 80 percent larger than it was in 2000, and average per capita income will be roughly 50 percent higher.
The so-called "third wave" of democratization may be partially reversed by 2020 -- particularly among the states of the former Soviet Union and in Southeast Asia, some of which never really embraced democracy.
The likelihood of great power conflict escalating into total war in the next 15 years is lower than at any time in the past century, unlike during previous centuries when local conflicts sparked world wars.
We expect that by 2020 al-Qaida will be superceded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups.
Mapping the Global Future