„Global Trends 2015” is the title of a CIA report , prepared jointly with independent research institutions. This report became public in 2000 in its concise variant of 37 pages and contained forecasts about the world’s development by 2015 . Today we are away of the year referred in the report and this is a formal reason to compare the forecasts to reality.
For those who are connoisseurs of the trends and other works on this topic, it is not surprising the report is focusing on such threats as terrorism, biological weapons, computer-related crime etc.
The report features estimates, which at some places really give an apocalyptic character of the visions as political analysts in Western Europe assessed it at this time.
The conclusions of the study — although leaving the feeling to aim at conveying the trends in the efforts of the new USA government and the need to allocate more financial resources in certain areas, first of all for intelligence and security — are of interest, because they refer to such global topics as the scarcity of raw materials, the spread of diseases, the overpopulation in some parts of the world as well as the development of countries of global influence and the anticipated conflicts in some regions. Unfortunately, the report also fuels certain fears in the countries of the European Union and is in some moments rather vulnerable to counter-arguments.
Contrary to the optimistic forecasts for the development of the Balkans, which are rife at this moment in the public space due to the partial upsurge of the economy and the increased investor interest for the country, Bulgaria is stated as having problems as a country of decreasing and ageing population, emigrating to Western Europe. The negative results in this regards as of today are developing and they are multiplying negative demographic trends.
According to the report, the countries credibility in the world by 2015 will start to wane and „nonstate actors” will struggle for power. In the first place are listed terrorist groupings, operating worldwide with the most advanced technical equipment. That means the world will be faced with a symbiosis of both classical and new threats: offensive desertification, climate changes, mass displacements, infections, fight for water, energy and raw materials.
The larger countries we know from the 20th century will become the major forces in the world, but their influence will be marginalized.
USA will continue to be a global power of strong economy and a country with the most powerful army. Experts think however that the USA will become more vulnerable. Confidence in the unlimited possibilities of the economic growth will disappear. Terrorist attacks will become more frequent even on the American territory and not only targeted at American sites abroad as it is now.
India will be a leader in development of the information technologies, but will not be able to overcome the dangerously huge gap between poor and rich.
Japan will face the challenge to strengthen its robust economic growth by internal structural reforms, but it will fail to do so.
China will not succeed to open up its social system to the world as it has opened in the economic sphere, markets and in other fields.
In the Middle East political fronts look like going to harden. «Demographic factors, social unrest, religious and ideological extremism and terrorism” will paralyze the development in the region. In the best case a „cold peace” could be expected to establish. Today more and more authors are speaking of return to the „cold war”.
Russia will continue to decline. Its claims for global influence will be in contrast with the possibilities of the authoritarian political structures and the economic crisis.
Europe will be recognized as a sound economic space. The political significance of the transatlantic cooperation will decrease.
The threats and dangerous scenarios the world would face in 2015 according to the report are as FOLLOWS:
Global terrorism: international criminal organizations, which are better armed and organized than the state intelligence services, are actively dealing with weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical warfare agents of conventional application and are using them as means of pressure.
Terrorists are being trained in camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan and Libya. Actions or religious and ethnically motivated fanatics are mostly directed to the USA, but also to Japan and Western Europe as well as to countries in Africa.
The trade of nuclear technologies according to the CIA report is spinning out of control. Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Pakistan and India buy such technologies from Russia and China.
The biggest danger according to the American experts comes from countries, where radical Islamism is combined with maximum wealth, mainly due to deposits of oil and narcotics trafficking. Islamic State is not named in this report, but its profile is outlined.
According to CIA estimates, enormous financial resources will be in circulation, resulting from criminal activity: between $100 and 300 billion from narcotics trafficking; $10-12 billion from toxic wastes trade; over $500 billion from corruption.
Mass displacement and population growth: Refugee flows move from Latin America and South-Eastern Asia to North America and from North Africa, the Middle East and Central and South-Eastern Europe to Western Europe. This forecast is especially relevant for the actual reality both in the European Union and at the external borders of it.
The world’s population will be 7.2 billion people (in 2000 it was 6.1 billion). In India, the population’s growth will be explosive — from 900 million in 2000 to 1.2 billion in 2015. The expectations are similar for Pakistan, the countries of South-Eastern Asia and China.
In Africa, the growth of population will decrease, because of the spread of AIDS and of the under nutrition. Ebola virus is not mentioned, but it was expected.
Russia and the post-communist countries in Europe will also have declining population. In Russia, for instance, this will be from 146 to 130 billion people. This estimate may prove not to be true.
Ageing of population is likely in Western Europe, USA and Japan.
Famine, water and energy scarcities: In Central Africa, the number of people suffering from under nutrition will increase by 20%. More than half the population of the Earth live in countries of water scarcity.
Ethnical conflicts: Instead of major interstate wars that were characteristic for the 20th century, regional wars and conflicts are anticipated. Conflicts that would be less predictable and less manageable. Countries considered as particularly dangerous are those having powerful Muslim minorities: Russia, Indonesia, India and Kashmir, China and the Balkans.
Infections: The gap between developed and developing countries will widen. On the one hand, biotechnologies promise great progress in medicine. At the same time, however, there will be dramatic stages of helplessness – bacteria will become resistant to antibiotics, viruses will mutate, mass displacements will bring mortal infections, while tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis and AIDS will spread even more.
Some CONCLUSIONS could be made of the foregoing, without pretending to be exhaustive, but just as a humble attempt to juxtapose the forecasts in the report to the reality from a today’s perspective.
1.Forecasts made are objective and not influenced by conjunctural considerations. They are supporting the government and the president of the USA.
2.The content of the report outlines the trends in the development of the major factors of the global policy and it is therefore contributing to determine the policy and its implementation at global and regional scale.
3.Most of what was written in this report finds its confirmation — a fact that rates high the organisations and specialists who have prepared it.
1.Central Intelligence Agency: https://www.cia.gov/.
2.Nikolov, S. CIA Report about the hazards by 2015, 2001.