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World according to CIA ‘ambiguous’

What the world will be like in 2030 is the subject of this News Plus – facts followed by an interview with an analyst.

The American agency has had its people collecting intelligence, to put together in publishable form: its periodical ‘Global Trends’.

It says the time of population growth at a rate of a billion per decade is over. According to the Americans, the 6.8 billion people on the planet in 2010 will have reached 8.5 billion in 2030.

Demographic development points to a general ageing and to a fast-growing increase in migration.

The ten most populated countries are projected to be: India and China in first and second place, with the United States in third position, according to the CIA, and Russia in tenth.

‘2030 World’ will be ‘Megacity World’, with around 30 urban giants so big they will spread across national borders. Today’s land surface occupied by cities will triple.

In 2012, half the world’s population lived in cities. By 2030, expect 60 percent, which means five billion city-dwellers.

The CIA report predicts a reduced incidence of conflicts between states and within states (civil wars), but it sees a higher risk of conflict in countries where natural resources, water, land, are limited, and where populations are younger. The regions of the Middle Ease, Subsaharan Africa and Southeast Asia fall into this category.

China’s strength will have been confirmed by 2030. The CIA forecasts it surpassing the power of the United States and Europe combined, in terms of population, GDP, military spending and technological investment.

It’s not all over for the USA, according to the report. It says the US will be energy independent thanks to its production of oil and gas from shale, possibly becoming the world’s number one producer by 2020, surpassing Saudi Arabia, today’s leading energy producer; that would historically change the energy balance of power.

Sophie Desjardins, euronews:
“While John Kerry has taken up his post as the new Secretary of State and become the second most powerful man in the United States, what are the prospects for that job in 2030? What place will the Americans and the rest of the world occupy in the next two decades or so? We turn now to a report by the public branch of the CIA, the National Intelligence Council, that’s been attracting a lot of attention. It came out a few weeks ago, published every four years. It presents an array of scenarios for the future. To discuss that with us, we’re joined by Stephane Marchand, journalist, specialist in geopolitics and former joint editor of French newspaper le Figaro.

“Briefly Stephane, what do you think of this report?”

Stephane Marchand:
“This NIC report is based on a central question: how powerful will America be in 2030? The answer is slightly ambiguous. What the Americans know is that by that time they will no longer be the overarching superpower that they’ve been since 1945. However, they’re not too sure what international order is going to replace that, and so they are running scenarios, some of them optimistic and others very pessimistic.”

euronews:
“To put it simply, the scenarios are either regression, cooperation or disintegration. The authors give more weight to this last eventuality: a world out of balance, with greater risks of conflicts between countries. Is that going too far or is it realistic?”

Marchand:
“What’s certain is that, in the end, the Americans and all other countries as well will concentrate on Asia. Asia is in the process of achieving its emergence as a major zone of economic power. Will this emergence happen peacefully of not? If China feels stable and prosperous, feels reassured, then it will play a positive role. But if it is threatened in its economic development, if it does not manage to control its ageing, if it doesn’t manage to install a satisfactory social system and so becomes internally unstable, in that case Asia could be in danger, and if Asia is in danger, it will be bad for the world in 2030.

“But being the most powerful economy is not to say one is the most powerful country. From the military point of view, for example, the Chinese are very far from having the projection capacity of the American forces. Also, in terms of per person income, China is the equivalent of Rumania. So, it’s going to take a long time before China’s true power emerges, and it can compare itself to American power.”

euronews:
“This report is a very American view of the world, and one where the United States is seen as losing its top place, as you’ve said. What use is a report like this? Is it to warn American leaders, influence how they manage the country?”

Marchand:
“This kind of report is particularly useful for the people who read it for what it reveals between the lines. It reveals the Americans are worried. They know they’re going to be outdone economically, and they’re wondering ‘how can we keep some sort of grip on things’.”

euronews:
“The report also foresees a breaking up of the euro zone, or its weakest members getting expelled. What do you think?”

Marchand:
“What’s very interesting in this report is what it talks about very little, and that is: Africa and Europe. Clearly, for the Americans – and the Obama administration lately has shown this very well – Europe is not an important area for the Americans. Their diagnosis is that Europe won’t count on the geopolitical map. What’s more, its economic integration is under threat, as is the euro zone effectively. The hypothesis of the euro zone breaking up is raised several times in the report.”

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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