Publications

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A new Atlantic Council–Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report lays out six scenarios for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2030, underscoring how greater integration and better governance hold the key to greater prosperity.

The report finds that if the region and world move ahead as expected, 57 million more Latin Americans and Caribbean citizens will join the middle class over the fourteen-year period. Annual regional GDP growth will be 2.4 percent, slightly outperforming the US rate of 2.2 percent. But the region will face significant challenges ranging from income inequality to its demography and the impact of climate change. 

 
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It might be true that history does not repeat itself, but it can provide examples of what to do and what does not work. In the spirit of the adage that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” History’s Lessons for Resolving Today’s Middle East Conflicts, by Mathew J. Burrows, examines past precedents for resolving highly complex conflicts, by delving into seven historic examples of peacemaking. Each conflict is different, but there are common patterns for resolving them. Based on our study of historical precedents, we list seven key requirements for success based on outcomes in these examples and have highlighted several of the precedents of special relevance to the situation today in the Middle East.

 
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We are entering a period in which the West’s postwar social welfare system is under growing threat as the global demographic structure is being turned upside down. And it is not just the West, but also China and other middle-income powers who will have to deal with an aging workforce and unsustainable health and pension costs in the next decade. For sub-Saharan African countries whose birthrates remain high, overpopulation carries big costs not only for them, but for the rest of the world, which will depend on them for a growing proportion of the world’s workforce.

In Reducing the Risks from Rapid Demographic Change, Dr. Mathew Burrows explores how longer life expectancies, aging workforces, and high birthrates will affect the future economic growth and development of countries around the world. Using a forecasting model developed by the University of Denver’s Pardee Center for International Futures, this report looks at different future scenarios, and investigates how medical advancements, migration, and unanticipated drops in fertility rates might affect current demographic trends.

 
The report concludes by recommending political and economic measures that can make a critical difference in whether we end up collectively poorer and more unstable, or able to fully enjoy the benefits of growing longevity. It is clear that managing demographic risk will be critical to every country’s future. Not making the right choices now can lessen economic potential for decades. There will be few second chances.

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While numerous American public, private, philanthropic, scientific, and academic organizations are addressing water challenges the world over, there is no explicit strategy binding their diverse activities together into a coherent whole. This is an unfortunate situation, as the United States has considerable strengths, expertise and influence in the water space.

 
Innovation will be a crucial requirement for US leadership and national security in the twenty-first century. The United States faces an era of global competition across all elements of national power. In the economic arena, American domination has necessarily been comparatively receding as the world continues to develop. Militarily, challenges have expanded geographically and qualitatively as multi-polarity and diffusion of power increases the number of capable state and nonstate actors. Diplomacy has become more complex as information capabilities are available throughout the world, populaces are more engaged, and there are strong ideological challenges to the Western, liberal rules-based model. The United States is still the most powerful nation, but maintaining successful leadership and strong national security will require the United States to build on and enhance its existing strengths. A crucial element of that requirement will be the capacity to innovate regularly and effectively. Innovation will be a prerequisite to leadership across all elements of national power.


 


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Climate Change and US National Security is the latest report from Strategic Foresight Initiative Senior Fellow Dr. Peter Engelke and Scowcroft Center Deputy Director Dr. Daniel Y. Chiu. It is a part of the Transatlantic Partnership for the Global Future, an initiative that brings together experts from government, business, academia, and the science and technology communities to address critical global challenges and assess their effects on the future of transatlantic relations. The Partnership is a collaboration between the Strategic Foresight Initiative and the Government of Sweden.

 

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Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal is a joint study by the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). Work on this joint assessment of global trends began before the onset of the recent crisis in US-Russian relations, but is more relevant than ever today as we seek to avoid a greater conflict and achieve a new normal of cooperation between Russia and the West. In keeping with previous forecasting works published by the Atlantic Council and the IMEMO, the study examines current trends and potential scenarios for global developments over the next twenty years.
In the latest FutureScape issue brief from the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security's Strategic Foresight Initiative, author Peter Engelke discusses the long-term economic, environmental, and policy implications of urbanization. Entitled "Foreign Policy for an Urban World: Global Governance and the Rise of Cities," the brief examines how urbanization is hastening the global diffusion of power and how cities themselves are increasingly important nodes of power in global politics.

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It is impossible to predict what the accelerating pace of change in technology will lead to in the next twenty years. However, one can already foresee some potential geopolitical and societal impacts building on current technological developments, such as faster computers, wider and more advanced use of 3D and 4D printing, ubiquitous robotics, enhanced mobile computing with the individual at the center, widespread use of virtual and augmented reality, and creation of new designer organisms with biological building blocks. In this report, writer and independent consultant Banning Garrett lays out how these technologies are combining to create new, disruptive breakthroughs with potentially unforeseen second- and third-order effects that will alter the way we live forever.


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Places like Singapore, Boston, Bangalore, Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, and others are known as leaders in innovation, but when it comes to building the knowledge economy, the Gulf has become one of the most ambitious regions in the world.


    

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