Lefty types have been predicting the demise of America for the last century, but in 2008 even the most conservative elements of the US government are predicting it too. Every four years, the US National Intelligence Council issues a future-looking report about global trends, and this year one of those trends is the decline of American power in the world. The National Intelligence Council coordinates research at all US intelligence agencies, and the newly-released report is called "Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed." When the quarter-century rolls around, this report predicts, the power of Western-style democracy may have declined. The outcome of this shift is murky, but one thing seems clear. Governments will be playing a greater role in steering economies. Says the report:
No single outcome seems preordained: the Western model of economic liberalism, democracy and secularism, for example, which many assumed to be inevitable, may lose its lustre – at least in the medium term . . . Today wealth is moving not just from West to East but is concentrating more under state control [in China and Russia for example] . . . In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the state's role in the economy may be gaining more appeal throughout the world.
More fascinating, the report predicts "the multiplicity of influential actors and distrust of vast power means less room for the US to call the shots without the support of strong partnerships." You read that right. US intelligence agencies are suggesting the US can't "call the shots" without help from other nations. The report also includes a science fictional moment: A letter written by an imaginary president in 2020, after global warming has whipped up a mega-hurricane in Manhattan. The president compares the scene to World War II newsreels, with the European devastation of that era transplanted to New York City. Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed [PDF] (via the UK Guardian)