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Arms Control: An Uncertain Agenda

The last three decades witnessed significant negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union (and Russia), but the future probably will not replicate those efforts in form or magnitude.

* The INF, CFE, and START I treaties and, to a large extent, the CWC were concluded in an effort to reduce tensions during the Cold War. Verification and monitoring in each of these treaties were viewed as essential to their implementation.

Prospects for bilateral arms control between the major powers probably will be dim over the next 15 years; progress in multilateral regimes—with less intrusive and lower-certainty monitoring—probably will grow sporadically. Beyond this generalization:

* Efforts will be incremental, focusing mainly on extensions, modifications or adaptations of existing treaties, such as START III between the United States and Russia or a protocol enhancing verification of the Biological Weapons Convention.
* Efforts will assume a more regional focus as countries of concern continue developing their own WMD arsenals.
* Safeguarding and controlling transfer of materials and technology for nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems will take on greater importance.
* Formal agreements probably will contain limited monitoring or verification provisions.
* Agreements are more likely to be asymmetrical in terms of the goals and outcomes. For example, a form of barter may become the norm. Sides will negotiate dissimilar commitments in reaching agreement. An example would be North Korea's willingness to give up nuclear weapons and missiles in return for electric power and space launch services.

Major Regions

The following snapshots of individual regions result from our assessment of trends and from estimates by regional experts as to where specific nations will be in 15 years. To make these judgments, we have distilled the views expressed by many outside experts in our conferences and workshops. The results are intended to stimulate debate, not to endorse one view over another.

Political Rights in East and Southeast Asia

East and Southeast Asia
Regional Trends. East Asia over the next 15 years will be characterized by uneven economic dynamism—both between and within states—political and national assertiveness rather than ideology, and potential for strategic tension if not outright conflict.

The states of the region will be led by generally nationalistic governments eschewing ideology and focusing on nation-building and development. These states will broadly accommodate international norms on the free flow of information to modernize their economies, open markets, and fight international crime and disease. They also will encounter pressure for greater political pluralism, democracy, and respect for human rights. Failure to meet popular expectations probably will result in leaders being voted out of office in democratic states or in widespread demonstrations and violence leading to regime collapse in authoritarian states.

Political and Security Trends. The major power realignments and the more fluid post-Cold War security environment in the region will raise serious questions about how regional leaders will handle nascent great-power rivalries (the US-China, China-Japan, China-India), related regional "hot spots" (Taiwan, Korea, South China Sea), the future of challenged political regimes (Indonesia, North Korea absent unification, China), and communal tensions and minority issues (in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia). On balance, the number and range of rivalries and potential flashpoints suggest a better-than-even chance that episodes of military confrontation and conflict will erupt over the next 15 years.

The implications of the rise of China as an economic and increasingly capable regional military power—even as the influence of Communism and authoritarianism weakens—pose the greatest uncertainty in the area. Adding to uncertainty are the prospects for—and implications of—Korean unification over the next 15 years, and the evolution of Japan's regional leadership aspirations and capabilities.

Instability in Russia and Central Asia, and the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan will be peripheral but still important in East Asian security calculations. The Middle East will become increasingly important as a primary source of energy.

Economic Dynamism. While governments in the region generally will accept the need to accommodate international norms on ownership, markets, trade, and investment, they will seek to block or slow the perceived adverse economic, political, and social consequences of globalization.

The most likely economic outlook will be that rich societies—Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and pockets in China and elsewhere—will get richer, with Japan likely to continue to be a leader in S&T development and applications for commercial use. In contrast, the poor societies—Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and rural areas in western China and elsewhere—will fall further behind. Greater economic links are likely to have been forged between Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South China as a result of the development of investment and infrastructure. China will be increasingly integrated into the world economy through foreign direct investiment, trade, and international capital markets. Energy markets will have drawn the region more closely together despite lingering issues of ownership of resources and territorial disputes.

Key uncertainties will persist on economic performance and political stability, including the rising costs of pensions and services for Japan's aging population; the adequacy of energy and water for China, political leadership in Indonesia and China, and the impact of AIDS in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Regional Interaction. Given the weakness of regional political-security arrangements, the US political, economic, and security presence will remain pronounced. At the same time, many countries in the region will remain uncertain about US objectives, apprehensive of both US withdrawal and US unilateralism. Key states, most significantly China and Japan, will continue "hedging," by using diplomacy, military preparations and other means to ensure that their particular interests will be safeguarded, especially in case the regional situation deteriorates.

Japan and others will seek to maintain a US presence, in part to counter China's influence. Economic and other ties will bind Japan and China, but historical, territorial, and strategic differences will underline continuing wariness between the two. China will want good economic ties to the United States but also will nurture links to Russia and others to counter the possibility of US pressure against it and to weaken US support for Taiwan and the US security posture in East Asia. US-China confrontations over Taiwan or over broader competing security interests are possible.

Although preserving the US alliance, Japanese leaders also will be less certain they can rely on the United States to deal with some security contingencies. More confident of their ability to handle security issues independently, they will pursue initiatives internally and overseas that are designed to safeguard Japanese interests without direct reference to the US alliance.

South Asia
Regional Trends. The widening strategic and economic gaps between the two principal powers, India and Pakistan—and the dynamic interplay between their mutual hostility and the instability in Central Asia—will define the South Asia region in 2015.

* India will be the unrivaled regional power with a large military—including naval and nuclear capabilities—and a dynamic and growing economy. The widening India-Pakistan gap—destabilizing in its own right—will be accompanied by deep political, economic, and social disparities within both states.
* Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and dependent on international financial assistance.
* Other South Asian states—Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal—will be drawn closer to and more dependent on India and its economy. Afghanistan will likely remain weak and a destabilizing force in the region and the world.

Wary of China, India will look increasingly to the West, but its need for oil and desire to balance Arab ties to Pakistan will lead to strengthened ties to Persian Gulf states as well.

Demographic Challenges. Although population growth rates in South Asia will decline, population still will grow by nearly 30 percent by 2015. India's population alone will grow to more than 1.2 billion. Pakistan's projected growth from 140 million to about 195 million in 2015 will put a major strain on an economy already unable to meet the basic needs of the current population. The percentage of urban dwellers will climb steadily from the current 25-30 percent of the population to between 40-50 percent, leading to continued deterioration in the overall quality of urban life. Differential population growth patterns will exacerbate inequalities in wealth. Ties between provincial and central governments throughout the region will be strained.

Jammu and Kashmir: Ethnic Mix of a Disputed State

Resource and Environmental Challenges. Water will remain South Asia's most vital and most contested natural resource. Continued population and economic growth and expansion of irrigated agriculture over the next 15 years will increasingly stress water resources, and pollution of surface and groundwater will be a serious challenge. In India, per capita water availability is likely to drop by 50-75 percent. Because many of the region's waterways are interstate, water could become a source of renewed friction. Deforestation in India and Nepal will exacerbate pollution, flooding, and land degradation in Bangladesh.

India in 2015. Indian democracy will remain strong, albeit more factionalized by the secular-Hindu nationalist debate, growing differentials among regions and the increase in competitive party politics. India's economy, long repressed by the heavy hand of regulation, is likely to achieve sustained growth to the degree reforms are implemented. High-technology companies will be the most dynamic agents and will lead the thriving service sector in four key urban centers—Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Computer software services and customized applications will continue to expand as India strengthens economic ties to key international markets. Industries such as pharmaceuticals and agro-processing also will compete globally. Numerous factors provide India a competitive advantage in the global economy. It has the largest English-speaking population in the developing world; its education system produces millions of scientific and technical personnel. India has a growing business-minded middle class eager to strengthen ties to the outside world, and the large Indian expatriate population provides strong links to key markets around the world.

Despite rapid economic growth, more than half a billion Indians will remain in dire poverty. Harnessing technology to improve agriculture will be India's main challenge in alleviating poverty in 2015. The widening gulf between "have" and "have-not" regions and disagreements over the pace and nature of reforms will be a source of domestic strife. Rapidly growing, poorer northern states will continue to drain resources in subsidies and social welfare benefits.

Pakistan in 2015. Pakistan, our conferees concluded, will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military—once Pakistan's most capable institution. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.

Other Regional States. Prospects for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in 2015 appear bleak. Decades of foreign domination and civil war have devastated Afghanistan's society and economy, and the country is likely to remain internationally isolated, a major narcotics exporter, and a haven for Islamic radicals and terrorist groups. Bangladesh will not abandon democracy but will be characterized by coalitions or weak one-party governments, fragile institutions of governance, deep-seated leadership squabbles, and no notion of a loyal opposition.

Security and Political Concerns Predominate. The threat of major conflict between India and Pakistan will overshadow all other regional issues during the next 15 years. Continued turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent, prompting Indian leaders to take more aggressive preemptive and retaliatory actions. India's conventional military advantage over Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi's superior economic position. India will also continue to build up its ocean-going navy to dominate the Indian Ocean transit routes used for delivery of Persian Gulf oil to Asia. The decisive shift in conventional military power in India's favor over the coming years potentially will make the region more volatile and unstable. Both India and Pakistan will see weapons of mass destruction as a strategic imperative and will continue to amass nuclear warheads and build a variety of missile delivery systems.

Projected Demographic Trends in Eurasia

Russia and Eurasia
Regional Trends. Uncertainties abound about the future internal configuration, geopolitical dynamics, and degree of turbulence within and among former Soviet states. Russia and the other states of Eurasia are likely to fall short in resolving critical impediments to economic and political reform in their struggle to manage the negative legacies of the Soviet period. Changing demographics, chronic economic difficulties, and continued questions about governance will constrain Russia's ability to project its power beyond the former Soviet republics to the south, complicate Ukraine's efforts to draw closer to the West, and retard the development of stable, open political structures throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia. Those states that could make progress on the basis of potential energy revenues are likely to fail because of corruption and the absence of structural economic reform. The rapid pace of scientific and technological innovation, as well as globalization, will leave these states further behind the West as well as behind the major emerging markets.

The economic challenges to these countries will remain daunting: insufficient structural reform, poor productivity in agriculture as compared with Western standards, decaying infrastructure and environmental degradation. Corruption and organized crime, sustained by drug trafficking, money laundering, and other illegal enterprises and, in several instances, protected by corrupt political allies, will persist.

Demographic pressures also will affect the economic performance and political cohesiveness of these states. Because of low birthrates and falling life expectancy among males, the populations of the Slavic core and much of the Caucasus will continue to decline; Russian experts predict that the country's population could fall from 146 million at present to 130-135 million by 2015. At the other end of the spectrum, the Central Asian countries will face a growing youth cohort that will peak around 2010 before resuming a more gradual pattern of population growth.

The centrality of Russia will continue to diminish, and by 2015 "Eurasia" will be a geographic term lacking a unifying political, economic, and cultural reality. Russia and the western Eurasian States will continue to orient themselves toward Europe but will remain essentially outside of it. Because of geographic proximity and cultural affinities, the Caucasus will be closer politically to their neighbors to the south and west, with Central Asia drawing closer to South Asia and China. Nonetheless, important interdependencies will remain, primarily in the energy sphere.

Russia will remain the most important actor in the former Soviet Union. Its power relative to others in the region and neighboring areas will have declined, however, and it will continue to lack the resources to impose its will.

The Soviet economic inheritance will continue to plague Russia. Besides a crumbling physical infrastructure, years of environmental neglect are taking a toll on the population, a toll made worse by such societal costs of transition as alcoholism, cardiac diseases, drugs, and a worsening health delivery system. Russia's population is not only getting smaller, but it is becoming less and less healthy and thus less able to serve as an engine of economic recovery. In macro economic terms Russia's GDP probably has bottomed out. Russia, nevertheless, is still likely to fall short in its efforts to become fully integrated into the global financial and trading system by 2015. Even under a best case scenario of five percent annual economic growth, Russia would attain an economy less than one-fifth the size of that of the United States.

Many Russian futures are possible, ranging from political resurgence to dissolution. The general drift, however, is toward authoritarianism, although not to the extreme extent of the Soviet period. The factors favoring this course are President Putin's own bent toward hierarchical rule from Moscow; the population's general support of this course as an antidote to the messiness and societal disruption of the post-Soviet transition; the ability of the ruling elite to hold on to power because of the lack of effective national opposition, thus making that elite accountable only to itself; and the ongoing shift of tax resources from the regions to the center. This centralizing tendency will contribute to dysfunctional governance. Effective governance is nearly impossible under such centralization for a country as large and diverse as Russia and lacking well-ordered, disciplined national bureaucracies. Recentralization, however, will be constrained by the interconnectedness brought about by the global information revolution, and by the gradual, although uneven, growth of civil society.

Russia will focus its foreign policy goals on reestablishing lost influence in the former Soviet republics to the south, fostering ties to Europe and Asia, and presenting itself as a significant player vis-a-vis the United States. Its energy resources will be an important lever for these endeavors. However, its domestic ills will frustrate its efforts to reclaim its great power status. Russia will maintain the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world as the last vestige of its old status. The net outcome of these trends will be a Russia that remains internally weak and institutionally linked to the international system primarily through its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Ukraine's path to the West will be constrained by widespread corruption, the power of criminal organizations, and lingering questions over its commitment to the rule of law. Kiev will remain vulnerable to Russian pressures, primarily because of its continued energy dependence, but Ukrainians of all political stripes and likely to opt for independence rather than reintegration into Russia's sphere of influence.

In 2015, the South Caucasus will remain in flux because of unresolved local conflicts, weak economic fundamentals, and continued Russian meddling. Georgia probably will have achieved a measure of political and economic stability, fueled in part by energy transit revenues, but it will remain the focus of Russian attention in the region. Armenia will remain largely isolated and is likely to remain a Russian—or possibly Iranian—client and, therefore, a regional wild card. Azerbaijan's success in developing its energy sector is unlikely to bring widespread prosperity: Baku will be a one-sector economy with pervasive corruption at all levels of society.

In Central Asia, social, environmental, religious, and possibly ethnic strains will grow. Wasteful water-intensive practices and pollution of ground water and arable land will lead to continued shortages for agricultural and energy generation. The high birthrates of the 1980s and early 1990s will lead to strains on education, healthcare, and social services. The region also is likely to be the scene of increased competition among surrounding powers—Russia, China, India, Iran, and possibly Turkey—for control, influence, and access to energy resources. Developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan will threaten regional stability.
Growth in Population From 2000 to 2015

------- The Middle East and North Africa
Regimes in the region—from Morocco to Iran—will have to cope with demographic, economic and societal pressures from within and globalization from without. No single ideology or philosophy will unite any one state or group of states in response to these challenges, although popular resentment of globalization as a Western intrusion will be widespread. Political Islam in various forms will be an attractive alternative for millions of Muslims throughout the region, and some radical variants will continue to be divisive social and political forces.

By 2015, Israel will have attained a cold peace with its neighbors, with only limited social, economic, and cultural ties. There will be a Palestinian state, but Israeli-Palestinian tensions will persist and occasionally erupt into crises. Old rivalries among core states—Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran—will reemerge. International attention will shift anew to the Persian Gulf, an increasingly important source of energy resources to fuel the global economy, and oil revenues anticipated for Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in particular will provide strategic—and potentially destabilizing—options for those states. New relationships between geographic regions could emerge between North Africa and Europe (on trade); India, China and the Persian Gulf (on energy); and Israel, Turkey, and India (on economic, technical, and in the case of Turkey, security considerations).

A key driver for the Middle East over the next 15 years will be demographic pressures, specifically how to provide jobs, housing, public services, and subsidies for rapidly growing and increasingly urban populations. By 2015, in much of the Middle East populations will be significantly larger, poorer, more urban, and more disillusioned. In nearly all Middle Eastern countries, more than half the population is now under 20 years of age. These populations will continue to have very large youth cohorts through 2015, with the labor force growing at an average rate of 3.1 percent per year. The problem of job placement is compounded by weak educational systems producing a generation lacking the technical and problem-solving skills required for economic growth.

Globalization. With the exception of Israel, Middle Eastern states will view globalization more as a challenge than an opportunity. Although the Internet will remain confined to a small elite due to relatively high cost, undeveloped infrastructures, and cultural obstacles, the information revolution and other technological advances probably will have a net destabilizing effect on the Middle East by raising expectations, increasing income disparities, and eroding the power of regimes to control information or mold popular opinion. Attracting foreign direct investment will also be difficult: except for the energy sector, investors will tend to shy away from these countries, discouraged by overbearing state sectors; heavy, opaque, and arbitrary government regulation; underdeveloped financial sectors; inadequate physical infrastructure; and the threat of political instability.

Political Change. Most Middle Eastern governments recognize the need for economic restructuring and even a modicum of greater political participation, but they will proceed cautiously, fearful of undermining their rule. As some governments or sectors embrace the new economy and civil society while others cling to more traditional paradigms, inequities between and within states will grow. Islamists could come to power in states that are beginning to become pluralist and in which entrenched secular elites have lost their appeal.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Regional Trends. The interplay of demographics and disease—as well as poor governance—will be the major determinants of Africa's increasing international marginalization in 2015. Most African states will miss out on the economic growth engendered elsewhere by globalization and by scientific and technological advances. Only a few countries will do better, while a handful of states will have hardly any relevance to the lives of their citizens. As Sub-Saharan Africa's multiple and interconnected problems are compounded, ethnic and communal tensions will intensify, periodically escalating into open conflict, often spreading across borders and sometimes spawning secessionist states.

Current HIV Prevalence Rates

In the absence of a major medical breakthrough, the relentless progression of AIDS and other diseases will decimate the economically productive adult population, sharply accentuate the continent's youth bulge, and generate a huge cohort of orphaned children. This condition will strain the ability of the extended family system to cope and will contribute to higher levels of dissatisfaction, crime, and political volatility.

Poverty and poor governance will further deplete natural resources and drive rapid urbanization. As impoverished people flee unproductive rural areas, many cities will double in population by 2015, but resources will be inadequate to provide the needed expansion of water systems, sewers, and health facilities. Cities will be sources of crime and instability as ethnic and religious differences exacerbate the competition for ever scarcer jobs and resources. The number of malnourished people will increase by more than 20 percent and the potential for famine will persist where the combination of internal conflict and recurring natural disasters prevents or limits relief efforts.

Economic Prospects. Conditions for economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa are limited by the persistence of conflicts, poor political leadership and endemic corruption, and uncertain weather conditions. Africa's most talented individuals will shun the public sector or be lured abroad by greater income and security. Effective and conscientious leaders are unlikely to emerge from undemocratic and corrupt societies.

* Most technological advances in the next 15 years—with the possible exception of genetically modified crops—will not have substantial positive impact on the African economies.
* Although West Africa will play an increasing role in global energy markets, providing 25 percent of North American oil imports in 2015, the pattern of oil wealth fostering corruption rather than economic development will continue.

There will be exceptions to this bleak overall outlook. The quality of governance, rather than resource endowments, will be the key determinant of development and differentiation among African states.

South Africa and Nigeria, the continent's largest economies, will remain the dominant powers in the region through 2015. But their ability to function as economic locomotives and stabilizers in their regions will be constrained by large unmet domestic demands for resources to stimulate employment, growth, and social services, including dealing with AIDS. Even a robust South Africa will not exert a strong pull on its partners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The success of the South African economy will be more closely tied to its relationship with the larger global economy than with Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethnic, political, and religious conflicts

Role of Nonstate Actors. The atrophy of special relationships between European powers and their former colonies in Africa will be virtually complete by 2015. Filling the void will be international organizations and nonstate actors of all types: transnational religious institutions; international nonprofit organizations, international crime syndicates and drug traffickers; foreign mercenaries; and international terrorists seeking safehavens.

* Fundamentalist movements, especially proselytizing Islamic groups, will plow fertile ground as Africans seek alternative ways to meet their basic needs.
* Internal conflicts will attract—and leaders will in some cases welcome —foreign criminal organizations or mercenaries to assist in the plundering of national assets, while faltering regimes will willingly trade their sovereignty for cash.

International organizations will be heavily engaged in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 15 years, given its growing needs and slow growth relative to other regions. Africa will continue to receive more development assistance per capita than other regions of the world.

* The international financial institutions will be a continuing presence in Africa, as many donor countries funnel development assistance through them.
* The perpetuation of poor governance and communal conflicts in a region awash with guns will generate frequent natural and man-made humanitarian crises, precipitating international humanitarian relief efforts.
* The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the SADC will be the primary economic and political instruments through which the continental powers, Nigeria and South Africa, exert their leadership.



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