The National Intelligence Council’s four-yearly report to the incoming President is worth noting this time around because it appears to represent such a sharp shift in world view in such a short time. Suddenly, the “official” view of the world projected by the NIC, which fronts for America’s multiplicity of intelligence agencies, is projecting a world of energy scarcity and resource shortages along with challenges to America’s global leadership. Such a sharp shift, in fact, that it makes you wonder if there’s a different “Phoenix” version which would have been pulled out of the drawer had McCain won the election.
I’ve not had much time to blog recently, but I wanted to mention the article I had published recently in the Journal of Futures Studies on the Three Horizons method (“Seeing in Multiple Horizons: Connecting Futures to Strategy” [opens pdf], August 2008, co-written with Tony Hodgson of Decision Integrity). The three horizons method connects possible futures back to the present, and by doing so helps to structure ideas about likely rates of change and the types of conflict which may occur.
I’ve just come back from a big fireworks display in my local park. When I was a child displays like this were almost unknown, and even twenty years ago they were uncommon. Yet now it seems – quite apart from November 5th and thereabouts – that pretty much any evening event outdoors is incomplete without some fireworks laid on. It led me to thinking about the complex confluence of trends which had created this social shift.
In summary, he argues that election day represents a unique conjunction of the end of three long-run cycles: economic, political, and generational.