For this section’s reflection, I will focus on only few questions provided in the syllabus both due to space and time. In the EU report, three key trends: individual advancement and empowerment through education; dwindled global resources; and a greater sense of belonging to a global community are emphasized. In addition, topics such as widening of the middle class, advanced access to information and the internet are highlighted. Just like the NIC report, it also raises concerns about the global population, especially aging and migration. Other than these social and economic tendencies, the report also predicts greater shift of power from states, greater importance is attached to soft power while the global shift of power from the West is especially emphasized. The future world will possibly be one with many centers, including states and others. Of all the reports, the EU’s is the most ambitious one that sees a world connected by forces that are irresistible while individuals will be part of a single establishment sharing troubles and prospects as one. Isn’t this too soon to achieve? Is Europe (or other regions) prepared for the impacts this will cause? Will individuals of all classes, races and faiths have equal access to travel or migrate to better-off locations without control from host countries who might also be struggling hard to maintain their economic and social needs? The world is clearly divided between the “North” and “South” or “Developed” and “Developing/Least Developed” as vocabularies that clearly determine our relevance, self-reliance, capacity, and to a great extent, the values we hold. I don’t anticipate a dramatic sweep of changes taking place to break these barriers/categorizations in the next fifteen or so years. Most parts of Europe and the US or Canada will remain economically powerful while areas such as Africa, South and Southeast Asia continue with their “catch-up” processes whether socially or politico-economically. The report from Russia provides a single world possibility for the future- the “hierarchical polycentric” world . The report shows a situation where state importance is unmatched with any other actor be it individuals or organizations. Even though the report has urged for certain considerations or investments by Russia- to maintain or contain other rivals-, I don’t think it places enough emphasis on how issues of human rights, democracy, inclusiveness, or civil society empowerment are vital conditions for the stability of the world. The Russian view of the future is one of serious state stratification as the best potential for attaining and maintaining global peace. Will the educated and highly skilled population accept state domination in negative and degrading terms? Which values will be “forced” upon others? Will that mark the official beginning of a new form of colonization through values and not resources? Or it’s a continuation of imperial thoughts found in beliefs such as the modernization and dependency theories of development? NATO, like the US, provides four possible worlds for the future. Because of the mandate of the organization, the most important values it relates with are: security and peace . Trends such as the “dark-side of exclusivity” (inequality between people); “deceptive stability” (institutions and some states will be too weak to confront massive challenges their populations are faced with); “clash of modernities” (roles of network organizations) and “new powers” (which will lead to conflicts caused by state competition) are found in NATO’s report. However, unlike the celebration of individual empowerment (to an extent) in the EU and NIC reports, NATO sees individual empowerment with great suspicion, especially when people are capable of accomplishing certain skills and technology that could put entire populations at risk of organized and spontaneous violence. This is because of the organization’s business about the safety and security of citizens of its membership. Trends analyzed in the report are most similar to those of the NIC. It looks at resources, climatic conditions, the changing nature of demography and technological advancement, among others to be important drivers that will shape the future . But on the other hand, like the Russian report, NATO does not perceive individual, civil society and other actors to carry excessive influence over state behavior. Of all the reports analyzed, NATO has little hope for global peace. It is especially sensitive about stability in resource poor regions. It mostly sees western values to be the least compatible with other cultures- which is a great source of ideological conflict. Despite this, it shows more pragmatism than other reports, especially that of the EU. What are the selection biases of the EU, Russia, and NATO? The EU report predicts a single system that is characterized with a global interconnection of all humans because of shared concerns and challenges . Challenges that are once treated as domestic affairs, such as brutal human rights abuses of certain groups within the borders of a country, will no longer be seen as a business of a sovereign. The “responsibility to protect” or the moral expectation of acting in the interest of those groups will result to intervention either unanimously from other countries or through joint efforts with the UN. Despite these developments in the international system, coupled with challenges that are now seen more global than national/regional, aspirations, to me, will definitely not be as uniformed as the EU declared within two decades. Another bias found in the EU report is a methodological one. It has placed importance on its youth population, perhaps not for preferential consideration but gaining youth perspectives on factors that will shape the future is a practical way of knowing the needs of young people, the values that matter to them and how they will likely respond to the needs of the future world. According to the United Nations Population Fund, for the first time in history, there are almost two billion young people in the world today . Therefore, global policies are not only expected to be value ridden but to be youth friendly too. Today’s global young people are widely connected through the internet (albeit the digital divide mostly experienced in Africa and other weak regions), by discussing or sometimes demanding global leaders to consider youth voices, especially with regards to policies like the post-2015 development agenda. Twitter and Facebook campaigns and YouTube are among the vast opportunities accessible to today’s youth than generations earlier. This trend has a serious impact on our future values, whether they are universal or not, as they are increasingly questionable by the younger people whose needs, aspirations and dreams can be dreadfully different from the generations before. As Nguyen noted, this could have resulted to a more peaceful position of the EU report than that of the NIC. If the greater peaceful future outlook of the EU report is the one young people crave for, it will be interesting how global incidents and values might adjust or even change in the nearest future. In addition to the fact that the Russian report does not clearly describe its researchers, it also puts less importance to the power, charisma or ability of individuals and civil society movements as powerful contributors who can shape agenda or policies for global consideration. Out of the reports for this week’s discussion, the Russians are the least prepared to face a world where civil society can carry unprecedented influence that affects state behavior or the power arrangements that will dominate our future world. Despite these, it recognizes the effects of globalization as already inevitable. Also, it is interesting how the Russian report agrees that the United States will continue its role as a global leader but positioned Japan together with India, South Korea and others. On the other hand, Russia’s recognition of South Africa at the same level with Japan is more of a methodological bias (political favoritism) than temporal. In certain discussions about the rise of the BRIC(S), South Africa’s omission is not uncommon. Therefore, its rise to meet Japan’s position in global relevance in less than two decades will be a dramatic performance. I see the bottom countries as not only the resource poor countries found in Southeast Asia such as Lao or Cambodia or those in Africa, but it also includes those countries endowed with natural resources but have little opportunities of improving the social standards of their citizens (Nigeria being a glaring example of such). NATO focuses much on peace than any other value. This bias is because of the occupation of the organization and its concerns over security of its members. I share Nguyen’s concern about human security not to be determined by the location of an individual. True, the organization, is unlike the UN, which is tasked for the maintenance of global peace and security, but instability, fragility and riots in the developing world have potential spill-over effects (and they are very well noted by NATO), spread of terror groups and arms, and the disruption of global trade, especially countries that provide important raw resources for others. Despite these political and economic reasons, security of the human person, whether in Burma or Congo, has become a global responsibility- whether we act according to this value, is a subject of its own. NATO’s emphasis on its member states points that intervention will continue to be selective and driven by politico-economic interests than some of the values the great powers keenly hold. Despite little capability to halt this situation, increased suspicion and distrust about western powers will likely continue in some of the weak countries. And some of Africa’s dictators will use every opportunity to remind their citizens of such western limitations, thus reinforcing their own doctrine and philosophies as the most viable options for such constrained citizens. On the other hand, intervention of the West to protect or promote certain values in other countries is not always ethical, convincing or effective. Therefore, the need for intervention, or the morality defining it will depend on the situation at hand. Should other regions become too conscious with values that matter to them and provide little room for negotiation or penetration of outside ones, then our values will continue to be defined by regional or cultural orientation, no matter how some of them are somehow universally craved for. In addition, improvement in governance, transparency of governments and their institutions, increased respect for individual freedom and liberty, coupled with respect for fundamental human rights will inevitably improve lives in less developed nations. How might the non-Western world’s view of the future be different? Of course there are many possible futures that could emerge from Asia, Africa or Latin America. I assume that the content of those reports will share some strong sentiments about the status of global development, peace and security, population dynamics, resource inequality and democratization or governance that yields progressive results to an extent, among others. Indeed, Nguyen is provoking his students to be very thoughtful here but this question will require some tangible experiences and understanding of the political systems and economic realities of these locations, in addition to their vast cultural systems. From an African perspective, I will not give a concrete answer to this question but a look-back to the past could be a little helpful. In the past fifteen years, what incidents and subjects were of concern to the continent? How many countries democratized? How many have successfully reduced the burden of poverty, hunger and disease? Which economies have become self-reliant with little or no reliance on external aid? Is the AU prepared to divorce the continent from internal political and social crisis? Views such as globalization, the increased roles of non-state actors, the power of education and technology, inequality within and among nations, politics over resources, the prospects of employment for its vast youth population, decreased rate of conflict among states but the presence of lethal weapons at the possession of states and groups, etc. will likely constitute a report to be provided by the AU. In an imagined report of the AU, first, I assume, like the Russian report, states will feature as the most prominent entities of human creation. This scenario is based on my assumption that NGOs, multinational corporations and powerful individuals all contribute immensely in several ways for Africa’s development, but truth be told, these entities can push governments to do as they want but, power is still jealously guarded. Second, in a rather ironic sense, the rise of Africa and a more unified continent could be a possible world to be featured. Third, greater self-reliance, wiser utilization of natural resources, and pragmatism about domestic issues will be the possible futures to be portrayed. The reality of these situations also depends on the improvement of political performance, the synchronization of the different development agendas and integration of the different sub-regions. Could the future of the developing world be less conflict-ridden than predicted by NATO—might the economic rise of the rest, the decline of inter- and intra-state conflict, etc. preclude a call for Western intervention? A peaceful or otherwise future for the developing world does not entirely depend on economic growth or the rise of the others as often emphasized. Growth and stability of the economies of the rest will likely not close the poverty gap. Instability, especially those fueled by cultural and social factors will not entirely be fixed with successes attained from economic growth. In Africa, like anywhere else in the developing world, there are calls for greater and sustainable investments in quality and relevant education. This will open opportunities for trans-boundary interaction. Its young people will be linking and partnering with others, exchanging ideas and resources. The opportunities of outside encounter will likely increase people’s consciousness about state responsibilities and expectations. There will be increased demands for democratization, respect and protection of fundamental rights and minority protection. These progresses are indeed possible but the leadership of the continent has to face greater challenges of providing employment opportunities for its large youth population. There should be greater efforts to prepare and mitigate challenges caused by terror groups and the increasing threat to religious coexistence. In addition to the points mentioned above, the ability of states to manage resource driven conflicts such as those related to access to and control of arable land, mineral resources, water and oil will be important milestones to reach stability in certain regions/countries. I will now provide possible discussion questions to stimulate debate on Nguyen’s question. Will growth in Africa likely end the chaos in South Sudan or reduce the fragility of the state in Bissau or Nigeria? Will China continue its role as “speaker” of the “third world” even though it will be one of the most powerful economies of the future? Will it likely intervene to prevent genocide in a poor and ethnic divided country in Africa? Does it see itself ripe for such responsibility? Will China consider such a problem as a result of colonial legacy and therefore wait for past colonists to intervene? What values are important to China to be motivated to do such sacrifices? Will Nigeria, the “giant” of Africa take up bolder responsibilities and initiatives to lead the continent both politically and economically? What of those countries, usually described as weak, collapsed or failed? Who will lead them into stability? Will the people of Africa be contending with opportunities of economic growth than political liberty? How will performing countries such as Rwanda continue to strive for economic growth while its leader is somehow accused of “iron fist” ruling in the political backyard? What about Gambia, Bissau and Zimbabwe, some of the worst performing nations both politically and economically of the continent? As educated young people question the ethics, impartiality and sometimes the qualification of the west to manage African crisis, how will this affect intervention (both in terms of great need or in terms of moral or political ambition for the West)? Will Africa’s economic progress contain terror groups such as Boko Haram from expanding? Finally, will the AU become more assertive with action than rhetoric to lead the continent’s integration which might reduce vulnerability to instability? Answers to these questions, will provoke greater thinking about the possibility of stability in Africa. On a final note, I strongly believe that economic progress in the developing world will not likely guarantee stability without political liberalization. Greater citizen inclusion, accountability of leaders, improvement in the allocation of resources, guarantee of minority existence and rights, consideration of women’s advancement, provision of social safety nets for the extreme poor and aged, fair investment and or improvement of regime transition not through the loose concept of “free and fair elections” but through standardized elections are important factors to determine Africa’s future. If economic growth does not happen together with political reform and social advancement, growth might even lead to greater conflict. And without proper prevention and conflict management opportunities, the intervention of the West will continue to be a necessity and not a choice, especially in former colonies.