Skip navigation
The Australian National University

US Global Trends report examines global paradoxes

Gareth Evans, Greg Treverton, Brian Scmidt, Rory Medcalf

Gareth Evans, Greg Treverton, Brian Schmidt and Rory Medcalf (Photo: Stuart Hay)

The College is pleased to have contributed to the latest edition of the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report: Paradox of Progress

The sixth Global Trends report examines how trends will converge at an unprecedented pace to make governing and cooperation harder, as well as to change the nature of power — fundamentally altering the global landscape. Economic, technological and security trends, especially, will expand the number of states, organisations, and individuals able to act in consequential ways.

The report concludes that within states political order will remain elusive and tensions high until societies and governments renegotiate their expectations of one another. Between states, the post-Cold War, unipolar moment has passed and the post-1945 rules based international order may be fading too.

Some major powers and regional aggressors will seek to assert interests through force but will find results fleeting as they discover traditional, material forms of power less able to secure and sustain outcomes in a context of proliferating veto players. Worryingly for Australia, the report predicts that East and Southeast Asia will remain center stage for both economic cooperation and geopolitical competition in the near future.

The paradox of progress means that the achievements of the industrial and information ages are shaping a world to come that is both more dangerous and richer with opportunity than ever before.

To produce the report, the US National Intelligence Council consulted with over 2,500 people in more than 35 countries. The National Security College’s Futures Hub contributed, convening a senior level roundtable with the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Dr Gregory Treverton, with senior government national security figures and academics during his June 2016 visit to Canberra. This built on earlier discussions with Dr Susanne Fry, whose team takes the lead in preparing the report, in early 2015, and a very high level roundtable with US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in March 2016. These interactions provided important Australian perspectives to inform the Global Trends analysis.

View or download the report on the Global Trends home page.




Updated:  17 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College