As the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia has recently risen to new heights (e.g. Paul Iddon, “Was Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr calculated or reckless?“, Rudaw, 8 Jan 2016; Jon Schwarz, “One Map That Explains the Dangerous Saudi-Iranian Conflict“, The Intercept, 6 Jan 2016), and has regional if not global repercussions, the focus question of our project, i.e. “Within which timeframe could we see full cooperation or, on the contrary, war occur between Saudi Arabia and Iran?” is even more relevant. Warren, with the previous article, started addressing the “stances” of Iran and Saudi Arabia towards each other. Here we shall continue mapping out the two possible future outcomes and the two countries’ relations, i.e. war at one end of the spectrum and cooperation at the… Read More
This article is the fourth of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. Having clarified with the last post the approach and mindset for the building of our scenarios, we shall now move to the practical part, how to do it, focusing here, in this post on scenarios for war, before moving to scenarios for situations qualified as non-violent crises with the next article. Mutually exclusive scenarios As a preamble, it is necessary to emphasize a crucial rule. To quote Glenn and The Futures Group International: “When a set of scenarios is prepared, each scenario usually treats the same or similar parameters, but the evolution and actual value of the parameters described in each scenario are… Read More
The evaluation of our 2012 predictions’ sample underlines notably a widespread conventional view of national security, novel issues being ignored; a relative inability to assess timing whilst our understanding of issues fares relatively well; the existence of major biases, notably regarding China, Russia, and the U.S; the difficulty of prediction for novel issues and old issues in new context.
The Economist shows the lead in a courageous yet hardly ever done exercise: going back to our own foresight and assess, in the light of the present, what was right and what was wrong. It provides us with an example of how such lessons learned could be endeavoured, underlines questions that should be asked and key challenges for anticipation, and exemplifies how biases can derail foresight.
Human societies currently face dwindling resources and rising competition for them in the contemporary “resources order.” Thus, besides and in accordance with other ways to handle this challenge, new types and sources of resources are increasingly valuable and can make a strategic difference for polities, as well as for humanity as a whole. Meanwhile, if we are to ever learn from our worrying present, we must also, continuously, make sure that the extraction and use of those new potential resources will not have any unfavourable impact on the planet and its ecosystem, including this biodiversity to which we belong.* As has now been known since the end of the nineteenth century (Ifremer, les Nodules, 2012), mineral resources lie on the… Read More
This post was selected to be re-posted as part of AlertNet’s special multimedia report “The Battle for Water:” The Battle for Water – Global water security: moving towards worldwide assessment Considering any issue in terms of strategic foresight and warning for national security demands, first and foremost, a minimal understanding of the issue itself, which… Read More
As underlined in Everstate’s characteristics, time in strategic foresight and warning is a crucial problem that still needs much effort and research before we obtain proper and actionable timelines – and this without even considering timeliness. For the Chronicles of Everstate, I have been struggling with the best way to present time in our very imperfect knowledge and understanding context. One of the solutions was to locate the Chronicles in a very distant time, which is what I suggested in Everstate’s characteristics. However, considering the unconscious or conscious mental associations that will be made by readers for years so far away as 5230, this was unsatisfactory. To use a less precise timeline such as the Near Future and the Far… Read More
The initial variables chosen to start building our scenario are the five most important variables according to Eigenvector centrality, as explained in Revisiting influence analysis. We shall now choose values for each criterion. Consistency is then checked, but only for the variables that are linked (see the consistency matrix). As we aim at finding a plausible and average, mild set of initial criteria, we shall start from the following set, which is also intuitively representative of the situation, real or perceived, in which many real world countries have found themselves for a couple of years. We then verify that the chosen scenarios are consistent with the consistency matrix. Even if the aim is to obtain timelines that are as precise… Read More