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The Future Is Global

Author: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
May 4, 2012
The Hill

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This month's college graduates will lead 21st century lives. There is much we cannot know about this new century. If you doubt this, think about the world at the time today's graduates were born. The Soviet Union was collapsing. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were still intact countries. Saddam Hussein was busy occupying Kuwait, soon to be ousted by an extraordinary coalition led by the United States. Here at home, offices were just getting desktop computers. Cell phones were as large as they were rare. Libraries still had card catalogs. There was no Facebook, no Google, and no Twitter.

But there is also a lot we can predict. Over the next ninety years, the population of the United States will increase from 300 million to well over 500 million. The number of people in the world could reach 10 billion. America will have a majority minority population. China will likely constitute the world's largest economy. Climate change will probably alter global temperatures, sea levels, and weather patterns.

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