USA National Intelligence Council (NIC)-Washington's main intelligence body, euphemistically termed as the "agency of agencies", formed in 1979 to bring together analysis from each of America's multiple intelligence organisations to develop mid-to-long-term strategic thinking for USA's security community, released its latest report, Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed on November 21, 2008. Significantly, the study, which is published every four years to give US leaders insight into looming problems and opportunity is released on the eve of the commencement of a fresh presidential term. Some of the highlights of Pakistan's interest from this 120 pages' analysis are: The whole international system - as constructed following WWII - will be revolutionised. Not only will new players - Brazil, Russia, India and China - have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game. "Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress toward achieving the vision of current leaders and elites: a cohesive, integrated, and influential global actor," but not be a major military player. The European Union will be a "hobbled giant" crippled by internal bickering and a eurosceptic citizenry. Unless employment conditions change dramatically in parlous youth-bulge states such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen, these countries will remain ripe for continued instability and state failure. Terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025, but its appeal could lessen if economic growth continues in the Middle East and youth unemployment is reduced. Maritime security concerns are providing a rationale for naval build-ups and modernisation efforts, such as China's and India's development of blue-water naval capabilities. The build-up of regional naval capabilities could lead to increased tensions. Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the spectre that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers. According to C Thomas Fingar, Chairman NIC, the report has been prepared to stimulate strategic thinking about the future by identifying key trends, the factors that drive them, where they seem to be headed, and how they might interact. It uses scenarios to illustrate some of the many ways in which the drivers examined in the study (e.g., globalisation, demography, the rise of new powers, the decay of international institutions, climate change, and the geopolitics of energy) may interact to generate challenges and opportunities for future decision-makers. The study as a whole is more a description of the factors likely to shape events rather than a prophecy of what will actually happen. From Pakistan-centric aspects of the report meriting special focus are: Power will be more dispersed with the newer players Brazil, Russia, China and India bringing new rules of the game while risks will increase that the traditional Western alliances will weaken. No other countries are projected to rise to the level of China, India, or Russia, and none is likely to match their individual global clout. China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next two decades than any other country. The facet of special consequence is: "India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth and will strive for a multi-polar world in which New Delhi is one of the poles." The three previous reports on the subject by NIC, Global trends 2010, 2015 and 2020, were well received internationally and the current iteration must be taken seriously by Pakistan's decision makers to redress the problems highlighted. It does not require rocket science to perceive that terrorism and economic instability are the two main threats to the country's survival. It is time these were seriously examined and a strategy devised in the light of the changing international system which is throwing up new challenges. Simultaneously, it must be highlighted that India is being propped up by the West as a bulwark against China. In the bargain, India may become a Frankenstein, which its mentors may be unable to rein in, as happened in the case of Saddam Hussein and numerous others. Hence rationality must prevail. November 23, 2008 Op-Ed by Jane Perlez: Pakistanis Fear US Collision with Neighbouring Enemies published over the weekend, displaying a redrawn map of a truncated Pakistan, a free Balochistan and enlarged Afghanistan is a malicious twist predicting Pakistan's future. India's lop-sided nuclear deal with the USA and permitting India a massive presence in Afghanistan, are detrimental to Pakistani interests and must be taken cognisance of in consonance with an impartial study of Global Trends 2025 and the American neo-conservative agenda.