No one has a clue what the future holds.

Those that tell you otherwise are selling something

Linton Wells (wiki link) is an expert in national security and served in a number of different roles in the White House under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to President Bush, Wells published a memo titled “Thoughts for the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review.”

Note: I actually found the document.

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The memo reads:

If you had been a security policy-maker in the world’s greatest power in 1900, you would have been a Brit, looking warily at your age-old enemy, France.

By 1910, you would be allied with France and your enemy would be Germany.

By 1920, World War I would have been fought and won, and you’d be engaged in a naval arms race with your erstwhile allies, the US and Japan.

By 1930, naval arms limitation treaties were in effect, the Great Depression was underway, and the defense planning standard said, “no war for ten years.”

Nine years later, World War II had begun.

By 1950, Britain no longer the world’s greatest power, the Atomic Age had dawned, and a “police action” was underway in Korea.

Ten years later the political focus was on the “missile gap,” the strategic paradigm was shifting from massive retaliation to flexible response, and few people had heard of Vietnam.

By 1970, the peak of our involvement in Vietnam had come and gone, we were beginning detente with the Soviets, and we were anointing the Shah as our protege in the Gulf Region.

By 1980, the Soviets were in Afghanistan, Iran was in the throes of revolution, there was talk of our “hollow forces” and a “window of vulnerability,” and the US was the greatest creditor nation the world had ever seen.

By 1990, the Soviet Union was within a year of dissolution, American forces in the desert were on the verge of showing they were anything but hollow, the US had become the greatest debtor nation the world had ever known, and almost no one had heard of the Internet.

Ten years later, Warsaw was the capital of a NATO nation, asymmetric threats transcended geography, and the parallel revolutions of information, biotechnology, robotics, nanotechnology, and high-density energy sources foreshadowed changes almost beyond forecasting.

All of which is to say that I’m not sure what 2010 will look like, but I’m sure that it will be very little like we expect, so we should plan accordingly.

This memo was sent to the President a mere six months before 9/11 turned the world upside down.

Note: I found the memo that was sent.

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The decade that followed included war, political turmoil, the Great Financial Crisis, and countless geopolitical crises around the globe. The one constant we face is irreducible uncertainty.

No one has a clue what immediate future holds.

Note: I am a spiritual person, and I believe the exception is we can know about our spiritual future, but that doesn’t mean we know what life is going to be life on this wonderful earth. :)

Written by

Code, design, cook. Make stuff. Cookies. @BYU grad.

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