The U.S. National Intelligence Council recently issued a report, directed at national leaders; "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World". Would you believe, the Executive Summary is about eight pages long? Few senior people have enough patience to wade through that. Fortunately, a lot of what was in the report was fairly obvious for anyone that's been paying attention.
But the main points are that by 2025, the post-World War II international system will be revolutionized, as new players, like Brazil, Russia, India and China, will have a seat at the international high table. This is a "Duh." Russia's been a player since 1945. China and then India joined up by the '90s, and Brazil, well, there's a saying "Brazil will always have a bright future"
The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future. But beyond 2025, Russia and China face some serious demographic problems. China's "one child" policy (to halt population growth), and the unanticipated appearance of cheap sonograms (enabling parents to determine the gender of their child while there was still time for an abortion) has caused an imbalance in the gender ratio. There are now 115 boys for every 100 girls. Young men are having a problem finding wives. Wealthier urban males attract more women from the rural areas (where 70 percent of Chinese still live), leaving a lot of lonely, poor and angry young men in the countryside. The smaller generations means that the proportion of elderly (made wealthier and healthier by the booming economy) is skyrocketing, while the workforce is shrinking. Both these trends are bad, and will have negative social and economic impacts. India has the same gender imbalance problem, but a growing population that contains a higher proportion of poor people than in China. Not good.
Unprecedented economic growth, and a global population that has 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources. There's not enough energy, food, and water to support the rising expectations of the growing middle class in China and India.
The Middle East remains a source of conflict. The social, economic, political and religious crises within the Islamic community will have to be resolved, somehow, before the threat subsides. Meanwhile, the spread of nuclear weapons makes future conflicts within the Middle East more dangerous.