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F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / M A R C H 2 0 1 2
Some notable possibilities in the
second, less dire tier include growing
sectarian strains and renewed violence
in Iraq (which appear to be well under
way), and the eruption of hostilities in
the South China Sea as a result of com-
peting territorial claims.
Paul B. Stares, the director of the
Center for Preventive Action and the
General JohnW. Vessey Senior Fellow
for Conflict Prevention, and Micah
Zenko, a Council on Foreign Relations
fellow for conflict prevention, jointly
conducted the survey.
As they point out, “The United
States has a dismal record of forecast-
ing instability and conflicts. Presently
there is no systematic U.S. government
process linking forecasting to contin-
gency planning. This survey is in-
tended to meet that need.”
The CPA was set up to educate
American and international leaders
about the threat violent clashes pose
to American interests. It pursues this
goal by engaging U.S. officials and the
news media in prevention efforts,
building networks with international
organizations and policymakers, and is-
suing special reports such as this.
— David J. Barton,
Editorial Intern
Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln...
On Jan. 11, the World Economic
Forum (
) releas-
ed a strikingly gloomy report on the
eve of its annual gathering of business
leaders, policymakers and academics
in Davos, Switzerland.
Conducted by the WEF’s Center
for Global Competiveness and Per-
formance, the Global Competiveness
Report 2011-2012 identifies severe
income disparity and chronic fiscal
imbalance as the top risks facing busi-
ness leaders and policymakers. It pre-
dicts that this will remain true not
only in 2012, but for the next decade.
After warning that failure to address
these twin problems could bring about
a “dystopian future for much of hu-
manity,” the report notes that the In-
ternet can magnify and spread the
effects of disasters, both natural and
One contributor to the report, Er-
wann O. Michel-Kerjan, managing di-
rector of the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania, notes that
this trend is “one of the flip sides of
globalization. A local event can be-
come a global event much more
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
50 Years Ago...
“Prime Minister assured me his remarks intended for domestic
ears and not, repeat not, with intention of affecting progress of cur-
rent negotiations.” Translation: Keep cool.
“Department informed that Abernathy McGonigle, prominent businessman and
member of several citizen’s action committees, planning trip to your area. Posts on
attached schedule should extend…” Translation: Friend of administration.
“Assignment selected with view to Jones’ particular talents; needs imaginative of-
ficer able to meet challenging conditions at…” Translation: Only slot open.
“…are factors indicating likelihood of such a move. On other hand, usually re-
liable sources in position to know have indicated to Embassy that…” Translation:
Your guess is as good as ours!
— “Paraphrase,” from “Washington Letter” by Gwen Barrows, FSJ, March
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