Analysts gazing into what amounts to an intelligence-based crystal ball see a future world marked by dwindling resources, more people and diminished power for the United States, as CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports.
The grim assessment, entitled "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World", comes from the National Intelligence Council, an independent government body. The report concludes that by 2025, "The U.S. will remain the single most important actor but will be less dominant."
There'll be challenges on all fronts. Climate changes from global warming will lead to shortages of food and water in dozens of countries. That, coupled with a projected population spike of 1.2 billion people worldwide could lead to wars over increasingly scarce resources.
Thomas Fingar, Chairman of the National Intelligence Council predicts water shortages, disruptions to delicate agricultural patterns, continued unrest in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and the continued emergence of China as America's greatest economic rival.
"China will have the world's second largest economy," the report says, "and will be a leading military power."
But conventional military strength will be less important. The new threats will come from hackers and cyber-terrorists, criminal gangs and other rogue groups.
Terrorism will remain. But the report suggests that al Qaeda's influence in the Arab world is in decline and the group may "decay sooner than many people think."
"The killing of innocents, the killing of Muslims [by al Qaeda] is turning off more people than it is turning on," Fingar says.
Still, other extremist groups may be ready to step in, and analysts warn that an increased availability of nuclear weapons and materials could present an even more lethal threat.
The report also suggests that global warming could boost Russia's growing economy by extending growing seasons and allowing easier access to far north oil fields. And it says that the U.S. dollar will continue to weaken and fall from favor as a top world currency.
Of course, these projections are hardly certain. Analysts note that most past attempts to look ahead have been turned out to be wrong. But the report is aimed at starting the policy dialogue as a new Administration maps its strategy.