To analyze policy options for administration of molecular manufacturing, it's necessary to predict the future, or at least to make an educated guess about likely geopolitical conditions a decade or so from now.
Until now, CRN has generally assumed that the United States will maintain a dominant position of strength, both militarily and economically. Now, however, some analysts are pointing to an emerging "tendency toward a multipolar configuration of world politics, in which a number of regional power centers compete for hegemony over their spheres of influence..."
This quote is from "Testing the Currents of Multipolarity", an essay in the current edition of The Power and Interest News Report.
The transition to multipolarity -- if it prevails -- has been set off by the severe problems confronted by the United States in its occupation of Iraq and by the decline of the dollar in international currency markets. The former has revealed the limitations and vulnerabilities of U.S. military power and the latter has brought forward underlying weaknesses in the U.S. economic system that are symbolized by persistent trade and budget deficits, and are rooted in changes in the world balance of economic power.
At present, the U.S. has lost the position that it was perceived to have after the fall of the Soviet Union as the undisputed global superpower presiding over an economic order integrating a world of market democracies. Contemporary global politics are structured primarily by a struggle of regional powers to assert themselves against efforts by Washington to reclaim at least some of its dominance.
What does this mean for CRN? Nothing immediately. But it bears watching, because if these currents remain strong, the task of proposing effective and acceptable solutions for managing the power of nanotechnology may require new thinking.