World faces growing risk of conflict: US intelligence chief

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2008 (AFP) – The world faces a growing risk of conflict over the next 20 to 30 years amid an unprecedented transfer of wealth and power from West to East, the US intelligence chief has said. Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, predicted rising demand for scarce supplies of food and fuel, strategic competition over new technologies, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

“What I’m suggesting — there’s an increased potential for conflict,” McConnell said in a speech Thursday to intelligence professionals in Nashville, Tennessee.

“During the period of this assessment, out to 2025, the probability for conflict between nations and within nation-state entities will be greater,” he said.

Conditions for “large casualty terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, or less likely, nuclear materials” also will increase during that period, he said.

McConnell described a multi-polar world in 2025 shaped by the rise of China, India and Brazil, whose economies will by then match those of the western industrial states.

“In terms of size, speed, and directional flow, the transfer of global wealth and economic power, now underway, as noted f