On November 28, the Brookings Institution Press launched Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics, a new Brookings book edited by Francis Fukuyama and cosponsored by The American Interest. Unforeseen, world-changing events—the collapse of communism, the September 11 attacks, the appearance of new diseases such as HIV/AIDS and bird flu, Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami—have caught societies and governments unprepared in recent decades. Anticipating and dealing with low-probability, high-impact scenarios have become critically important challenges for policy-makers. Blindside addresses those challenges.
Fukuyama discussed the challenges of uncertainty, how unanticipated scenarios have the potential to escalate into systemic crises, and why it is difficult to act even when catastrophes are anticipated. Blindside contributors Gregg Easterbrook, Scott Barrett and Gal Luft focused on forecasting, emerging infectious diseases and energy security, respectively. Adam Garfinkle, editor of The American Interest, moderated the discussion.