Chapter 14: Facing the Future


The year is 2018 and you are the president of the United States, just beginning your first four-year term. The world is reeling after a global terrorism incident has revealed the full power of the state of Xanadu, a poor landlocked monarchy in central Africa.

As it turns out, Xanadu was founded over a cache of ancient technology and rare resources and had kept itself hidden from the world for millennia. Though geographically small and mostly rural, it possesses technical expertise perhaps a century ahead of any other modern state. For eons, it remained hidden by securing its enormous capital city beneath an impenetrable shield that has now been destroyed. Outside analysts would probably say Xanadu is at the very least equal in military and economic potential to the world’s current sole superpower. As the current leader of the United States, you are in charge of beginning relations with this new player at an incredibly delicate time. The decisions you make during your tenure will shape Xanadu-American relations for many decades into the future.

What will you do now that there is a new, powerful player in global politics? How might different states react to the sudden appearance of a new superpower? How might non-state actors and international institutions react? Use everything you have learned in this chapter to pilot the world towards one of several futures. Remember, as the leader of the Western world order, your allies look closely at your decisions. Consider carefully how your actions may impact your own position as well. The decisions you make now will determine the future of the international scene for years – maybe decades – after your presidency.

Important background information

Xanadu’s first move after its revelation has been to open so-called “technology sharing” centers throughout the globe that proclaim they will share Xanadu technology and culture with the aim of alleviating the plight of the poor. At least a dozen of these centers have opened in low income neighborhoods of several large cities in the United States, and several have already begun operating. The more hawkish advisors have rung alarm bells at the risk that these centers pose to American security, not to mention how they were built with land purchased through clandestine agents and without the permission of their host nations, and reveal how far American security may have been compromised by Xanadu agents. However, these centers have already become incredibly popular with the American citizenry. What course of action recommended by your advisors will you follow?

What do you do?

Forcibly shut down the centersThese centers, nothing more than thinly disguised Xanadu embassies operating without our permission, represent an extreme security threat to our and every nation’s territorial integrity. These spy centers must be shut down immediately.
Petition the Jaguar Queen to shut down the centersThough we want to avoid the possibility of conflict, the centers are too much of a risk to our sovereignty to allow continued operation. A message directly to the Xanadu monarch would be a considerate way to let our grievances be known.
Let them beThough their founding may be troublesome, the centers are popular with our citizens and provide an opportunity to bring our nations closer to together, not to mention the free service it provides.
Reposition armed forces near XanaduWe may be unable to dislodge the centers, but we can make a show of force to Xanadu by moving our armed forces to bases throughout southern Africa.