Как началась первая ядерная война на Ближнем Востоке
Рубрики: Военлит, Ближний Восток Опубликовано: 30-11-2014
The following is a fictional story by Mathew Burrows, who, for the past decade, has overseen the creation of the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends Report—an intelligence-based futurist guide that has become essential reading for the White House as well as the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security.
As the United States enters the final hours of nuclear negotiations with Iran this weekend, it is worth considering the possible paths forward depending on the outcome of the Geneva meetings. You never know—this story could already be happening.
Jamil Khoury woke at night in a cold sweat, shaken by the magnitude of what he had done. He had always considered himself a peace-loving man—having grown up in Lebanon, he knew what war could do to a country. And now it looked as if he would be responsible for war on a scale no one had ever seen.
He sat for a while in silence watching the sun creep in through the shutters until his phone rang. He answered, and after a brief call, resolved to get the next flight from Beirut to New York. If he could just talk to Lars, Lars might be able to help.
Jamil spent the long flight rehashing his past. All he had wanted since childhood was to become a doctor. His father’s father—a charismatic and wise man—had been a highly respected doctor, and Jamil had wanted to emulate him in every sense. So he went to the famous Jesuit medical school in Beirut and afterward to Paris to do his residency. His plan was to become a cardiac surgeon.
Jamil never intended to go back to Lebanon, still recovering from its prolonged civil war. But when no Parisian hospital offered him a job at the end of his residency, it was clear he couldn’t stay in France either.
There was another option: The Khoury family had a long history in Saudi Arabia. As a surgeon in Jerusalem in the early 1920s, Jamil’s grandfather had treated Jack Philby—the father of British double agent Kim Philby—when the elder Philby was head of the British Secret Service in Palestine. At the time, many thought it strange that Philby used a French-speaking Maronite doctor when there were British or Jewish doctors available, but those who knew Philby well knew that he was both anti-Semitic and suspicious of his fellow Brits.
Jamil guessed his grandfather had been a spy for French interests in Jerusalem, at a time when the British and French were rivals for influence in the Middle East, but his grandfather never admitted anything—not even in his dying moments. His coffin, however, was draped in the tricolor, and the French government sent out a special representative to attend the funeral and burial in Lebanon. When Jamil asked his father about this, Jamil’s father responded only that Dr. Khoury had multiple allegiances and left it at that.
When Jack Philby resigned from his Secret Service post and moved to Saudi Arabia to serve as political adviser to Ibn Saud, Jamil’s grandfather went too, becoming one of the Saudi king’s personal physicians. By the time Jamil was born, his grandfather was very old and still living in Saudi Arabia, where he remained on friendly terms with the royal family until his death. It wasn’t hard for Jamil to use his grandfather’s contacts to establish himself in Riyadh, mostly treating the expat community.
Jamil met Soraya several months after settling in Riyadh, while she was visiting some American friends in the city, and married her not long after that. Soraya had Lebanese roots, but her Christian Maronite family had moved to Florida in the 1970s, and she, with her halting Arabic and beginner French, was thoroughly American. That didn’t matter to Jamil so much. He was shy. Soraya was beautiful and social and, he thought, a perfect way for him to break into Riyadh’s expat society. She was popular with the kind of people he hoped to attract as patients.
As for Soraya, the expat lifestyle suited her just fine. It was one big round of get-togethers and parties, punctuated by shopping trips to the Gulf or Paris or London. She certainly wasn’t there to explore her Middle Eastern roots.
Two years later they had a daughter, Adeline. Jamil still wanted a son, but Soraya didn’t want to get pregnant again. He hoped to change her mind. This had been at the back of his mind when he planned their trip to France.
It was on their first afternoon in Paris that Jamil met the prince.
He left Soraya upstairs in their room and was crossing the lobby of the Ritz in Place Vendôme to buy cigarettes when a well-dressed man in his forties approached him. The stranger had light complexion, not the more typical dark Arab coloring. Indeed, he looked rather ordinary—of medium height with no distinguishing features. In other circumstances, he would have been easy for Jamil to overlook.
“Dr. Khoury?” the stranger asked, quietly and in clear English. “We’ve met before. Maybe in Riyadh—or Jeddah?”
Jamil was annoyed at the interruption and responded in clipped French, “Monsieur, etes-vous sur?”
“Your grandfather knew mine, and served him well,” the stranger said, smiling. He had Jamil’s attention. “I have something to discuss with you. Meet me at midnight in the bar. Alone, s’il vous plait.”
Jamil wasn’t sure whether he’d keep the rendezvous at the bar. The staid doctor felt a small thrill at the thought of being drawn into an international cabal by a mysterious stranger. But it all seemed bit far-fetched—and would probably come to nothing. Besides, he and Soraya were getting on better. For once, she appeared focused on him.
After dinner the two were curled up on the bed when one of her American friends called. Two hours later, with Soraya still chatting on the phone, Jamil silently got up and left the room.
It was close to midnight when the stranger reappeared. As he entered the bar, Jamil heard the maître d’ address him as “prince.”
The prince took a seat next to Jamil. “You’re well known in the expat community,” he said. “As a good doctor, yes. And also as a bit of a bon vivant. I saw that you enjoyed yourself at the U.S. ambassador’s party on the Fourth of July.”
“That was business. Many of my patients are Americans.”
“You like Americans?”
“I have to. My wife’s family lives there. And you?” Jamil countered.
“Oh, they’re not so dependable anymore,” the prince replied. “You know the history, I’m sure. Your grandfather was here at the start. FDR gave his word that he would protect Saudi Arabia, and American presidents down the line have been equally committed—at least through the Bushes. But now, Iran seems to be the priority … ”
The prince’s attention shifted to a pretty woman who was just then entering the room. Turning back to the bar, he spoke very softly. “Do me a favor. Don’t answer me now and don’t act as if we know each other well. I’ll come to your office.”
Upon his return, Jamil asked around and was told that “the prince” was in fact head of Saudi intelligence. His interest had been momentarily piqued, but he was content to settle back into his old routine. By the time the prince came to his office back in Riyadh a few weeks later, this time dressed in traditional flowing Saudi robes, Jamil had almost forgotten the short, uneventful encounter in Paris.
“Let’s talk about the American ambassador,” the prince said, closing Jamil’s office door behind him and starting to explore the room. “He is your patient, yes?”
“He consults me sometimes. He has … he has a heart condition.”
“I know.” The prince looked at Jamil. “I want you to get him to talk on political subjects.”
“You want me to spy on him?”
The prince sounded exasperated. “If you like, Jamil. Just talk to him. You and I both know we can’t rely on America. They certainly didn’t help you much in Lebanon.”
Jamil was arranging some papers on his desk. “We don’t talk much substance,” he told the prince. “He’s from Florida and my wife’s relatives live there so we chat about the lifestyle there—golfing.”
The prince had started for the door. “Jamil,” he said, “you have spying in your blood. I am sure you have it within your power.”
The comment about his grandfather’s spying was unexpected, and it wounded Jamil. Obviously, the prince knew more about his own family than he did. But he also felt challenged, and proud. Besides, he told himself, the prince was a big shot—a top member of the royal family. The obvious comings and goings of such a prominent figure in Saudi society would be good for business. It couldn’t hurt to try.
On the surface, the Saudi ambassador—jovial and, at times, bumbling—seemed like most U.S. ambassadors at big posts—appointed more for his pocketbook than for his expertise. This one had in fact made a fortune in real estate development in Florida and was a longtime fundraiser for the Democratic Party. But he also came from a long line of missionaries who had toiled in the Middle East, mostly in Lebanon. His missionary father had sided with Secretary of State George Marshall when he argued against U.S. backing for the creation of Israel in 1948, claiming it would forever alienate the Arabs.
The ambassador kept this under wraps, fearing such knowledge could undermine his position in the Democratic Party, but he strongly believed that U.S. foreign policy had shortchanged the Arabs and sided with Israel too often.
He was also unusual in that he had turned down the ambassadorship to Tehran, the first ever since 1979. Many of his acquaintances couldn’t fathom why he would want Riyadh instead. There was real excitement in America about the new ties with Iran. The Iranians had helped settle the Syrian civil war and were also helping to stabilize Afghanistan. And Iran’s new openness to nuclear inspections was convincing Western powers that it was abiding by its promise not to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
But the ambassador saw another side to all this optimism. With Iran as America’s new partner, Riyadh felt the United States no longer cared so much about its interests. Plus, increasing U.S. oil exports were bringing down the price per barrel, causing austerity in Saudi Arabia. By serving in Riyadh, the ambassador thought, he could make Washington see the extent to which the Saudis felt betrayed.
The ambassador walked in late for his appointment and apologized. He liked Jamil, and was nervous about reports that Jamil was associating with the head of Saudi intelligence.
“You get out and about in high Saudi society, Jamil,” the ambassador said as Jamil led him into the examining room. “Do you know Prince Faisal?”
“I saw him at a reception a week or so ago. Why do you ask?”
“He’s dangerous, you know. They say he’s close to the king.”?
“I thought he was pretty friendly.”?
“Eh, not to Americans as much.”
Jamil laughed, closing the door. “I thought everybody loved Americans. You can have a seat.”
The ambassador, slumped on the examining table, launched into his concerns about American politics. “Both parties are at it, especially the young ones who don’t know anything. They’re asking why we should be protecting the sea-lanes so China can have secure access to Mideast oil. They don’t know the history, Jamil. They don’t know the history! And they certainly don’t travel—I can’t remember the last time I had a congressional delegation in town. The problem is, for this new generation 9/11 is a distant memory, and they don’t see any need for the United States to concern itself with far-off developments in foreign countries. They think they can turn their back on the Middle East.”
“After all the blood, sweat and treasure you have spent here, they’d just walk away?” Jamil asked.
The ambassador shook his head. “I had such hopes when I came here. I’ve been trying to update our mutual defense agreement with the Gulf states, but it’s an uphill battle. Washington doesn’t seem to care.” He paused. “I wonder if you’d talk to one of my colleagues about Prince Faisal?”
Jamil agreed, reluctantly.
The next morning, Jamil walked in to his first appointment to find the patient already sprawled out on the examining room table.
“Call me Bill,” the patient said, sitting up.
“Just Bill,” he continued, sensing Jamil’s next question. “I want you to tell me everything you know about the prince.”
“I can’t compromise my patient’s privacy.”
Bill smiled. He didn’t show his teeth. “OK, let’s start again. The prince is acting strangely, and we are concerned. He is now refusing to see any U.S. officials. We’re told he’s been angry at work.” Bill paused. “Could there be a medical reason?”
Jamil said nothing.
“Our intelligence says he was in Paris a couple weeks ago meeting with a known Israeli agent.”
“I don’t know any Israelis,” said Jamil.?
“Really? Weren’t you in Paris too?” Bill asked.
“Just for pleasure.”
Bill smiled again as he got up to leave. “Well if you can tell us anything, we’d like to hear. You know, you’re popular with the American community. Somebody told me that your wife’s folks are Americans.”
Days later, the prince came to see Jamil again, and Jamil relayed what the ambassador and his envoy had said.
The prince smiled. “I guess it does run in the family after all. Now, you’ll need to find an excuse to get away for a couple days. Go to the airport Sunday morning at 10. You’ll be met at the Air France desk.”
“What should I tell my wife?”
“Say you have to go and see a patient.”
Is this really me? Jamil remembered thinking, but he also welcomed the distraction from his vapid life. He’d do it.
The nondescript guy who met him at the Air France desk was very gruff. “You’re on the next flight to Paris. Book yourself into a small hotel, none of your fancy ones. Here’s a cell. Remember to ring this number when you get there. You can’t have it. Memorize it. After the call, throw the phone away. Always, always use cash.”
Hours later, Jamil was in a taxi on his way into Paris.
It was good to be back—and on his own. He stayed on the Left Bank in a very small hotel close to his old hospital. Eventually, he sat down on his bed and dialed the number he had memorized. A voice gave him the name of a café he recognized and told him to be there in 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, entering through the revolving doors, he must have looked lost.
“Vous cherchez quelqu’un, monsieur?” the waiter asked. But before he could answer, a man with heavy dark features caught his eye. He left the restaurant and waited for Jamil outside.
Jamil’s guide plodded along next to him in silence until they entered the Luxembourg Gardens. “Do you know who I am?”
“No,” Jamil answered.
“Good. I work for the Israeli Ministry of Defense—that’s all you need to know. I have a message for the prince you are to take back to Riyadh. Next time you come, I won’t be here. You’ll get a call with a location. There you’ll find a package to take back to the prince.”
“Why did you choose me?” Jamil asked him.
The man spoke bluntly: “You’re not Israeli; you’re not Saudi; you’re not Iranian. And you’re a doctor. You can go undetected where others can’t.”
Jamil made about five trips for the prince over the course of the next year, usually picking up a small package to bring back to Riyadh. Jamil knew Soraya suspected something—probably an affair. He reassured her as best he could. But he never stopped.
With December approaching, Bill called and asked him about the prince again. “You don’t want to get in over your head, Jamil. Saudi politics is a lot more convoluted than you think.”
Jamil’s voice was casual, confident even. “Look, Bill, he’s good for business—that’s all. We met once in Paris and he struck up a conversation. Why does this matter?” Jamil said he had a patient waiting and hung up.
A week later, the prince called Jamil directly for the first time ever to tell him he would be flying to Paris the next day.
Jamil felt sick. Why had the prince called on an open line? The Americans could have tapped it! He could be walking into a trap. He probably shouldn’t go.
Jamil sat up all night watching old French movies. Soraya and Adeline had already flown to Florida to spend the holidays with Soraya’s parents. At least they were safe, he thought.
But Jamil still left for Paris the next day, with orders to return to the Luxembourg Gardens. When he arrived, it was cold but bright, and the park was full of Parisians wrapped up in heavy coats and scarves, sitting in the sun.
As instructed, he waited, freezing in the shadows by the Fontaine Medicis, wishing himself back to his student days. He looked at everyone who passed, searching for familiar faces, angry to be kept waiting. He was pacing in front of the fountain when he heard a quiet voice behind him.
“Calme-toi.” Calm down.
Jamil turned to see a diminutive, attractive middle-aged woman—the very same one that had caught the prince’s attention in the Ritz bar months earlier. A red silk scarf peeked out of her mink-trimmed coat; she looked like just another upper-crust Parisian taking a short cut across the Luxembourg.
“Do you have it?” he blurted out.
“Oui,” she said as she tugged at his sleeve to make him lean down and kiss her on both cheeks. “Imagine we’re former lovers bumping into each other after a very long absence.” She motioned to some empty chairs in the sun. “Venez. Personne ne peut nous entendre.” No one can hear us.
Jamil could feel his heart rate slow. Speaking French—which he rarely did anymore—made him relax.
She lit a cigarette and offered one to him.
“Could you tell me … what this is all about?” Jamil asked.
“You don’t know?” Jamil stiffened. “We’re in the endgame. This,” she continued, gesturing to the bag she was carrying, “gives the Saudis all they need. We know they are struggling without success to develop their own nuclear weapons. And to be honest, with the American position what it is, the Saudis have little choice now but to destroy the Iranian program themselves. Yes, Jamil, helping the Saudis is a risk on our part. But we don’t have many options either. All this talk of reform? We’re sure that Iran is still backing Hamas and Hezbollah covertly. And U.S. officials are turning a blind eye—to that and the weapons.”
She paused before going on. “I’m sure you think I’m some sort of hard-line militarist. I used to be a liberal, fighting for rights for the Palestinians. But a nuclear Iran dominating all of us is something else. Working with the Saudis against Iran is our chance to finally build bridges to the Arabs.”
As they parted, she slipped a small package into Jamil’s pocket. “Pour le prince,” she whispered in his ear, and kissed him.
Jamil, not typically a drinker, got drunk on the flight back to Riyadh. At home, he took a sedative and fell into a deep sleep. But just a few hours later, he awoke before sunrise, nervous and shivering.
The afternoon had been a blur, but it was now clear to him that the Saudis and Israelis were colluding to attack Iran, and that he was helping them coordinate their plans. Who should he tell? And how could he prove what was happening?
He thought about taking the thumb drive right to the American embassy, but he didn’t want to put his family in the states in jeopardy. He was afraid Bill would use them as leverage against him.
That’s when his phone rang. The voice on the other told him where to deliver the Paris package.
Jamil got out of bed and did what he was told. And then he called his assistant and told her to book him a ticket to New York.
It was hard not to like Lars Eriksson. If Jamil epitomized the glass half empty, the Swede was definitely the glass half full. His parents had spent the 1960s protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam, but Lars came of age in the 1990s, when he saw the United States save Europe’s bacon in Bosnia. To him, America was the greatest place in the world.
Lars was working in Riyadh heading up a Swedish Foreign Ministry program for developing Saudi Arabia’s technical universities when the Arab Spring swept the region. Lars saw the new turmoil as a temporary regression. The middle classes were growing; the seeds of democracy had been planted. It was just a matter of time.
Lars met Jamil when Lars’s father-in-law fell ill with chest pains on a visit from Sweden. He credited Jamil’s speedy action and diagnosis with saving the man’s life, and they began to see each other socially. Lars still thought Jamil a hopeless case. He once asked Jamil his opinion of the Middle East, and Jamil had replied that it was ungovernable. Having no history of ruling itself, it needed an outside force to maintain the peace, whether it was the Ottomans, the British or the Americans. “But when they do try to help, we spurn them. Too much pride. Someday, the Americans will get fed up with us, the same way we are about ourselves.”
Lars was taken aback. How could Jamil say that about his own culture?
After several years in Riyadh, Lars, a trained engineer, was reassigned to the United Nations, where he coordinated one of the teams that inspected Iran’s nuclear facilities. He stayed in touch with Jamil periodically, but the two men drifted apart.
Lately, he was frustrated. It had become more and more difficult to get permission to inspect the more dubious Iranian nuclear sites, and Lars could not get the Americans and British to press the Iranians. They had no wish to repeat the mistakes of Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Israelis, Saudis and others were interested only in using the inspections for their own spying purposes. He had caught several members of his team slipping sensitive intelligence back to their home governments. No wonder Iran was increasingly hostile to the inspections.
The day after Jamil landed in snowy New York, Lars met Jamil for lunch. He greeted him warmly. “How’s Soraya? You must be joining her in Florida?”
“Yes, at some point. But I came here to talk to you.”?
“Is there something wrong? You’re still together?”?
“It’s more serious than that.”
Jamil decided to just blurt it out. “Lars. I’ve gotten mixed up in something bad. I’ve been spying for the Saudis. Well, the Saudis and the Israelis.”
Lars nearly dropped his drink. “You what?” And then he smiled, as if the idea of working for such strange bedfellows was rather amusing. “How did you manage both? That’s quite an achievement.”
Jamil didn’t see the humor. “It was harmless at first. I guess I was flattered that this Saudi prince engaged me.” He stopped to catch his breath. “The last few weeks have been hell. The last Israeli agent I met in Paris basically told me that the since the Saudis can’t build their own nuclear weapons, they and Israel are going to attack Iran’s nuclear program.”
Lars was suddenly serious. “Do you have proof?”
“No. The Israelis gave me a thumb drive, but I gave it to the Saudis. I have no idea what was on it, but she hinted that it was information about Iran’s military facilities—what targets to hit.
“We’ve had our suspicions about the Saudis for a while,” Lars told Jamil. “We even thought they might try something with Pakistan’s help. But Israel? I don’t know what I can do. The Saudis, Israelis and even the United States will block any kind of investigation in either Saudi Arabia or Israel. If I had proof, it might be different.”
Jamil never heard from the Prince again.
It was too late anyway.
The Saudis launched a missile attack against Iran on Christmas Day. Days later the Israelis followed with an air attack on various Iranian military and civilian installations. The attacks devastated Iran. Initial casualties reached 40,000 as a direct result of exposure to chemically toxic substances. This did not include the destruction from the radioactive fallout that contaminated an important supply of water, condemning millions of Iranians to an increased rate of bone cancer as well as a significant rise in birth defects for decades, if not centuries to come.
The United States mobilized the Fifth Fleet and warned Israel and Saudi Arabia to cease their attacks—a warning all sides disregarded. U.S. leaders went into high gear putting together a coalition that levied harsh financial and trade sanctions against the combatants, but the fighting still did not stop. A conventional Iranian missile disabled Aramco’s giant oil processing facility at Abqaiq, sending the price per barrel skyrocketing past $400 on the global market. The United States began withdrawing its naval forces from the region to avoid getting caught in any crossfire. When Iran used its first nuclear weapon few weeks after the first attack, U.S. public support for intervention evaporated.
The Saudis had counted on their missile defense shield, but with the withdrawal of U.S. technicians, who had helped run it, Iran succeeded in overwhelming the system with a nuclear missile—the Iranians actually had an advanced weapons program all along.
Israel’s defense shield largely protected the country against incoming Iranian missiles, although Hezbollah and Hamas succeeded in perpetrating several devastating terrorist attacks in Haifa and Tel Aviv.
It took more than a month to get a cease-fire in place. By that time, total victims on all sides were in the hundreds of thousands as the mostly conventional attacks from both sides escalated.
Over the next two years Lars saw his world crumble before his eyes. America turned its back on the Middle East, shoring up its defenses to avoid spillover and embargoing all energy exports to make sure that needs at home would be met. With America fearing terrorist attacks by disaffected European Muslims, transatlantic ties suffered. Visas to the States became almost impossible to get for Europeans, whether Muslim or not.
Russia and China turned out to be the saviors. Moscow threatened to fire missiles at whoever did not abide by the ceasefire. China, panic-stricken by the prospect of falling oil imports and economic collapse, mobilized its military and sent in workers to rebuild Saudi and Iranian oil facilities damaged by the fighting.
With pictures of scores of Iranian civilians dying of bombs and contaminated water pervading the media, America’s support for Israel quickly soured. The White House released documents showing that Washington had begged Israel to cease hostilities. Many Israelis countered that the United States, by ignoring evidence that Iran had restarted its nuclear weapons program, had forced Israel to take matters into its own hands.
Meanwhile, in Israel, talented workers were moving abroad, away from the blaze. Efforts to integrate Israel’s two fastest-growing communities, Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews, continued to fail, and the economy went into a slow decline. Israel faced a choice of either seeing the region come under Iranian influence or trying to get Washington back in the game of managing the Middle East.
The Europeans were caught off guard by the U.S. decision to stay out. Center-left parties decided the only way to save the social welfare state at home was to remain neutral. Europe couldn’t afford to devote endless resources to enforcing a fragile peace without help from the United States. Right-wing parties began siding with Russia: Fight fire with fire, they said.
After the U.S. drawback from Middle Eastern sea lanes, China sent armed convoys to the Gulf to pick up oil supplies. Chinese workers eventually restarted the Aramco facilities, but despite their protective gear, years later, developed radiation-related cancers. Other Asians countries dependent on Middle East oil were grateful to the Chinese, and warmed to the Asian giant. Only the Japanese felt threatened. Japan started to develop nuclear weapons in case of a surprise attack from China. Russia tore up its treaties with the United States and sought more nukes to bolster its power; China and India felt they had to keep up.
The dream of the nuclear-zero world had disintegrated.
Weeks after the attack, Lars heard that Jamil had volunteered to work in the radiation ward in Riyadh. Soraya told him that Jamil had insisted that she and Adeline stay in Florida, but as the United States had frozen Saudi funds, Soraya couldn’t access their U.S. bank account. And with the cash-strapped Saudi government’s new restrictions on sending money abroad, Jamil couldn’t wire money either. When Adeline donated money to a refugee relief fund at school, the FBI turned up and accused her and her family of supporting a terrorist group.
Jamil’s practice fell apart with the departure of the expat community. And when the prince was purged after a shakeup in the royal family, Jamil came under suspicion because of their relationship. Most Lebanese were unwelcome now in Saudi Arabia for fear they had Shia connections. Jamil had heard some horror stories about how Shia in the Eastern Province were being treated. Jamil thought of fleeing to the United States to be with his wife and daughter, but his guilt stopped him. He held himself responsible and felt he needed to do penance by staying and helping the injured.
A year or so after they had seen each other in New York, Lars got a letter from Jamil. Jamil had always admired Lars’s optimism, he explained, but Lars needed to face facts. Jamil had learned the hard way. His whole life had been spent trying to break the mold and it hadn’t worked. As a young man, he had hoped to practice not in his own country but in Paris. He had hoped to restart in Saudi Arabia. Yes, many of his expat patients respected him for who he was, not what tribe he came from or the religion he adhered to. But the expat community lived in a bubble. And when it had burst, he saw clearly again. The failure of his marriage brought home to him the impossibility of bridging the cultural gap with his Americanized wife.
Oddly enough, despite the devastation, Jamil said he now felt liberated. It was clear where everybody stood. He enjoyed his work in the radiation ward. His patients needed him. The only real regret about staying was not seeing Adeline. She was safer in America, but he missed her. He hoped she would do a better job than he did of facing up to the world as it is, not how one wishes it.
Mathew Burrows is the director of the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative. He has served as the National Intelligence Council’s counselor and director of analysis and production for the last decade. Before that, he served as the intelligence advisor to Richard Holbrooke when he was the U.S. ambassador to the UN and as deputy national security advisor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. He lives in Washington, D.C.
This original fiction is adapted from his new book, The Future Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action (Copyright © 2014 by the author and reprinted by permissions of Palgrave Macmillan, a division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC) which expands the most recent Global Trends Report into a full-length narrative describing four fictional paths to 2030. All four paths are based on real analysis by the intelligence community.