By Tor Hersoug
No event has been more predicted than September 11th 2001. So claims Peter Schwartz a well-known futurist and the author of the book Inevitable Surprises. The whole world was shocked by this act of terrorism, and most people found what happened unthinkable. Nevertheless, the event was actually predicted. In his book, Schwartz says, “The act of terrorism which took place that day was probably one of the most predicted events in history. Over the last twenty years, half a dozen respected commissions have stated that an event similar to this one would occur. Most of them pointed to the World Trade Centre (partly because it had already been attacked once), mentioned the use of aircraft as weapons, or referred specifically to Osama bin Laden. No one knew when the event would take place – it could have happened next week or in two years – but the details were predicted.” Schwartz’s views were largely corroborated by the 9-11 Commission report last summer.
Can be predicted
After the end of the Cold War, the American president and Congress established a commission headed by Gary Hart and Warren Rudman which was to advise the authorities on the formation of a new fundamental strategy on national security. Schwartz headed the scenario team of the Hart-Rudman commission. In its report, which was published in 2000, the scenario team warned that acts of terrorism represented the largest threat against the USA. One of the scenarios even suggested that terrorists would destroy the World Trade Centre by crashing aircraft into it. However, the authorities did not regard this threat as credible until it was too late. According to Schwartz, great surprises – events that diverge from what we are accustomed to on a political, economical and social level – will always occur, and completely alter the rules of the game. However, they can to a large extent be foreseen. The forces working behind the surprises can be observed. We have only to become aware of them and to connect them together. Sooner or later, these forces will bring about large events or upheavals.