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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: social networks » Unprecedented United Nations sanctions to the USA

version: 5 / updated: 2010-12-28
id: #1302 / version id: #1202
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Rafael Popper
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Last changed by: Rafael Popper
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Source of inspiration

Social Networks (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)

The source of the Wild Card is

WikiLeaks (as reported by BBC)


(max. 9 words)

Unprecedented United Nations sanctions to the USA


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
New leaks providing irrefutable evidence that the USA has been spying on top United Nations officials lead to a number of UN emergency meetings and unprecedented sanctions to the USA (e.g. revocation of the veto power in the UN Security Council). The investigations of USA spying also confirms that diplomats were ordered to find credit card details, e-mail addresses and passwords and encryption keys used for computer networks and in official communications.


UN, United Nations, USA, Security Council, Clinton, Wikileaks, cables


(max. 250 characters)

Evidence confirming that USA has instructed spying on United Nations officials leads to UN emergency meetings and unprecedented sanctions (e.g. revoking USA's veto power in the UN Security Council).


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 5: politics and global affairs
End of confrontational geopolitics and the emergence of truly pragmatic win-win international diplomacy.
Feature 7: security and defence
A multipolar and safer world with an expanded and more representative UN Security Council.

Type of event

Unplanned consequence of events/trends/situations (e.g. financial crisis, accidental breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
An extreme extension of a trend/development/situation
(e.g. Increased global warming leads to a total ban on fossil fuels)
Growing global concerns about USA recognition of the role of intergovernmental organisations

Historical parallels


Type of systems affected

Human-built Systems - E.g. organisations, processes, technologies, etc.




please specify:
please select
Level 1: important for a particular country USA
Level 3: important for the European Union
Level 4: important for the whole world United Nations

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

US instructs spying on key UN officials.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
economic filters (business/market interests)
political filters (party or ideological interests)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably enclosed way (e.g. geographically, sectorally)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)


During the latent phase, as reported by The Guardian, the US government's panic over the WikiLeaks revelations is extending to American campuses, with Columbia University warning students they risk future job prospects if they download any of the material. Similar filleting strategies are likely to appear at other political and communicational levels. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/columbia-students-wikileaks-cables. However, the extent of the spying could potentially lead to the transformation of the UN Security Council transformed and its expansion to include emerging economies.

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Social Growing public demand for serious reforms in international law
Political Emerging countries pressure to transform the UN Security Council

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
(within 1 year after the Wild Card manifests)
Collapse of the UN system due to internal conflicts. More pluralistic and transparent Security Council.

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Careful assessment of the veracity of the leaked cables and USA spying on key officials Creating a new image for United Nations 2.0

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Coexistence and conflicts
Governance and trust in democracy

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Social Sciences and Humanities
International S&T Cooperation

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Fostering and facilitating coherent international cooperation in science and technology

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Overcoming sub-criticality and systemic failures
To be subcritical means that the effort in a particular field or subfield lacks resources, equipment or a sufficient number of researchers to achieve a desired goal

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Research on the future role of "United Nations 2.0"