If money does not make the world go around, it certainly moves it forward. Therefore, the greatest international threat over the next decade is the prolonged deflationary recession of debt laden developed nations. The threat comes from both the burden of debt itself, which subjects nations to undue influence by their creditors, as well as the potential for exploitation by every ilk of bottom feeder in existence wanting to seize upon the opportunity to advance their agenda during the economic maelstrom.
The susceptibility of nations to social volatility during a sustained period of economic downturn is perfectly illustrated by recent events in the United States. Social mood pushed the pendulum further left in 2007 than it had been since the late 1970s, then fully recaptured the period with an accelerated swing back to the right in less than two years. The speed of this mood swing is remarkable and accentuates the tumultuous double edged sword of pure capitalism during a prolonged economic downturn.
Additional capitalistic openness of US society puts us at risk in an economic downturn. Due to the lack of financial limits on total campaign funding and a free-for-all revolving door policy between regulatory agencies and industry, sponsorship bias exists for elected officials and industry favoritism for regulators. This is another example of the double edged sword of unadulterated capitalism since industry and special interests may not align with the Federal Republic in a prolonged economic downturn.
Exploitation of religiosity is of particular concern during periods of prolonged economic downturn. Religiosity in the United States is significantly greater than the vast majority of developed countries in the world, and when measured in "number of people" it is greater than or equal to all of them combined.
A severe economic depression combined with natural disasters of a cyclical nature, like earthquakes and powerful solar storms capable of disrupting computers and communications, and other natural disasters stemming from global warming, such as flooding and drought, all of which are predicted by scientists over the near term, could produce a formula for apocalyptic fervor.