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"A world that is no longer there"

Nov 04, 2022

It is increasingly difficult to make assumptions about the structure of the international system. When researchers - including in Sweden - in the early 70s speculated about the possibility of a multipolar world they were often dismissed as being too academic in their approaches. Later it was also even questioned whether there could be more than one superpower in the world. After the recent political turbulence in China one cannot be sure what the growth and stability of this world power will look like over the medium term.

The US in its recently published national security strategy assumes that Europeans will join in managing Chinese influence globally. Still the US Administration hopes for continued globalisation including China. Whether this US China policy will change as a result of the elections in 2022 and 2024 is up in the air.


What the war in Ukraine will mean for Russia in the medium to long-term is equally uncertain. The Russian leader offers his population a war of attrition with no quick fixes which is likely to deplete resources unless a new sense of unity can boost Russian morale.


The Russian war against Ukraine following the pandemic and including an energy crisis has galvanised European unity.


At the same time elections in Italy and major problems in the UK and other European countries constantly threaten this vital European unity.


As the EU High Representative has noted: “You—the United States—take care of our security. You—China and Russia—provided the basis of our prosperity. This is a world that is no longer there”


On top of this there are questions out there about the way ahead for Brazil after Bolsonaro as well as for India performing a strategic balancing act between Russia and the West.


Whether against this background it is likely that we will see a powerful counterweight to the G7 in a revitalised BRICS  (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) configuration needs further study – to say the least.


Lars-Erik Lundin