Analyzes this once a year Londoner Strategieinstitut IISS, Link opens in a new window the major geopolitical trends. And always looks ahead, so this time on 2021. It's a bleak outlook.
The coronavirus has shaken the world upside down - but the major conflicts between powerful countries continue unabated. Some are likely to get worse.
2020 was the year of the pandemic. Corona pushed other conflicts into the background. But they have not disappeared. From the perspective of the London strategy think tank IISS is worrying, how much the tensions between the great powers are growing. The ratio of the two most important, USA and China, is worse than ever since the 1960s. The one between the US and Russia is worse than it has been since the 1980s. The situation between China and India is as precarious as 1975. And after four years under President Donald Trump, the relationship between Europe and the USA is as uncertain as it has been since the end of World War II.
After all: The European-American relationship should improve again under President Joe Biden, at least atmospherically. When it comes to the other great power relationships, however, the London strategists see it as black.
The foreign policy adventurism, especially of authoritarian rulers, is also irritating: In Azerbaijan and Turkey against Armenia, in Russia versus Ukraine and Syria, in China in the South China Sea - to name just a few examples. In the past, US dominance prevented a lot, with more or less gentle pressure. But this dominance does not return even under Biden. The new master in the White House must first heal domestic political wounds, before he turns his attention to foreign policy. In addition, the United States revealed a terrifying skill deficit in fighting pandemic, that will damage their reputation for a long time to come.
At the same time is the multilateral system, at the center of which is the UN, shocked.
China, on the other hand, is not following in the US's footsteps. It is becoming a superpower itself. Unlike the USA, however, it could not, to form strong alliances. The “new Silk Road” is less understood as an offer for a fair partnership, but as an attempt, To increase influence in large parts of the world. The increasingly research, Sometimes aggressive behavior costs Beijing and head of state Xi Jinping a lot of sympathy - from the neighborhood in East Asia to Europe, Africa and South America. And it didn't go unnoticed, that China is using the pandemic to do this, in their own country, from Hong Kong to Tibet to Xinjiang, the home region of the Muslim Uighurs to tighten the screw even more. Less and less see China as a sympathetic great power.
Whether and how well the West is holding up, is not decided militarily. The decisive battlefield is the digital terrain. The IISS experts speak of the new "Digital Great Game". Rules of the game are still missing here. The players are still acting extremely roughly. And the winner has not yet been determined.
That's for sure: The confrontation between the great powers weighs heavily on the world. Solutions to ongoing conflicts are just as difficult to find as common approaches to climate change or pandemic control. The geopolitical tensions are likely 2021 continue to grow. It is threatening, because tensions have the property, occasionally discharge, with thunder and lightning.