Scenarios for an Unsettled World
This Foresight focuses on a key question for the future of German foreign policy: what are the possible futures for soft power approaches or external cultural policy (ECP) in the face of changing geopolitical and economic relations between the major powers? The study examines Germany in a comparative framework of soft power approaches in the context of prevailing geopolitical and economic relations. Four scenarios emerge from the interaction between the state of the world economy and the global security situation:
1. The Sino-American Rapprochement leads to a world characterised by reduced security tensions and increasing cooperation and economic growth.
2. Under Cold War 2.0, tensions between the US and China have reached an all-time high. Distinct geopolitical blocs have emerged and there is intense technological, economic and ideological competition between them.
3. Acrimonious De-Globalization describes a world of security tensions and uneven economic growth. Multilateralism and attempts to solve pressing global challenges such as climate change are largely abandoned. Geopolitics has led to a zero-sum game in which some countries are better off off compared to 2022, but most are not.
4. In the Regressive Globalization scenario, China and the USA have failed to devise a workable cooperation model to manage of global public goods. The world economy is fragmented and characterized by multiple trade blocs and unequal economic growth.