CSS Report – Strategic Trends 2021

As 2021 unfolds, major trends in world politics are leading to rapid changes in the international order. These trends have been under way for some time now, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated them. Great-power competition is resurgent, and dangerous crises threaten to erupt in regions around the world, perhaps simultaneously. As the preparation of this volume was entering its final stages, US President Joe Biden’s administration faced both a Chinese pressure campaign against Taiwan and a Russian buildup of forces along Ukraine’s eastern border. Such developments reflect new power configurations and their effects on regional security, which are the theme of this volume.

Several trends are leading to the emerging power configurations. One of the main trends, with direct implications for all of the others, is growing uncertainty about US leadership in the world. Former US President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach was a source of concern for US allies around the world, many of which were likely relieved to see Biden’s election as president. Many US allies welcome Biden’s diplomatic outreach to allies and his support for multilateralism. However, acute US domestic concerns, including pandemic recovery and political polarization, could constrain US ability to exert international leadership. Moreover, some observers question whether Biden’s vision of international leadership is realistic. In particular, they doubt whether the United States has the capacity to engage in great-power competition with both China and Russia simultaneously, especially in conjunction with harsh criticism of these countries’ domestic governance and human rights records.

Source & Report : CSS

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