Editor’s Note: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a shock to the international system, but it is not clear which powers will dominate the postinvasion world order. Collin Meisel, Caleb Petry, and Jonathan D. Moyer of the University of Denver and Mat Burrows of the Stimson Center examine a range of scenarios to see if and under what conditions U.S. influence might grow or shrink. They find that, across the scenarios, the U.S.-India alliance is one important factor and that it is vital for the United States to maintain its open economy.
More than a year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the world is in the midst of what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has described as a Zeitenwende, or turning point for history. What can we say about where the world is headed?
The future could take many different paths. In a recent report with the Henry L. Stimson Center’s Strategic Foresight Hub, we explored several of the most likely paths in what is, to our knowledge, the first long-term, global, quantitative forecast of bilateral and networked geopolitical influence capacity across alternative scenarios. This analysis demonstrates that the United States can capitalize on its rivals’ errors to improve its international standing with the right foreign policy. Across all scenarios, U.S. influence depends heavily on maintaining its open economy, including providing market access to developing countries. The forecasts also contain insights about rising powers. In particular, India looks set to become a more important economic and political player in the coming decades, with the potential to offset China’s increasingly dominant influence in much of Asia and elsewhere.