This cross-cutting theme focuses on great power politics in the emerging post-Western, post-superpower world. The research strand also utilises foresight methodology to assess critical uncertainties and the scope of plausible futures of great power politics. The analytical priorities of this cross-cutting theme are emerging regional great powers, contested neighbourhoods and evolving strategies and instruments of great power competition.
The rise of non-Western great powers, weakening of liberal norms internationally, global interconnectedness and technological disruptions are widening the realm of international competition as well as altering the dynamics – and contesting the structures – of global great power management.
In this pluralist world, several global and regional great powers compete for influence in many interconnected realms. Territorial influence remains an important field of great power competition, but critical global flows, technological capabilities and norms are some of the other key fields of great power competition.
The interests of the strongest great powers – the United States and China – are increasingly in conflict and neither one of them is able – or willing – to act as global superpower or hegemon. Often internal politics are driving the foreign policy decisions even of the most powerful states. Institutions of global governance are widely contested, which increases assertive regional great powers’ room to manoeuvre. This adds to the unpredictability and instability of the current and future international system.