There is no single future until it happens, and any effort to envision geopolitics in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic must include a range of possible futures. I suggest five plausible futures in 2030, but obviously others can be imagined.

The end of the globalised liberal order. The world order established by the United States after World War II created a framework of institutions that led to a remarkable liberalisation of international trade and finance. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, this order was being challenged by the rise of China and the growth of populism in Western democracies. China has benefited from the order, but as its strategic weight grows, it increasingly insists on setting standards and rules. The US resists, institutions atrophy and appeals to sovereignty increase. The US remains outside the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement. Covid-19 contributes to the probability of this…

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