This is the 19 November 2020 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks (open access).
- Food Security: China-Russia and Ukraine – Anthropocene Wars (4)
- War in Ukraine, Megadrought and the Coming Global Food Crisis – Anthropocene Wars (3)
- Nuclear Battlefields in Ukraine – Anthropocene Wars (2)
- Belarus and the Weaponization of Migration – Anthropocene Wars (1)
- “Dune” – Adaptation to Climate Change as Power Strategy
- Will there be Climate Civil Wars?
- Assessing the “Strategic” in Strategic Surprise
- What are Climate Wars?
In a nutshell, we find this week a renewed focus on China-U.S. tension and likely American efforts to enlist further or again the EU. Meanwhile the COVID-19 pandemic does not disappear, far from it. Besides, of course, many more signals are identified. Of note a particularly good article to read and apply to all countries, keeping comparisons in mind: Yiannis Mouzakis “It’s the hope that kills you“, Macropolis, 16 Nov 2020.
Using horizon scanning, each week, we collect weak – and less weak – signals. These point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve.
Horizon scanning, weak signals and biases
We call signals weak, because it is still difficult to discern them among a vast array of events. However, our biases often alter our capacity to measure the strength of the signal. As a result, the perception of strength will vary according to the awareness of the actor. At worst, biases may be so strong that they completely block the very identification of the signal.
In the field of strategic foresight and warning, risk management and future studies, it is the job of good analysts to scan the horizon. As a result, they can perceive signals. Analysts then evaluate the strength of these signals according to specific risks and dynamics. Finally, they deliver their findings to users. These users can be other analysts, officers or decision-makers.
You can read a more detailed explanation in one of our cornerstone articles: Horizon Scanning and Monitoring for Warning: Definition and Practice.
The sections of the scan
Each section of the scan focuses on signals related to a specific theme:
- world (international politics and geopolitics);
- science including AI, QIS, technology and weapons, ;
- analysis, strategy and futures;
- the Covid-19 pandemic;
- energy and environment.
However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.
The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement.
Featured image: Milky Way above SPECULOOS / The Search for habitable Planets – EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS) is searching for Earth-like planets around tiny, dim stars in front of a panorama of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/P. Horálek.