This is the 29 July 2021 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks or, more largely, conventional and unconventional national and international security (open access).


Editorial: The IMF notably warns about rising unrest and geopolitical tensions. These result notably from a world in transition, with the ever rising tension between China and the U.S., to which the multiple impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, which is not over despite wishful thinking, are added, without forgetting too the now very tangible consequences of climate change. Meanwhile, Tunisia is already in the grips of unrest, high political turmoil, and the pandemic, t say nothing of economic woes, a new step in a dynamic that has been escalating for some time.

To paraphrase the title of an old (1982) film, this sounds very much as “The Summer of Living Dangerously” (original title: The Year of Living Dangerously).


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.

As every week, below the scan itself, we briefly explain what is horizon scanning and what are weak signals.

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The Scan

The 22 July 2021 scan→


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);
  • economy;
  • 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: Image of the Swedish-ESO 15m Submillimeter Telescope (SEST) at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, located on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile and at an altitude of 2400 metres. The photo was taken by Stefan Seip, one of the ESO Photo Ambassadors.

Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the rise of China, the COVID-19 Pandemic, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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