This is the 23 September 2021 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks or, more largely, conventional and unconventional national and international security (open access).
“History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes…“*. The American antagonism against China does not abate, while Washington may succeed in “relentlessly” reasserting complete dominance over “the West”, despite what could well be, finally, only symbolic complaints. Turkey takes advantage of a power vacuum, while the Maghreb appears to fall into much uncertainty and tension. Meanwhile, the prospect for larger, deeper and more intractable “natural” global crises rises.
* A maxim most often wrongly attributed to Mark Twain.
- The Red Team Analysis Weekly – 14 October 2021
- The Military and the “Climate Blowback” – Summer 2021 (1)
- China’s Perception of U.S. International Politics
- When Seas and Maps Impact Geostrategy and the Future
- From Seer to King – Success with Strategic Foresight and Warning
- Antarctic China (2) – China’s Planetary Game
- The Ultimate Key Technologies of the Future (3) – Extreme Environments
- The Key Technologies of the Future (2) – Evolution
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: 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.