This is the 7 July 2022 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks or, more largely, conventional and unconventional national and international security (open access). Scroll down to access the scan.
Editorial: The crowdsourced signals continue to document an escalation towards war with China, which could likely then lead to World War 3. However, a more complex situation could also start to emerge in Europe. Europeans start realising the price they will pay for the war in Ukraine, while Russia steadily meets its objectives in the Donbass plus probable aims regarding Crimea, notably ensuring its water supply.
If we follow Joseph Nye (Understanding International Conflicts, 1993, p.69), a couple of opportunity points should open that would widen again the funnel of choices. Right now, this funnel has steadily been narrowing towards war over the last couple of years and in an accelerating way over the last months. If the funnel of choices widens again, then actors have more choices, thus the possibility not to face war increases. That should be closely monitored.
- The Red Team Analysis Weekly – 11 August 2022
- The Red Team Analysis Weekly – 4 August 2022
- The War between China and the U.S. – The Normative Dimension
- The American National Interest
- Food Security: China-Russia and Ukraine – Anthropocene Wars (4)
- Information Warfare and the War in Ukraine
- War in Ukraine, Megadrought and the Coming Global Food Crisis – Anthropocene Wars (3)
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.
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.