The Return of Diplomacy?
Charting the 2040: Younger Generation Insight on the World in the Making
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The world steadily evolves into a more diverse and intricate landscape. New actors emerge in global politics, accompanied by recent global issues and a changing temporality marked by a shift from post- to metamodernism, virtualization, and accelerated paces of diversifi cation. Given these developments, it’s inconceivable for the world to revert to ideological uniformity or bipolar logic.

Amidst the ideological diversifi cation shaping the trajectory of the remaining century, the logical approach to transforming global disorder into a transitional phase is by bolstering the agency of nation-states. Empowering them to solve their problems autonomously and collectively becomes pivotal.

Multipolarity does not signify a return to a world solely characterised by nation-states, reminiscent of the 20th century.

Conversely, it also does not envision a world of multiple actors with the concept of the state fading away entirely, as was once speculated for the 21st century.

The multipolar landscape of 2040 will resemble a sandbox, offering people the state as just one among various available choices, albeit one that remains the most common.

This shift explains the diminishing role of global institutions founded upon the norms of a state-centred world order, such as the UN. In a world order of 2040 the state will be entitled with a new role. Sovereignty will become an increasingly scarce commodity for states in a world characterised by heightened competition for resources and influence, as well as the absence of a single hegemonic power in the global order. This shift will render the state a privilege rather than an automatic entitlement in the gradually receding Westphalian world.

While people from nations such as Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and India continue to prioritise government action, surveys conducted in Western countries indicate that people’s trust in government has recently plummeted to an all-time low. This suggests that certain state-centric entities will persist as active agents in the emerging world order. Meanwhile, other entities will exist as ambiguous, with blurred borders – representing transnational societies that shape the terrain for sovereign competition.

This indicates that the concept of the modern state, profoundly influenced by the ideas of Hobbes and Locke, will continue to be relevant in 15 years, thereby driving the resurgence of sovereigntist movements led by both global powers (such as the US, Russia, and China) and regional actors (like Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia). These nations will continue shaping the landscape of glocalization – a consolidation of strong connections within defi ned geographical boundaries. This trend will emerge as a robust alternative to the once-prevailing notion of a global economic and political-ideological sphere from the 1990s.

International actors, disillusioned with the Pax Americana’s failure in the 2020s, will prioritise sovereignty within their domains, leading to the formation of comprehensive techno-economic blocs where they wield political power.

Simultaneously, as glocalisation strengthens, regions devoid of sovereignty will become arenas of competition among these blocs. Inhabitants who have forsaken allegiance to states in favour of global civil societies will inhabit these spaces, benefi ting from the political and economic prospects offered by these blocs. However, they may lack the assurance of economic, food, and physical security typically guaranteed by a state.