The strategic consequences of the coronavirus crisis

Author: Bruno Tertrais | Published 6 April 2020 | Foundation for Strategic Research (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique), France

This pandemic is the perfect stress test for the contemporary global society – and, because of its brutal and massive nature, a real strategic surprise, just like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the financial crisis of 2008…

Bruno Tertrais analyses trends which he suggests will be exacerbated or accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis:

  • the retreat of globalisation;
  • the decline of populism, but the success of sovereignism and the revenge of borders;
  • the increase in semi-authoritarian democracy;
  • the advance of the Anthropocene crisis;
  • the advent of surveillance societies and the multiplication of isolationist behaviours;
  • the risk of opportunistic political or military actions.

Tertrais’ provocative list begs the tantalising question of how each of these trends might impact on the progress and direction of the others. What might be the system consequences and feedback loops? How might the decline of globalisation affect the rise in authoritarianism and the risk of conflict? How might sovereignism and isolationism retard responses to the ecological and climate crises of the Anthropocene?

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