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“We are now living in a G-Zero world, one in which no single country or bloc of countries has the political and economic leverage – or the will – to drive a truly international agenda.”

Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Rubini, in their prescient article for the Foreign Affairs March/April 2011 issue, predicted that this new paradigm of a G-zero world would lead to “conflict, not cooperation.” Indeed, in the years since, we have seen a marked change in the world order – one that has slowly come into place over decades, becoming all the more apparent in light of new geopolitical challenges, shifting alliances, and dynamic power structures.

Brasidas Group’s May 2018 newsletter seeks to explore this theme in depth, breaking down the important actors in Bremmer and Rubini’s G-Zero world and analyzing the implications of these interplays of power, especially in the context of global security issues. We begin with a look into the Iran-Israel conflict, which has not only inflamed the extant conflict in Syria, but also threatens to expand to the entire Middle East. We look at the triggers for recent clashes between Israel and Iran, as well as underlying causes rooted in history and ideology.

Venezuela has seen a reemergence in global media, owing to an enduring social and economic crisis. Multiple factors, including social fragmentation, growing crime rates, and financial collapse have deeply impacted the country. We take a look at the country’s future by exploring potential scenarios for its future, ranging from most to least likely, augmenting these hypothetical situations with insight from experts and well-informed Venezuelans.

India’s more prominent role on the world stage is discussed in the context of its demographic, economic, and defense strengths, which have gone unheralded until recently owing to the challenges the country has faced. We explore how India has the capacity to shape key global issues, including climate change, sustainable development, and renewable energy, establishing itself as a key global player.

We take a wider look at the MENA region to analyze the impact of energy developments on security, discussing whether these positive changes can help combat the significant political differences that have historically shaped country relations in this region. Taking the recent gas deal signed between Egypt and Israel as a starting point, the implications of this deal are explored in a political context, begging the question of whether natural gas, as an economic and geopolitical commodity, has enough power to potentially reshape the Middle East political dynamic.

Increasing attention to the protectionist measures imposed by US President Donald Trump are looked at, as well as these measures’ impact on US relations with China. Though the effects would seem to be wide-ranging, it does not appear that this will culminate in a trade war (at least not yet), as the two countries are reacting more conservatively than it might appear in order to measure their respective opponents while maintaining favorable positions in this trade tit-for-tat.

Tech remains an important topic, as actors in a G-zero world have sought to capitalize on advances in artificial intelligence (AI) in order to launch malicious attacks against other actors. Whether state versus state, rogue actor versus company, or any other combination of nefarious participants, the risks are real and the damage can be catastrophic. We look at the effects, as well as how to potentially mitigate these risks, which can have significant domestic and global impacts.

Russia’s status as a world power remains undisputed, though its relationships with other world and regional powers are changing and subject to change in the face of shifting political interests. The country’s influence in the Balkans is growing, shaped by diplomacy and its interest in soft power influence. Above all, though, we argue that Russia’s influence in the region is shaped by three pillars – energy, soft-power mechanisms, and economy.

Lastly, we take a look at the status of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. After its considerable weakening in light of recent seizures of its strongholds, we question whether ISIS will reemerge after regrouping and, should it do so, what countries would be next on its agenda when it comes to the creation of a caliphate in this region, or elsewhere.

These timely topics present the basis of our analysis of this new and mercurial G-zero world. In a time with waxing and waning state powers, it remains to be seen whether Bremmer and Rubini’s prediction of increased conflict will become the status quo. Whatever the outcome, however, it is essential to understand and analyze shifting power dynamics in order to prepare adequately for these new scenarios.