There are two other scenarios that I will not go into here — take a look at the report itself to read about them.
All the NIC’s scenarios are compelling. However, China could be better positioned as a key variable and signpost in determining how we get from today to 2030.
I structure what comes next based on two simple questions. First, “How collaborative — or hostile — will the US and China be?” Second, “How multipolar will the world really be — that is, will other countries be weak or powerful in comparison to the US and China?”
If the answers are, respectively, “very collaborative” and “very weak in comparison,” then we will see a scenario that resembles Fusion, with a workable US-China G2. If, on the other hand, we see a weaker, more adverse US-China, a scenario like Stalled Engines may be more likely.
The bottom line: With its vast size and enormous potential for outsized success or failure, China’s trajectory is the true game-changer between today and 2030.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the NIC report. I highly recommend you read it for yourself. And be sure to look out for China — you cannot miss it.
Ian Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group, a global political risk research and consulting firm, and created Wall Street’s first global political risk index. He has a doctorate in political science from Stanford University, and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. His opinions are his own.