The Geopolitics of 2026

Mark Leonard peers into the future by two decades for the Economist World in 2006 in an article entitled The geopolitics of 2026.

Amongst other things, he predicts the world will be quadripolar:

If these trends are taken to their logical conclusions 2026 will not see a new world order, but at least four. This quadripolar world would be split along two axes; between democracies and autocracies; and between countries seeking a balance of power and those that want a world organised around international law and institutions.

Here’s what he has to say about the Middle East:
The fourth pole will be the Faith Zone – defined neither by democracy not the rule of law. By 2026, secular Europe will increasingly be boxed in by a global religious revival. The Muslim world will be the front-line. While some countries in the Middle East – Lebanon, Palestine, Iran – develop a new strain of Muslim democracy, many won’t manage to change their politics quickly enough to keep up with social demands. In Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq corrupt elites will be swept away by Islamists with increasingly international connections.
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