The Challenges of Future Leadership in International Affairs

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The article deals with the structural shifts towards multipolarity and global changes such as climate change, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and pandemics as phenomena that will shape the future generation of political leaders. The author works with neoclassical realism as a primary paradigm that enables him to evaluate structural shifts and the quality of political establishment on the unit level. The article entails both qualitative and quantitative methods. The Composite Index of National Capability and the comparison of gathered data falls into the quantitative methods, while analysis of scientific literature is the qualitative research method. The article’s primary aim is to determine the scope of the current challenges for future political leaders. The paper’s central argument formulates the hypothesis that future leaders will be vastly shaped by the shift towards multipolarity in which the balance of power logic drives international affairs. At the same time, the future political thinkers are about to deal with the global emergencies caused by climate crisis, pandemics and Industrial Revolutions 4.0 and 5.0.

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Introduction As the political elites in the leading world countries are ageing, the new elites are about to face the World of relatively new and pressing challenges. Climate change has shifted from a narrative told by a group of scientists, marginal political and non-governmental organisations to the centre of the world attention. A global pandemic, at the same time, stands as a reminder of our world fragility. Industrial Revolution 4.0 brings up technological progress such as robotisation, but the perils of unemployment and demands to reorganise the economy. Last but not least, the redistribution of power and structural shifts from unipolar power configuration towards multipolar one foretells new patterns of interaction amongst the great powers and fosters the great power competition. Even though every of the abovementioned phenomenon means a great challenge for future leadership, the coming multipolarity appears as the most important as it spill-over the nation-states and the patterns of their mutual interaction so needed to tackle the global issues. That being said, the nation-state remains the primary unit of international relations, and thereby, the state elites are the ones who will primarily deal with the ongoing and upcoming crises. Understanding how international politics works in the multipolar configuration will be crucial to understanding the scope and diversity of challenges our future leaders will face. Hence, the article’s central question goes: How will the forming multipolar configuration shape the young generation of world leaders? I argue that the coming multipolarity will be driven by the great power competition that will reflect negatively on the state of the World, which is in desperate need of cooperative behaviour. The new political elite will, therefore, need to understand the great variety of interests. Some states will freeride on the regional powers. In contrast, others will use the opportunity of the diverse system in order to increase their might, as illustrated in the case of contemporary Turkey. In this competitive environment based on the balance of power logic, future leaders will have to tackle climate change, successfully mitigate the consequences of Industrial Revolution 4.0 and prepare for future humanitarian crises such as the pandemic of COVID-19. Even though the multipolar configurations are known for their competitive and unstable properties, there are still odds that the global challenges will force world leaders to cooperate. Most importantly, future global challenges will require a high degree of international coordination and unified response. In the first section, I will demonstrate that the world political leaders are ageing, and we will witness the generational shift in World politics in a few decades. The second section of the article draws on global challenges and how these will shape the new generation of political leaders and thinkers. To prove that the young leaders will have to face climate change, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and other humanitarian challenges in conditions balance of power-driven by competitive environment of multipolarity, I will prove that the structure is shifting towards multipolarity, first. I am using the Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC)1 model that compares the great powers the world share on material power[75]. At the same time, I will compare the recent shares of the great powers on CINC with the historical data to prove that the multipolarity is not configuration with three and more equally powerful actors. As the contemporary literature and datasets lack the most recent CINC data, I gathered military capabilities from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, economic data from World Bank, energy consumption from, iron and steel production from, and urban and total populations of all countries from World Bank. Then I calculated the most current CINC ratio, which is, therefore, a unique statistic. Some might argue that the CINC is only measuring the hard power, which might be misleading in a world that has become more complex and interdependent. However, the hard power reinforces the soft power. At the same time, I use CINC to point out the structural shifts built upon cumulation of the significant national capabilities[76]. Finally, I am going to outline the recommendations for future leaders in efficient tackling the global challenges. The primary method used in the article is a qualitative analysis of contemporary international discourse. At the same time, the quantitative method is used in the CINC model and comparative method in comparison to the historical and contemporary CINC data. The central paradigm of the paper is neoclassical realism that asserts the importance of structural realism but focuses on the unit-level analysis at the same time. The Final Years of the Cold War Generation To avoid unnecessary misconceptions, I will outline the definition of political elites here. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, elites are a small group of persons who exercise disproportionate power and influence. It is customary to distinguish between political elites, whose locations in powerful institutions, organisations, and movements enable them to shape or influence political outcomes, often decisively, and cultural elites [Higley 2021]. Harold Lasswell assesses the substance of political elites as the power holders of a body politic. He maintains that the power holders include the leadership and social formations from which the leaders typically come. In other words, the political elite is the top power class [Lasswell, Lerner 1980:36]. Robert A. Dahl concludes that the (political elite)... is a minority of individuals whose preference regularly prevails in cases of differences in preferences on key political issues [Dahl 1959:87]. The contemporary political discourse encounters two dynamics that are impacting the political elite. First, the ageing populations in the leading world countries shape the policies pursued by state elites. The Brexit vote is a vivid example of the division between young and old generations and its impact on politics [Bristow 2020]. Similar phenomena occur across the Western Hemisphere and leading countries such as Germany, United Kingdom, France and Russia, while all mentioned actors are dealing with demographical crises. China is also expected to encounter demographic trouble. However, one has to emphasise that central regulations issued by the government in China are much more efficient than those in the West and modern China has proven to regulate the population. Thus, we cannot precisely predict whether China will not overcome current gloomy forecasts. The second trend is an ageing political elite. The recent US presidential candidates are a vivid example of the race between 74 years old Donald Trump and 78 years old Joe Biden, while Joe Biden is a part of the US establishment for roughly 50 years. Ageing of the Cold War elites signalling the coming generational shift, not only in the U.S. Angela Merkel in Germany, already announced her plans to retire. At the same time, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are relatively unpopular in their countries as representatives of the younger political generation. Vladimir Putin, too, does not belong to the new generation of politicians. With Putin turning 69 this year, the Russian political discourse vividly deals with succession to the relatively popular president[77]. If one compared the average age of political leaders within G8 in 2000, 2010 and G7 in 2019, respectively, in 2021, the results clearly point to the coming generational shifts. Whereas 58 was the average age of leaders at the 2000 summit in Osaka, while 55,5 was the average age of leaders at the G8 summit in Ontario ten years later. In contrast, the 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz welcomed the leaders of 58,1 average age (European Commission G7 webpage). However, the G7 disinvited Russia and never included China and India as the rising powers. Therefore, if one entails these three countries that certainly belong to the structure of global stakeholders, the resulting average age of the political elite is 62 years. Drawing on the contemporary literature, one finds that the average age amongst the political elites is 55 years, and the time the elites serve average on 5-7 years [Gerring, Oncel, Morrison, Pempstein 2019]. With that said, the Osaka summit foretold personal changes within the elites of a similar nature as we will encounter soon. However, the current changes will differ in that the upcoming decades signal the end of the Cold War generation and the rise of the so-called millennials. Moreover, the trends in the World leading countries are clear. The ageing population is creating demand for a particular type of political agenda, resulting in a populational rift [Wilkoszewski, Loichinger, Dick 2016]. Therefore, one cannot exclude the clash between the old and new perception of the approach to politics. On the other hand, the generational exchange in the political elite will likely occur in the next decade. Such a shift might ease tensions between the generations and brought leaders unbiased with old behavioural patterns. New Generation of Political Elite It is clear that we will witness the generational shifts in the coming decade or two. Structural conditions of multipolarity and global issues such as climate change, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and humanitarian insurgencies such as global pandemic will likely shape the paradigm in the political thinking of the 21st century. If one aims to understand the key skills that future leaders will need to tackle these phenomena, he needs to understand what novel those brought to the political discourse. Rise of Multipolarity The coming multipolarity draws the attention of scholars across the World. The literature analysing the future of the international system future agrees on the US-China competition as the dominant feature in world politics [Allison 2020; Mearsheimer 2014; Acharya 2018; Ikenberry 2014]. Most of the authors who claimed the formation of a uniform global system [Doyle 1996; Keohane 2008; Nye 2020; Russet 1996], end of history [Fukuyama 1989], or formation of the World state or international society at last [Wendt 1999; Bull, Watson 2020]. During the US unipolar moment, all these notions made sense as there was no doubt the World is getting homogenous and globalised at an unprecedented rate. However, the growth of periphery powers disrupted the vision of a homogenous liberal globalised system and resurrected the balancing logic. Moreover, opponents of the Western-led globalisation, developed with own version of globalisation, called alter-globalisation [Steger, Wilson 2012; Pleyers 2010], in which there is no need for homogenisation of political units and economic interests are the dominant pattern of interaction between the states. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis and economic crisis of 2020 fostered the deglobalising tendencies in the World as the borders remained closed and economic nationalism spiked. Nevertheless, the Russian scholar Marina Lebedeva maintains that the process of world liberalisation is non-linear and comes in waves [Lebedeva 2007] and thereby, the backlash of liberalisation might still occur. In contrast, my core assumption goes that the third decade of the twenty-first century will give rise to the global multipolarity in which will young political leaders encounter the necessity of dealing with multiple peer competitors at the same time, i.e. finding consensus to coexist within multiple interests [Turner 2009; Monteiro 2012]. Assessment of the material capabilities of actors in the 21st century via CINC points out that the most materially potent actors are the US, China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil and EU27. Even though considering the EU as an actor of international relations is still a vastly debated notion, I believe that it will become one of the strongest actors in the structure. As the CINC model demonstrates (see Figure 1), China, the US and India are the most materially potent actors. However, India is an economically underachieving and technologically undeveloped power, making it a regional power. We, however, added EU27 and Brazil to the future global balance of power. Counting material capabilities of EU27 aligned the Union with the major actors such as India, Russia and the US. Figure 1. Global Balance of Power in the 21st Century (% Share on distribution of material capabilities amongst the selected actors) Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, World Bank,, Understanding the behavioural patterns in structure with multiple centres of power requires clarifying misconceptions about such configurations. First, multipolarity as the architecture with multiple equal or near equal centres of power, as the mid-nineteenth-century comparison of national material capabilities points out (see Figure 1), Russia was twice as weak as Great Britain. At the same time, Russia was twice as capable as Austro-Hungary. If we take a look at the 21st century data[78], these demonstrate that the China and US are by far the most capable powers in the system. Stressing the importance of technological advances, economic development, alliance potential and soft power, the US remains the strongest actor in the system. However, the comparison of the historical and contemporary data points out that the 19th-century structure was nothing like the concert of the equal powers. We should not expect that to happen in the twenty-first century. Figure 2 . The Correlates of War Project Source: Authors calculation[79] Moreover, the second misconception draws analogies of the contemporary multipolar structure with 19th-century multipolar structure [Lo 2015]. First, as a relatively stable configuration with multiple centres of power, setting the rules of the game and disciplining those who violated them[80]. Alternatively, as Lo maintains, the great powers determine the arrangements and rules of international politics and, crucially, abide by them. No single power may be allowed to threaten the status quo or assume disproportionate power… Smaller states know their place and frame national policies with due regard for the interests of the major powers. The latter do not interfere in one another’s domestic affairs. And security - or at least their security - is collective and indivisible [Lo 2015:43]. In contrast, the concept of stability in multipolar power configuration is often misguided by the durability of such configurations [Wohlforth 1999]. The analysis of the nineteenth century points out that the Concert of Europe was not a stable configuration, but rather a system of balance of power with agreed rules to which the great powers did not stick automatically. The unification of Germany accompanied the predatory foreign policy and wars with France and Austro-Hungary that were the core of the elite club formed after the Napoleonic Wars. Russia and Britain were fighting wars in Central Asia and the Crimean War[81]. Furthermore, Scholars drawing historical analogies with the 19th century do not consider that the poles do not require the Cold War-like bonded orders in their spheres of influence. Even under such tightly ordered conditions, the rift between the Soviet Union and China has occurred. That being said, the globally dispersed distribution of power favour more loose orders of the pole’s spheres of influence, i.e. thin orders [Mearsheimer 2018]. I add here that the rules of interaction are mostly agreed upon once the structure settles in the relatively firm configuration, i.e. once the redistribution of power finishes. The high likelihood of the future multipolar structure predicts the Schweller and Pu, or Barry Posen, among many others. I agree with their notions, and one must agree that the states and their elites, especially the new ones, will likely determine the significant patterns of interactions in international affairs. The coming multipolar configuration will not necessarily be violent, although the current patterns of interaction indicate a certain level of competitiveness. The old elites lived through the Cold War what influences their political thinking. This is, perhaps, one of the main reasons why the contemporary political discourse is driven by parallels with the Cold War when it comes to great power relations. However, the new elites will comprise of people born on the verge or after the Cold War. Therefore, the Cold War thinking will likely absent from their mental and skill equipment. As our CINC model points out, we are entering a multipolar era with China, the US as leading actors, while Russia shows an impressive skill in using asymmetry in power to its advantage despite its relatively small material capabilities. At the same time, India, Brazil and possibly the EU will likely take part in global leadership, too. Multipolar configurations are known for their disruptive properties. The last multipolar structure ended with World War II, while most of the whole-systemic wars in the modern history of international relations broke out in multipolarity. Although, Richard Rosencrance found out that conflicts in multipolarity are of lesser magnitude but greater intensity than in bipolar configurations [Rosencrance 1964]. Most scholars agree that multipolarity is especially dangerous due to behavioural patterns such as predation, hard-balancing, or buck-passing. Incentives for such behaviour are structural, as, with the growing number of actors, the rate of interests and power calculations grows. For instance, Napoleon’s victories, to a large extent, determined the buck-passing of Britain and Russia, while Napoleon skillfully used the power calculus of his opponents to gain preponderance. Napoleonic Wars, therefore, demonstrate the complexity of the multipolar configurations. Moreover, the behaviour of states is mainly driven by the balance of power politics in multipolar configurations. Thus, one should expect the competitive nature of international relations. However, competition is not the only behavioural pattern in multipolarity. In his piece Origins of Alliances, Stephen Walt offers an explanation for cooperative behaviour between the states as these form balancing coalitions against threats [Walt 1979]. Walt’s theory applies to the contemporary situation as we face the numerous systemic threats that could lead to cooperative behaviour of political elites. Nonetheless, the future leaders will need a deep understanding of balancing behaviour and the perils of buck-passing and tackling the predatory regional powers such as contemporary Turkey, Iran. What policies should future leaders pursue We are entering a multipolar era in which political leaders must think in the balance of power dimension. That said, the new generation of political leaders needs to embrace realism with all its observations about human nature and the structure of international relations. Therefore, the central principle of future international affairs will entail the balancing behaviour to tackle predatory states. The next generation leaders must avoid the buck-passing that would lead to disbalances in the structure. At the same time, future leadership must understand the perils of multiplied interests defined as power calculus. The skillset of next-generation political leaders should entail the global dimension of political thought as the current generation grew up during the peaking globalisation. However, it was Western-led globalisation that we have witnessed so far. The era of the globalised World in the 21st century carries the attribute - multipolar with it. That being said, the next generations will not witness the liberalisation of international affairs but a truly globalised arena based on the interests and perspectives of almost every continent. Therefore, the truly global dimension of political thought will require a certain degree of pragmatism that does not draw on a particular ideology and does not require applying that ideology globally. At least for now, liberalism as prevalent political thinking in the West is in retreat and pursuing the policies aiming to spread liberalism globally will undoubtedly lead to instabilities as we have witnessed in Russia - West relations or US-China relations. Thus, genuinely global means truly realist and unideological with mutual respect towards internal political systems of other peer competitors. Otherwise, the balancing coalitions to counter the assertiveness of particular actors will occur as states tend to balance against threats. To solve global insurgencies such as Climate Change, Pandemics, Industry 4.0, or inter-state disputes, future leaders must work multilaterally and seek international consensus even though the call for multilateralism in structure with the prevalent balance of power logic might appear as contradictive. Every structure, however, is unique, and the world politics of tomorrow does not necessarily entail suspicious and violent inter-state behaviour. That said, the coming multipolarity does not necessarily foretell the violent competition for scarce resources and balance of power, although these behavioural patterns are likely to occur, too. Schweller and Pu, predict that the coming multipolar structure will form order organised around regional powers that will maintain the system of alliances in which middle powers and small states will likely freeride on the preponderant actors. These regional sub-systems will likely form ad-hoc coalitions to balance the threats or to tackle global issues. Suppose the future leadership embrace the logic of balancing on the global level and deal with the harsh consequences of the Climate Change, or Pandemics. In that case, we could label it as global crisis management based on balancing of a sort. For such a task, however, future leaders need to understand the balance of power logic and the importance of multilateralism in global affairs at the same time. Climate Change The global challenge that Climate Change represents is perhaps one of the most abridging topics in contemporary science. Scholars across the World agree on the climate emergency, despite their different optics on a wide range of issues. Climate change is becoming the central topic in global political discourse and will remain as such for decades from now. That said, the coming political elite is going to face the harsh consequences of climate change. At the same time, most of this generation will already have their personal experience with it, i.e. their understanding of the issue will not just reflect scientific warnings and gloomy studies but also awareness of the reality that will shape the future world politics. The World is already encountering increased migration due to climate change, water wars, or icecap melting due to the rise of temperatures on the poles. That being said, the climate change linked geopolitical hardships such as the cases of Nile Basin conflicts or Middle Eastern struggles for water, together with humanitarian crises such as climate-related migration from Africa and Central America are already setting the agenda for world politics [Podesta 2019]. However, some states are still reluctant to adapt their strategies to recent developments or follow cooperative behaviour patterns. Therefore, future political leaders will have to deal with the consequences of climate change on various levels. Most importantly, underplaying or even questioning the climate change by future political elites will cause pathological behaviour that we witnessed in the past few decades. Such behaviour contributed to a reluctant global response as it lacked the firm commitment of the biggest polluters in the World, such as the US and China. Therefore, the recognition of climate change severity is the first and foremost requirement in future leadership. In the case of human migration, leaders will have to understand logistics and resource management. As the recent migration crisis in Europe points out, the migrants will not be able to secure their basic needs. At the same time, the subsequent problem of inter-cultural migration is the integration model that would work. The intensifying competition for scarce resources amongst actors most affected by climate change will challenge future leadership in conflict resolution. However, also a nuanced approach to impacted regions, especially to the cultural, religious, political, regional specifics and, most importantly, a very fragile status quo that needs to be preserved, otherwise the whole regions can succumb to bloody conflicts. Furthermore, hi-tech development will play a crucial role in tackling the climate crisis. Increasingly worsening agricultural effectivity, water recycling, or efficient and clean energy sources are the key elements in combating the crisis. Thus, future leaders must be able to overcome business interests and seek fundamental technological advances that are efficient and green at the same time. Moreover, cooperation amongst the leading states is vital to tackling climate change. If the cooperation patterns prevail, we will have a chance to tackle the biggest challenge in the modern history of humankind. However, if future leaders pursue lust for power, world problems will deepen, and humanitarian crises as wars for scarce resources and inhabitable territories will occur. Policy Recommendation for Leaders of Tomorrow However, crises like climate change cannot be managed on the regional level as these require a high degree of international cooperation. Thus, future leaders need to understand the scope of the crisis what requires strategic thinking and crisis management to deal with the damage that has been already done. Future leaders, as crisis managers, need to understand the art of diplomacy that is not only the art of balancing [Kissinger 2000] but also the art of consensus. Consensual politics means understanding that world politics is not a zero-sum game and meeting the peers’ demands means averting costly wars or ecologic disaster in future. Future political leaders are certainly going to approach the climate crisis with more understanding as they are being confronted with it from their very childhood. Protection of the oceans, ground and air is already one of the significant political agendas. Even though the current debate is often narrated by tech-lobby trying to sell not very efficient green ideas, the increasing pace of climate change will press the world leaders to adopt more efficient solutions in emergent situations. At the same time, equipping the Third World with green technology will undoubtedly become a topic of the next generation political leaders because developing countries without environmental awareness and means to protect the environment will not fully participate in the genuinely global green agendas. And finally, the global biggest polluters such as the US, China, and India must embrace green policies, and their future leaders must understand the scope of the issue beyond their own economic development. Industrial Revolution 4.0 The Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterised by the fusion of physical, digital, and biological technologies, will have profound social and economic consequences [Soh, Connolly 2020]. Drastic changes in the economic and technological organisation of society created a set of instabilities throughout history. The eighteenth-century industrial revolution caused migration to the industrial cities, and the new social class, bourgeoisie, has formed. Most importantly, the first industrial revolution caused the fall of feudalism. The second industrial revolution started in the second half of the nineteenth century, attributed to the implementation of science to the manufacturing process and the spread of Marxism and nationalism that determined social movements and politics for the next hundred years. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the third industrial revolution attributed more interconnected and interdependent globalised World. World wide web, data cumulation and fast travel networks enabled ideas and people to travel at an unprecedented rate. This phenomena has caused more concerns about the consequences of wars in distant regions or made the great power wars rather marginal phenomenon than the usual pattern of inter-state interaction. The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is challenging society and politics in many respects. Problematic internet regulation and the data harvesting oriented business models of tech giants such as Facebook and Google raise many questions regarding internet user protection. Big data analytics enables political parties to gather data that are precisely describing what voters strive for and what their current moods are. At the same time, the introduction of artificial intelligence enables political parties to disseminate contradicting messages to various electoral groups via social media. These technologies are well documented in the cases of Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ during the BREXIT campaign. Therefore, disinformation campaigns and populism are the significant challenges of the political system in democratic states. As part of Industry 4.0, robotisation is expected to hit the labour market mostly in low-skill / low-pay industries like manufacturing. Waves of unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor will likely create social unrests. Klaus Schwab describes the effects of the robotisation of the economy on the labour market. “This will give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into ‘low-skill/low-pay’ and ‘high-skill/high-pay’ segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions” [Schwab 2018]. As part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, cyberwarfare will also impact the nature of national and international security, affecting both the likelihood and the nature of the conflict. We are witnessing intensifying industrial espionage via cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns and even strikes on the critical infrastructure of nation-states. The history of warfare and international security is the history of technological innovation, and today is no exception. Modern conflicts involving states are increasing “hybrid” in nature, combining traditional battlefield techniques with elements previously associated with non-state actors. As Klaus Schwab concludes: “the distinction between war and peace, combatant and non-combatant, and even violence and nonviolence (think cyberwarfare) is becoming uncomfortably blurry”. Policy Recommendation for Leaders of Tomorrow Industrial revolution 4.0 already changes the industry’s face and the economy and politics with it. Dealing with the reorganisation of labour distribution requires skilled managers and visionaries who will find ways how to shape not only the labour market in order to avert peaking unemployment rates and social tensions but also the reorganisation of education systems that will produce a workforce adapted to the Industry 4.0 and even Industry 5.0 - the interaction and collaboration between man and the machine. There is no doubt that data will drive the political behaviour of tomorrow. Precise information about the population has become the mighty weapon in big tech companies and techno-authoritarian states such as China. Those with access to data will become future leaders as they gain the most precise information about the populations they aim to lead. However, it remains uncomfortably blurry whether future leaders will use the data as a source for building strong and successful societies and states or predate on them. Not to mention the lack of regulation of data usage that spurs debates today and will set an agenda for political leaders of tomorrow. Populism and disinformation campaigns are part of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Efficient data harvesting methods changed the way how political parties formulate their message, and AI enabled them to disseminate personalised message into various communities. That being said, the system of political parties and values-based politics is being pushed back with the populist leaders without their own ideas and values. Suppose the new generation of political leaders will embrace populistic communication, i.e. the message obtained from the voter and emotively retold back to the masses. In that case, world politics will lack skilled managers and great thinkers, whereas most of the work will do the analytical models and AI algorithms through the mouth of the political elite. Alas, the challenges that lie ahead require talented crisis managers and great thinkers and visionaries that will lead the World in uncertain times. Pandemics Pandemics are here to stay. Deadly diseases are known for their dangerous properties for thousands of years. Plagues ravaged the ancient civilisations, medieval World and in years 1918-19 succumbed to Spanish Flu outbreak from 50-100 million people making it 2,7-5,4% of the world population. Global pandemics are a feature of human history and will remain as one. However, what states can do is prepare for such events. In 2005, Michael Osterholm published in Foreign Affairs an article called Preparing for Next Pandemic. He draws on observations from H5N1 that was circulating in Asia at the time. It is striking how precisely he describes the effects of the pandemics on states, the period of vaccine development and the devastating economic consequences. Furthermore, Osterholm even outlines the preparation system for the next pandemic that might buy us some time until the vaccine is developed. Moreover, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), as part of WHO, published in 2019 a report in which calls upon the state elites to increase preparations for global pandemics. Global pandemics’ disastrous impact starts with overwhelmed healthcare systems and vast economic consequences resulting in economic crises. It is often assumed that the Great Depression resulted from the influenza outbreak (see Garret[82]; Barro, Ursua[83]), while the latest example of the H5N1 crises illustrates the destructive potential on services, transportation and tourism. Therefore, states must prepare for such unexpected events, or when there are first signs of the outbreak abroad, start with the preparation. The current COVID-19 situation calls upon strategic communities to create a crisis-ready environment and eliminate the reaction time to international humanitarian crises. Policy Recommendation for Leaders of Tomorrow COVID-19 global emergency draws on how states react to the global crises in a multipolar world. Initial reactions to the crises from the most powerful actors were to secure their own needs, such as the US, Germany, China or France, point out. All of those actors firstly secured supplies for domestic needs and then offered help abroad, if at all. Therefore, this self-centred behaviour demonstrates how states will likely react to global emergencies in multipolarity. As I pointed out earlier, creating a separate sub-system with dominant regional power(s) will perhaps move the responsibility from the worldwide level to the regional one. The EU is a vivid example of how international crisis management will look like in conditions of global multipolarity. Despite the initial problems, the Union had put together historical stimulus and manages the market with medical supplies in the Schengen area. Regarding global health emergencies, leaders of tomorrow are ahead of a difficult task. Failure of WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic was not the agency’s fault but also a failure of multilateralism as the most powerful countries focused on self-help. There was very little done to help the Third World countries demonstrate that most Western pharma companies denied the export of their recently developed vaccines to Africa and Latin America. Besides the China and Russia took advantage of the Western vaccine nationalism and supplied their vaccines to the periphery, such behaviour can be dangerous when the disease mutates in the overlooked regions and returns vaccine-resistant. Therefore, future leaders must reform the WHO or establish similar organisations capable of addressing the disease’s outbreaks in their own capacity. Summary In contrast to the other historical periods, plenty of 21st-century challenges are known and pronounced on a daily basis. Yet, one must understand that the precision of prognoses in humanities determines the number of unpredictable externalities that are likely to influence the resulting action. Nevertheless, the recent significant trends are already influencing the new generation of political leaders. In sum, the coming multipolar structure will shape the young political elite in 3 significant ways a) prevailing balance of power will impact the political leadership via increased competitiveness amongst actors and the high number of interests that might cross. Such phenomena will require patient balancers. b) With the growing number of relevant actors, incentives to behave in pathological ways grows, too. Buck-passing and predation are examples of pathological behaviour in multipolar structures. Leaders of tomorrow must be aware of these pathologies and be ready to avoid them via consensual politics, balancing and putting together ad-hoc coalitions against threats c) The 21st-century multipolarity is likely to form within the global economic interdependencies. However, political might will disperse into regional centres of power, i.e. regional hegemons. That said, competition between the particular blocks is already in motion and is likely to intensify in years to come. Although, as states balance against threats the future global emergencies such as Climate Change or Pandemics have the potential to gather states to the unified response. However, this requires the political leadership that understands the urgent need for cooperation and visionaries that can make compromises and consensual foreign policy. However, the multipolar structure is only the structural configuration illustrating the possible behavioural patterns in international affairs. External phenomenon such as climate change, technological advances, and global health emergencies will drastically impact future political agendas. With ongoing climate change, future leaders must focus on implementing green technology and tightening technological gaps between developing and developed countries. Equipping the Third World with green technology will undoubtedly become a topic of the next generation political leaders because the climate emergency is a global emergency. All actors are responsible stakeholders of the Earth environment. This argument also entails the health crises such as pandemics. The COVID-19 revealed vaccine nationalism and self-help behavioural patterns, which might lead to insufficient tackling of the global issues that require mutual solutions. Deadly diseases move at an unprecedented pace in a more open and interdependent world of constantly moving transportation. Hence the health crises must be addressed on a global level via establishing health organisations capable of operating in all regions. And finally, technological changes such as robotisation and data-driven models of governance and economy will force future global leaders to make difficult choices. As a result of robotisation, the workers without a university degree will encounter hardships of unemployment. Future leaders will have to devise employment strategies to replace manufacturing jobs and satisfy the needs of their population. Furthermore, the race for controlling the data has already begun. This technological advance gives a powerful tool to the hand of future leaders, but a powerful weapon with it. Indeed, politicians will struggle over data control with big tech companies such as Google and Facebook. At the same time, techno-autocratic states such as China will grow in power as they limitlessly use the data about their population. The future leaders, therefore, will stumble upon the data usage dilemma. Moreover, the failure of liberalism as a leading world ideology that has turned democratisation into a bloody and destabilising phenomenon indicates the crisis of political values. One might argue that the values are not as important as the balance of power in the age of multipolarity. However, without shared beliefs amongst the future political leadership, the will to cooperate during global emergencies is likely to absent, and agreements will be hardly born. Even though the forming generation of political leaders is shaped by worsening Climate Change, the pandemic of COVID-19 and intensifying great power competition, this does not necessarily mean that they will embrace the heritage of our history. Therefore, the protection of the environment, art of consensus, cultural tolerance and non-intervening approach into sensitive political systems in remote regions of the World appear to represent not only desired skills but also a crucial set of values that the future political leaders need to embrace in order to tackle the occurring crises and world development in a peaceful manner.


About the authors

Jozef Hrabina

MGIMO University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4335-2172

Postgraduate of the Department of Applied International Analysis; Visiting Lecturer of the School of Government and International Affairs

Moscow, Russian Federation


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