The World in 2022

Back to the Future?

The World in 2022

Back to the Future?

The world went through 2021 with bated breath. It was the year of the global recovery following the most intense waves of the pandemic, but also of the energy price crisis. It was the year of ambitious vaccination campaigns as well as “great inflation”. Much of this year already projects us into the future: from the challenges of the green and digital transitions, to the ambitious (and already contested) investment plans launched by the US and Europe. However, much of this year also casts us back to the past, between an increasingly less “global” globalization, the growing rivalry between China and the US – a new cold war? –, and a pandemic that is anything but defeated. In short, next year might look like a “back to the future” kind of scenario, which ISPI’s “The World in 2022″ dossier investigates.

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Back to a Forever Virus?

David Quammen, Author of "Spillover"

The pandemic will still be at the center stage of international relations. It’ll be imperative to improve health systems and cooperation.


Back to Inflation?

Marco Buti, European Commission

Europe’s economic activity has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. However, the recovery also entails new challenges.

Climate & Energy:

Back to Black?

Hillard Huntington, Standford University

Many are opting out of international agreements set to reduce emissions. Is this the end of the road for the energy transition?


Back to Oblivion?

Ghassan Salamé, Sciences Po

Nonwithstanding the U.S.’ disengagement, the Middle East will not disappear into global powers’ oblivion.


Back to Trump(ism)?

Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University

The challenges of global politics and difficulties within the Democratic party could add fuel to Trumpism in next year’s midterms.


Back to the Nuclear Deal?

Cornelius Adebahr, Carnegie Europe

The nuclear deal talks are dragging on. As the US won’t lift sanctions on Iran, the latter continues its uranium enrichment programme.

... the Future?


The New Shortage?

Roger Ferguson & Upmanyu Lahiri, CFR

In 2022, the global supply chain crunch will worsen.Unless the current crisis will prompt action to address some of its underlying issues.


The New Rift?

Romina Boarini, OECD WISE

The pandemic has exposed and accelerated inequalities. Addressing the social gap must be part of the post-pandemic recovery.


The New Normal?

Marc Levinson, Economist and Historian

Globalization as we know it will change. Disruptive changes in industrial production and demand are contributing to this phenomenon.

Society and Protests:

The New (and Old) Anger?

Yves Mény, EUI

2021 has settled the role gained by street protests in recent years. Is it one of the symptoms of social evolution?


The New Rule(r)s?

Andrea Renda, CEPS

Tech giants will gain more and more power. Their social and political impact will be difficult to predict and control.


Crises to watch


Antonio Giustozzi,
King's College London

After the US withdrawal, Afghanistan seems to be heading towards humanitarian collapse in the new year.


Federica Saini Fasanotti,
The Brookings Institution and ISPI

For Libya, 2021 will end with the betrayed hope of a change of course. The now postponed elections can only be the first step of a bigger transition.


Martin Plaut,
King's College London

Tigray’s campaign was to last only a few weeks. Instead, it risks of escalating into one of Africa’s worst famines.

Western Sahara

Andrew Lebovich,

Western Sahara’s crisis is one of the longest lasting in international politics and will continue in 2022.

Leaders to watch

Olaf Scholz

Matthew Karnitschnig,
Politico EU

Germany’s new Chancellor ought to not deviate from Merkel’s pathway. A domestic political mission among many international challenges.

Tsai Ing-Wen

Susan Thornton,
Yale University

In 2022, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen will pursue the leitmotif of recent years: resisting the encirclement syndrome.

Elections to watch


Marc Lazar,
Sciences Po

Macron’s second mandate or a far-right victory would have consequences for Italy and Europe’s crossroad between centrism and populism.


Roberta Braga,
National Endowment for Democracy

Regardless of the outcome, Brazil’s election will reveal the deep divisions running through the country.

Trend to watch

The New Geopolitics of Sport

Natalie Koch,
Syracuse University

2022 will begin and end with two major sporting events: the Beijing Winter Olympics and the World Cup in Qatar.

Borders to watch


Tatiana Kastoueva-Jean, IFRI

Russian troops on the Ukrainian border ring the alarm bell for a possible invasion. A geopolitical rather than military strategy.

The Mediterranean

Matteo Villa,

Migrant flows across the Mediterranean will increase, though there won’t be a real turning point in immigration policies.

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