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What if....? Scanning the horizon: 12 scenarios for 2021

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Foresight is about choice, decision and action – and not, as is repeated time and again, predicting the future and getting it wrong.

This Chaillot Paper aims to alert decision-makers to potential developments with significant strategic impact while they can still prepare for, or even avoid them. This is done using two methods combined: horizon-scanning as well as single scenario-building. Taken together, they produce plausible events set in 2021 – with strategic ramifications well beyond that. All 12 scenarios in this Chaillot Paper reflect the expertise and imagination of the researchers who wrote them: some explore potential conflicts, while others look at disruptive political developments, or indeed at crises with significant ramifications.

That said, all are designed in the hope of drawing attention to foreign and security policy aspects which are potentially overlooked, and all are extrapolated from ongoing and recent developments.