2024 Global Forecast

A World Dividing

- Foreword from CSIS President & CEO Dr. John Hamre -

A World Dividing! One could argue this title makes no sense. In all of human history, we cannot point to a time when our human world was unified. Mighty empires existed millennia ago, but their geography was limited, as was their remit beyond their capital cities. When the Soviet Union collapsed, commentators labeled the initial years the “unipolar world,” yet that sounded either congratulatory or paranoid, depending on the author’s perspective.

Today it feels the world is dividing fundamentally. Globe-spanning commercial networks have dominated the last 30 years. Countries have lowered barriers to trade and investment. Farmers in the U.S. Midwest track soybean prices in China. Visa-free travel has become the objective for much of the world. For consumers, the lowest price trumps any preference for local production.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping addresses the third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection CCDI on Jan. 8, 2024. | Pang Xinglei/Xinhua via Getty Images

Part I

The China Challenge

CSIS experts offer diverse perspectives and policy solutions around the most critical questions facing U.S.-China relations in 2024: How can the United States and its allies deter Chinese military activity and counter economic coercion? What will it take for the United States to outcompete China in the tech race? And how can the United States enhance its geopolitical standing as China aggressively expands its global reach? 

A semiconductor

Part II

Winning the Economic & Tech Race

The contours of global economic and tech competition are rapidly shifting. Experts from across CSIS offer their policy solutions to strengthen U.S. competitiveness on trade, manufacturing, and energy and climate security—issues that will define U.S. economic security in the twenty-first century.

Part III

Conflict Zones

Two years into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as the war in Gaza continues, CSIS experts offer their views on what to expect on the battlefield in 2024. Scholars analyze the outlook for Ukraine’s military operations, whether Western support will hold, and what is needed to begin rebuilding the Ukrainian economy. At the same time, experts address the most critical questions about the long-term consequences of the Israel-Hamas conflict for the Middle East.

Part IV

Vying for Influence in the Global South

CSIS experts analyze the key areas that will define the battle for influence in the Global South, with a look at regional diplomatic strategy, the humanitarian agenda, global health leadership, climate adaptation, and global food and water security.


Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen is executive vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. In this role, he serves as deputy to the president and CEO, responsible for overseeing and helping to achieve all aspects of the Center’s strategic, programmatic, operational, outreach, fundraising, and financial goals, including recruitment of new program directors to CSIS. Previously, Mr. Cohen served as vice president for research and programs, deputy chief of staff, and fellow in the International Security Program. He has served as editor of two anthologies of CSIS work, Global Forecast 2012 and Global Forecast 2011, as well as director of a project sponsored by the National Intelligence Council that produced the report Capacity and Resolve on foreign assessments of U.S. power. Mr. Cohen codirected the CSIS Commission on Smart Power in 2007 and authored A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan (CSIS, 2007). Mr. Cohen served as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2006. Prior to joining CSIS, he worked with the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations in Rwanda, Azerbaijan, Malawi, and the former Yugoslavia. He received a master’s degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and an undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Alex Kisling

Alex Kisling is vice president of communications at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he works alongside the chief communications officer to direct the Center’s press, digital and social media, and other external engagement efforts. He also oversees the Center’s broadcasting and publications functions. Kisling was previously the director of strategic communications at the Atlantic Council, where he served as the organization’s spokesman, oversaw the Council’s media relations portfolio, and managed comprehensive communications planning for the Council’s programs and experts. He worked for nearly a decade at the leading public affairs firms Kivvit and Public Strategies Washington conceptualizing and managing high-profile strategic communications and public policy advocacy campaigns that shaped policymaker opinion in Washington and across the United States. He began his career on Capitol Hill as an aide to Congressman Steve Driehaus (OH). He earned his bachelor's degree from Trinity College (CT).

iDeas Lab Story Production

Design, management & production by: Sarah B. Grace
Cover by: Gina Kim & Will Taylor
Copyediting support by: Jeeah Lee & Katherine Stark

Photo Credits

The China Challenge: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping addresses the third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection CCDI on Jan. 8, 2024. | Pang Xinglei/Xinhua via Getty Images
Winning the Economic & Tech Race: A wafer is seen at SEMICON 2023, an annual international trade fair for the semiconductor technology industry, in Taipei, Taiwan. | Walid Berrazeg/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Conflict Zones: (Top) A Ukrainian woman in military uniform with an automatic rifle waits during an exercise in November 2023 in Kyiv during a training program for civilians. | Dmytro Larin/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images. (Bottom) Smoke billows after an Israeli strike as flares are also dropped over north Gaza on November 22, 2023. | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images
Vying for Influence in the Global South: The national flags of participating nations are seen during the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in October 2023. | Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images