2024 Global Forecast:
A World Dividing - Part III


A Ukrainian soldier stands in the foregound, while smoke over Gaza is seen in the background

The last two years have witnessed significant global developments that brought geopolitics back to center stage and exacerbated global divisions. The CSIS 2024 Global Forecast—A World Dividing—offers insights from dozens of CSIS scholars on the most urgent questions for the year ahead around security, technology, geoeconomics, alliances, and regional influence.

This third installment of A World Dividing examines conflicts raging in two theaters: Ukraine and the Middle East. Two years into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, CSIS scholars analyze the battlefield outlook, whether Western support for Ukraine will hold, and how to begin rebuilding the Ukrainian economy. At the same time, experts forecast the possible long-term consequences of the Israel-Hamas conflict for Middle East geopolitics and security, as well as the regional economy.

This volume follows the first two installments of A World Dividing, which explore the myriad issues facing U.S.-China competition in 2024 and the rapidly shifting contours of global economic and technology competition. The issues examined in the next installment are of equal importance, with expert insights on the defining factors in the battle for influence in the Global South.

We invite you to explore the diverse perspectives shared in our 2024 Global Forecast to deepen your thinking on these key issues.

Visit A World Dividing to read all installments of the CSIS 2024 Global Forecast, featuring expert insights on U.S.-China relations; the global economic and tech race; and the battle for influence in the Global South.

The Outlook for Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier kneels in the brush

Three Futures for the War in Ukraine:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Mark F. Cancian, Senior Adviser, International Security Program

"Ukrainian and Russian commanders face the problem of World War I on the Western front. To achieve victory, they need to break through the defensive zone and get 'to the green fields beyond,' but that may be out of reach with existing capabilities."

Ukraine faces three scenarios in 2024: the good—Ukraine rebuilds for another offensive and regains some lost territory; the bad—Western aid declines, leading to Ukrainian military deterioration and eventual collapse; and the ugly—a continuing stalemate on the current front lines.

Europe's Surprisingly Reslient Support
for Ukraine Will Be Tested in 2024

Max Bergmann, Director, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program and Stuart Center

"While Europe is stepping up, it will need to do considerably more for both Ukraine and its own defense forces in 2024. That will require Europe taking extraordinary measures at the EU and national levels to ensure Ukraine is able to hold back Russian forces."

Putin's Efforts to Divide the West

Maria Snegovaya, Senior Fellow, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program

"The ongoing political polarization preventing the Western political mainstream from reaching consensus on essential questions, diffuse power structures, and multiple political chokepoints provide a favorable dynamic for the Kremlin to achieve its goals, especially if its propagandist campaigns are successful in convincing Western audiences the war is too costly for them domestically." 

In 2024, Russia will continue exploiting partisan dynamics in the West to further undermine support for Ukraine by using tools such as gas dependencies, disinformation campaigns, and support for populist parties.

Ukraine's Future Depends on a Vibrant Private Sector

Romina Bandura, Senior Fellow, Project on Prosperity and Development,
Project on U.S. Leadership in Development

"Ukraine’s future depends on the outcomes on the battlefield as much as on the economic front."

With the prospect that economic assistance to Ukraine will not last forever, the international community needs to find ways to make the economy more self-sufficient. This involves helping sustain the private sector by providing more predictability and stability for companies operating in Ukraine and creating innovative mechanisms to attract new investments into the country so they can create jobs and generate tax revenues.

A Bumpy Road on Burden Sharing: NATO and Ukraine in 2024

Kathleen McInnis, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, and Director,
Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative

"It is hard to overstate how important a Ukrainian victory—or, at the very least, a Russian loss—is for U.S. and Western interests, broadly defined. Yet it is also hard to overstate how important the issue of allied spending on defense and security (or lack thereof) is to Washington policymakers, some of whom now question why the United States—rather than Europe—must continue supporting Ukraine."

The Future of Congressional Support for Ukraine

Elizabeth Hoffman, Fellow and Director of Congressional and Government Affairs

"A decisive defeat of the Russian military is in the interest of the United States. Therefore, Congress should provide Ukraine with the needed support to accomplish this goal. The longer assistance is delayed, the harder it will be to secure a Ukrainian victory and the more money and lives will be lost in the long run."

Despite waning urgency, bipartisan support in Congress for continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine remains strong. However, political leadership is needed to make the case for sustained assistance to the American people. 

Consequences of
the Israel-Hamas War

Israeli tanks cross a barbed wire fence at a position along the border with the Gaza Strip and southern Israel

Long-Term Implications of the Israel-Hamas War

Eliot A. Cohen, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy

“For Israel, in the years ahead, every day will be October 8 but with the fear that it is October 6. Israel’s sense of security after decades of limited conflict with its neighbors has been shattered.”

Before, there were rounds of fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. What is going on now is qualitatively different: it is a real and consequential war.

Can Israel Learn from U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow, Transnational Threats Project

"Israel, however, faces a different challenge in Gaza than the United States did in Iraq or Afghanistan—in many ways, a much harder one."

Many U.S. lessons from the post-9/11 wars do not apply to Israel's attack on Gaza or must be interpreted in light of the many differences between Israel's war and the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Different Two-State Solution

Jon B. Alterman, Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program

"Israelis may fantasize about a divorce from Palestinians, but their actions for three-quarters of a century have made that increasingly impossible."

The New Forever Wars

Natasha Hall, Senior Fellow, Middle East Program

“Unless the United States commits to rigorous diplomacy to resolve conflicts and properly manage crises, especially those like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the United States has unique leverage, these forever wars will spiral. The compounding damage to U.S. interests is likely to be long lasting.”

In the sunset of unsuccessful U.S. forays in the Middle East, another kind of forever war is emerging and threatens to affect U.S. interests for the next two decades. Local and civil wars, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are dramatically increasing in number, intensity, and length around the world and challenging narrow conceptions of how great power competition will play out.

How Will Israeli Tech Emerge from the Gaza Conflict?

Emily Harding, Director, Intelligence, National Security, and Technology Program, and Deputy Director, International Security Program

"War is by its nature disruptive—to life, business, and society. The longer the war, the greater the economic hit. Israel’s tech sector must once again prove resilient enough to recover and reengage with the global economy."

Ammunition falls on a Palestinian enclave under a dark night sky.

Visit A World Dividing to read all installments of the CSIS 2024 Global Forecast, featuring expert insights on U.S.-China relations; the global economic and tech race; and the battle for influence in the Global South.


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: Sarah B. Grace
Design & production assistance: Gina Kim & Michael Kohler
Development assistance: Gab K. De Jesus & Mariel de la Garza
PDF report design & implementation: William H. Taylor
Video production: Mark Donaldson & Satchi Hover
Audio Briefs by: Marla Hiller
Copyediting support: Jeeah Lee & Katherine Stark
Audio Music by: "If You Build It" by Alon Peretz via Artlist.io

Photo Credits

Cover (left): This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing after an Israeli strike as flares are also dropped over north Gaza on November 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images
Cover (right): A woman in military uniform and with an automatic rifle in her hands stands during an exercise on November 11, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine. | Dmytro Larin/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images
Ukraine: Members of the SPG-9 anti tank recoilless gun crew fires the gun onto Russian positions near the occupied Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on August 14, 2023, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. | Roman Chop/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images
Israel/Hamas War: Israeli tanks cross a barbed wire fence at a position along the border with the Gaza Strip and southern Israel on November 12, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. | Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images
Conclusion: This long exposure picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows Israeli smoke ammunition fired by Israeli troops on the northern part of the Palestinian enclave on November 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images