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Geostrategy pulse check

27 May 2021 Lindsay Newman, Ph.D.

As we continue to consider the critical issues that are likely to shape the geopolitical landscape in coming years, our experts recently sat down to take the pulse on the latest in vaccine diplomacy and global vaccine supply, the US administration's domestic and international policy objectives, recent developments in the Middle East, China's likely direction of travel and leadership on the climate agenda.

Global vaccination campaign

With the world nearly six months into the global vaccination efforts, it is increasingly clear that the vaccine rollout has not been uniform and there are a host of risks we identified early on that are proving robust. These include reliance on external sources of vaccine supply, vaccine producers leveraging vaccine diplomacy (and vaccine nationalism), the gap between contracted vaccine supply and successful access and rollout, protracted vaccine rollouts raising threats of civil unrest, and increasingly, government instability.

US Administration

The Biden administration, building on the American Rescue Plan, has set out a vision for economic and industrial transformation in the US behind the follow-up American Jobs Plan and the American Family Plan. Yet there are critical domestic dynamics that have the potential to constrain this agenda including polarization in the US political system, migration pressures, and climate risks.

China strategic goals

China's 2021 policy direction continues to focus on supporting recovery from COVID-19 impacts, mitigation of financial risks, and maintaining governance stability. In the longer term, the recently approved Five-Year Plan targets support for technological "self-sufficiency" in both core competencies and emerging industries, in addition to promoting domestic consumption and address China's supply chain vulnerabilities. The Communist Party of China will celebrate its centenary anniversary in July 2021, and the current administration, under General Secretary Xi Jinping, is likely preparing for the upcoming sixth and seventh Plenary Sessions of the Central Committee, followed by the Party Congress, likely in late-2022. It is likely that a decision will be made on power transition following the successive rounds of meetings, as president Xi is expected to complete his second term as the president of China in Q1 2023.

Climate agenda

The "Leaders Summit on Climate" in April, only three months after President Biden's inauguration, re-established US leadership in the climate world and demonstrated a degree of solidarity among 40 nations and global institutions that transcended other tensions. A number of countries strengthened emissions reduction targets ahead of the next UN Climate Change conference in November (COP26 in Glasgow), but much more needs to happen to establish frameworks, milestones, and laws. We continue to track what stakeholders are proposing around energy transitions, net-zero emissions targets, clean technology, carbon pricing, and national actions.

If you are interested in a deeper dive into these topics, you can watch our event on-demand. Watch now

Posted 27 May 2021 by Lindsay Newman, Ph.D., Director, Economics & Country Risk, IHS Markit

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