Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Dangerous Decade

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Dangerous Decade

A Foreign Policy for a World in Crisis

Foreign Affairs,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The 2020s are seeing a convergence of perils old and new, requiring a novel approach.

Editorial Rating



  • Bold
  • Overview
  • For Experts


Shifting alliances in a world that has seen a resurgent China, a bellicose Russia and an attenuated America spell trouble, writes foreign policy expert Richard Haass in this sobering assessment. At a time in which the West no longer predominates and power is dispersed among a greater number of states, America needs to strengthen its defenses and maintain diplomatic channels with Russia and China. According to Haass, what America seeks to gain may be less important than what it needs to avoid.


A precarious new world order is forming against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons.

Old and new geopolitical threats have come to the fore in the 2020s. China is resurrecting a “great-power” competition with the West for dominance, and Russia is reviving its imperialist ambitions to restore the country’s past glory. Both undermine the current world order by risking confrontation with the West, and the United States in particular. 

Pandemic, climate change and nuclear proliferation only complicate matters, as rivalries intensify and impede collaboration. America’s internal struggle between globalists and nativists compromises its standing and willingness to lead. A vicious cycle ensues, as states vie for geopolitical supremacy and hamper much-needed global cooperation...

About the Author

Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Comment on this summary