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Expect the Unexpected

Ten Situations to Keep an Eye On

SWP Research Paper 2012/RP 01, 20.01.2012, 49 Pages Research Areas

The individual elements that come together to create the crises and problems politicians and policy-makers find themselves dealing with are generally already well-known. It is their interaction that is unpredictable, and therefore not plannable. Unplanned situations are increasingly becoming the norm, especially in the international context, as globalisation accelerates the speed of events and the number of actors exerting direct or indirect influence grows apace. Of course we cannot predict the exact situations in the foreign policy and security environment that German politicians will have to respond and adapt to. This study outlines possible future scenarios that are deserving of special attention because the situations they could create would present great challenges to Germany and Europe.

We present ten conceivable situations of this kind chosen from different fields of foreign and security policy; situations with which Germany, the European Union and the international community could find themselves unexpectedly confronted. The themes range from major disruption of Saudi oil exports through the idea that the Americans or Chinese might apply enormously risky technologies to tackle climate change to the potential impact of secession movements within EU member-states.

Table of Contents


Guido Steinberg / Kirsten Westphal
»Pumps Dry«: No More Oil from Saudi Arabia

Stephan Roll
»A Radiant Future«? Nuclear Power in the Arab World

Susanne Dröge
Geoengineering Looming: Climate Control the American or Chinese Way

Oliver Geden
The End of Climate Policy as We Knew It

Daniela Schwarzer
Eurozone Crisis: Danger of Blockade by Net Contributors

Kai-Olaf Lang / Nicolai von Ondarza
The Return of Moving Borders? Secession and Regional Independence within the European Union

Dušan Reljic
Border Changes on the Cards again in the Western Balkans

Günter Seufert
Cyprus Divided: An Outcome of European Disunity and Turkish Strength

Asiem El Difraoui
The Arab Spring: A Golden Opportunity for Global Jihad?

Hanns Günther Hilpert
End Game in North Korea: Will Kim III Endure?