The process of constructing a new multipolar world, which will probably take decades to complete and whose boundaries may only become clear by 2020, is just as important as the process which ended the Cold War some 20 years ago. The United States, as the only global superpower, is increasingly confronted by the growing influence of Asia, with a clear dominance of China and the mounting importance of India. After the chaos of the first post-Soviet decade, Russia is resuming its role as an important, influential actor in international relations; while determined regional powers, such as Indonesia, Iran and Brazil - which will want to significantly influence developments in Latin America - are emerging in the world political arena.
Japan remains an influential actor and its military ambitions are growing. In the western part of Eurasia is the European Union with 27 members, a population of almost half a billion and a single currency - the Euro - which has begun to compete with the dominant US dollar. The Middle East will also become an important player not only due to the vast raw-material resources located in its territories, but also because of the growing political impact of radical Islam, which has its home-base in the region.
Trends could be documented by means of forecasting the development in terms of the GDP of the main actors of world development. This work sets out to identify and explore some of the more important trends in current international relations and projects them over a twenty to thirty year period. The main argument resounds around the mounting evidence that international relations is moving towards the re-establishment of a multipolar system, with many new states and other political communities joining the more established powers in both setting the limits and boundaries within international relations as well as providing new pressure points and avenues of contrast and competition.
To explore the potential future of international relations, this work takes several snap-shots of some of the more important international actors (the US, China, Russia, India and the EU) and assesses what actual and potential roles these actors will play in international relations. Also, this work looks the Middle East, as a region, to highlight some of the impacts it is currently having and may continue to have on international affairs.