Issue Brief

Jun 1, 2020

Taking stock: Where are geopolitics headed in the COVID-19 era?

By Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, and Barry Pavel

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed pressure points in the global order and threatens to unravel the rules-based international system. This paper examines the geopolitical implications of the pandemic by identifying key strategic shocks and tensions exacerbated by the virus. It also identifies uncertainties for the global order and provides policy recommendations for how the United States and its allies should address the pandemic.

China Coronavirus

Atlantic Council Strategy Paper Series

Jul 7, 2020

A global strategy for shaping the post-COVID-19 world

By Jeffrey Cimmino, Rebecca Katz, Matthew Kroenig, Josh Lipsky, Barry Pavel

The COVID-19 pandemic is an acute public health and economic crisis that is further destabilizing an already weakened rules-based international system. With cooperation, determination, and resolve, however, the United States and its allies can recover from the crisis and revitalize an adapted rules-based system to bring about decades of future freedom, peace, and prosperity.

China Coronavirus

Barry Pavel (Senior Vice President and Director, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council) speaks at the Atlantic Council event, Reports Launch: Shaping the Post-COVID-19 World Together.


The coronavirus pandemic presents a substantial shock to the postwar order, established by the United States and its allies, which for the past 75 years has promoted liberal democratic values, an open global economy, and formal institutional bodies backed by powerful democratic states.

This framework is a preliminary look at the geopolitical implications of a crisis that is still unfolding. It begins by outlining health and economic prospects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as implications of the United States’ global leadership in weathering the storm.


Have your say

We want to hear from you. Participate in the survey below to let us know which scenarios you think are most likely.

Create your own user feedback survey


The COVID-19 crisis around the world

Coronavirus Alert

Sign up for coronavirus updates

Sign up for a weekly roundup of top expert insights and international news about how coronavirus is reshaping international affairs.