At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty prevails.
The greatest error that geopolitical analysts can make may be believing that the crisis will be over in three to four months, as the world’s leaders have been implying. As documented in The Atlantic and elsewhere, public-health experts make a compelling case that COVID-19 could be with us in one way or another until a vaccine comes on the market or herd immunity is achieved — either of which could take 12 to 18 months, unless we get lucky with a cure or an effective treatment before then.
A long crisis, which is more likely than not, could stretch the international order to its breaking point.
Even after a vaccine is available, life will not go back to normal. COVID-19 was not a black swan and will not be the last pandemic. A nervous world will be permanently changed.
COVID-19 is the fourth major geopolitical shock in as many decades. In each of the previous three, analysts and leaders grossly underestimated the long-term impact on their society and on world politics.