This Woodrow Wilson Center project identifies and charts the unfolding security trajectory of an early 21st century unpredictable global phenomenon: the ascent of alternative energy as a socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend in the context of the ongoing global technological revolution, the world in disequilibrium, and the new Great Power Competition.

This competition designates a significant shift toward rivalry between major powers that have the capabilities to be a critical threat to each other. These great powers have amassed sufficient military, political, and economic, ideological capacities allowing them to exert influence and compete in strategic areas and even on a global scale. These heightened abilities pose a challenge to the relative pre-eminence of the United States and move toward displacing U.S. global leadership.

Through the prism of the alternative energy megatrend’s trajectory in a world of profound transformation, Alexander Mirtchev’s THE PROLOGUE analyzes the upcoming global security challenges that are geopolitical, geo-economic, defense- and nuclear-related, and environmental in nature. On this basis, the study outlines the 21st century global security transformations and the approaches, strategies, and policies relevant to these developments.

The study addresses the following questions:

  • How is the transforming world of the early 21st century becoming universally securitized?
  • Why and how have contemporary alternative energy developments evolved into a global socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend?
  • What are the geopolitical, geo-economic, defense-related, and environmental security implications of the alternative energy megatrend?
  • What are the attributes and drivers of this socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend?
  • What questions does the alternative energy megatrend raise about the modern understanding of geopolitical dynamics?
  • What does the alternative energy megatrend reveal about modern and upcoming approaches toward energy security in the evolving Grand Energy Game?
  • Where does the alternative energy megatrend fit into the 21st century transformation of defense capabilities, doctrines, and policies of the Great Power Competition?
  • How does the alternative energy megatrend redefine environmental security and contribute to the “greening” of geopolitics?
  • What does the alternative energy megatrend reveal about the transformation of global economic security calculations and the rise of geo-economics?
  • How will nuclear energy evolve in the upcoming post-proliferation world, and could it be a frame of reference for the megatrend?
  • What is the future security trajectory of the alternative energy megatrend in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and, in particular, the irreversible rise of Artificial Intelligence?
  • What does the megatrend reveal about the future global security context, and why does its prioritization become imperative in a universally securitized world?
  • And finally, what could the shape and focus of the approaches, strategies, and policies be in order to benefit from the transforming 21st century security landscape?

This study endeavors to answer these questions by proposing the conceptual framework of the modern universally securitized world.  Via this universal securitization concept, the study posits prerequisites for dynamic security prioritization strategies and policies.

The study makes the case for an intelligent and vigorous pursuit of innovation and an expeditious entry into the realm of the unknown as a significant dimension of the new Great Power Competition. Such a pursuit could contribute to energy rebalancing, military capabilities, environmental safety, economic growth, and global stability. Most importantly, it could ultimately further human knowledge, prosperity, liberty and dignity.