The world is changing, and with it, expectations and approaches to international relations and trade. This shift has been driven by a range of factors, including rising protectionism and the changing nature of global power dynamics. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key trends shaping contemporary thinking on these issues.

Perhaps the most noticeable trend is the rise of protectionism. This phenomenon is most visibly manifested in the form of tariffs, which are taxes applied to imported goods designed to make them more expensive and less competitive with domestically-produced alternatives. Such measures have been adopted by a range of countries, including the United States, which has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth billions of dollars.

There are many reasons behind this shift towards protectionism, such as a perceived loss of domestic jobs to cheaper foreign labour, but the overall effect is to make international trade less free and more competitive. This has led to an increase in the number of trade disputes between countries, as they attempt to protect their own industries from foreign competition.

Another significant trend is the decline in the influence of Western countries, as other nations rise to prominence. For many years, the United States, Europe and other Western nations have dominated the global economy, largely due to their superior technological, economic and military strength.

However, this hegemony is under threat from countries such as China and India, which are rapidly modernising and establishing themselves as major players on the global stage. This is leading to a shift away from Western-centric models of trade and diplomacy, and towards a more multipolar system in which power is more evenly distributed.

At the same time, the changing nature of technology is also having a profound effect on the global economy. Advances in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are transforming production processes and disrupting traditional employment models. This trend is expected to have far-reaching implications, ranging from higher levels of unemployment in some industries to increased productivity and competitiveness in others.

In the face of these challenges, governments and global organisations are looking for new solutions. One approach that is gaining popularity is the adoption of greater economic nationalism. This involves prioritising domestic industries, reducing reliance on imports and promoting local jobs and businesses.

While some see economic nationalism as a necessary response to globalisation, others argue that it risks leading to a more protectionist world, where nations compete against one another for resources and influence. Such an environment could, potentially, lead to more conflict, and a rejection of the shared values and principles of international cooperation.

In conclusion, the world is changing rapidly, and with it, our expectations and approaches to global trade and diplomacy. The trends we have explored here are likely to have far-reaching implications for the global economy, and it is essential that we stay alert to these changes and work to develop effective responses that promote cooperation, fairness and progress. Whether it is the rise of protectionism, the changing nature of power dynamics, or the impact of technological change, we must be ready to adapt and evolve our thinking, and to plan for a world that is constantly shifting beneath our feet.