Project Syndicate regularly features predictions by leading thinkers on a topic of global concern. After another year marked by great-power rivalries, rising security risks, a string of coups, land grabs, outright war and shifting strategic alignments, the role of hegemonic, middling and rising powers has become more fluid than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Looking ahead, we asked contributors whether they agree or disagree with the following proposition: The coming year will confirm that the world is quickly moving toward greater multipolarity or “nonalignment.”

In the coming year, we will see not greater multipolarity, but greater bipolarity. China has replaced Russia as America’s main competitor in a new cold war that is less about ideology and more about markets and technology. The $18 trillion Chinese economy has already overtaken that of all 27 European Union countries combined, and China is the largest trading partner to more than 120 countries. Its Belt and Road initiative continues to build infrastructure around the world, and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (with a $100 billion capitalization) has 109 members representing 80% of the world’s population. In January, the China-dominated BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) will expand to include Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Many of these countries from the Global South have refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, they are seeking to bolster the 120-strong Non-Aligned Movement, which emerged from the 1955 Bandung Conference of Asian and African governments. As part of a strategy to avoid becoming embroiled in superpower conflicts (between the Americans and the Soviets, at the time), NAM members abstained from collective defense arrangements with either side. This weapon of the weak lent momentum to efforts to enhance regional autonomy and strengthen global-governance institutions like the United Nations, and it may yet do so again.