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As Germany and the rest of the world find themselves in a period of transition known as the ‘Interregnum’, characterized by political turmoil and experimentation, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is struggling to meet the challenges of this new era. The concept of the Interregnum is inspired by historical periods of interruption and change, such as the period between the reigns of King Charles I and Charles II in England. This current phase of geopolitical uncertainty marks a shift towards new institutions, governments, and companies aligned with a changing world order.

The three phases of the Interregnum, influenced by Thomas Kuhn’s Logic of Scientific Revolutions, include a crisis of the old order, the adaptation to new technologies and the multipolar world order, and the establishment of new institutions and governments. As Germany navigates this transition, the question remains as to how long this period of change will last and when the new world order will fully take shape. With the starting point of the Interregnum dated back to the fall of communism and more recent events like China’s imposition of the National Security Law on Hong Kong, the timeline for this transition remains uncertain.

Various theories and historical cycles offer insights into the potential duration of the Interregnum. The ‘Fourth Turning’ theory suggests that geopolitical and economic cycles align with 80-year human cycles, pointing to a positive geo-economic phase starting in the late 2030s. Other theories, such as Samuel Huntington’s waves of democracy and Minsky-Kondratieff cycles, highlight the importance of economic crises in shaping future world orders. The endurance of empires, like America’s current empire built on financial infrastructure and military power, may play a role in determining the length of this transition period.

Amidst these global shifts, trends in progress are reversing and new players are emerging on the world stage. China’s economic growth has slowed, human development in the US is declining, and countries like Poland and the Baltic states are becoming significant players in Europe. Saudi Arabia is undergoing a transformation from a strict Islamic state to an authoritarian power with a focus on luxury. In Germany, the question remains whether the country can withstand another fifteen years of Zeitenwende, or period of transition, as the world adapts to a new geopolitical landscape.

Overall, the Interregnum presents challenges and opportunities for nations across the globe as they navigate through a period of uncertainty and change. With historical cycles and theories offering potential insights into the duration of this transition, countries like Germany must adapt to a shifting world order and embrace new institutions and governments that align with the evolving geopolitical landscape. As the world enters a new phase of global politics, the ability of nations to navigate this Interregnum will shape the future for generations to come.

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