The global recession in 2008 and the refugee crisis in 2015 resulted in a series of cataclysmic changes questioning the fundamentals of the post-Cold War era and the future prospects of the rules-based global system underpinned by liberal democracies and the principles of the free market economy. Populism, protectionism, and the appeasement policies towards autocracies paved the way for transactionalist approach to foreign policy. Indifference in the United States to the global problems and to the international organizations was to be compounded by the EU’s governance difficulties vis-à-vis its integration and a decline in soft power. The discordance among western powers were to underpin the discussions on strategic autonomy, while China and Russia took steps to fill the strategic void with their respective economic and geopolitical focus. As of 2020 the pandemic has only accelerated these dynamics.