Because the three major rivals in the world, Russia, China, and the United States, each have nuclear weapons and systems to wipe each other out and make the world uninhabitable, there is only one option that spells the survival of mankind along with its current state of knowledge. No one of these three countries and no alliance of lesser powers can take over the world and form a world government because the others will resist. If one of these attempts to rule the world, the likelihood of nuclear war rises dramatically.
There are several other possible paths in the future. One is the conquest of Earth from outer space. This is extremely unlikely. A second path is that these major rivals merge to form a world government. This too is unlikely because of their many differences and rivalries.
A situation is unstable in which the U.S. views Russia and China as enemies and pressures them in various ways in order to achieve unipolar dominance, or in which either of them or the two combined pressures the U.S. so that they become dominant. That situation cannot lead to a victory because of the nuclear technology.
A situation is also unstable in which one side rushes to create a technological advantage such that it neutralizes the nuclear war capacity of a rival. Any such supposed advantage is likely to prove incomplete, uncertain and provocative, eliciting nuclear war. Rival technological advances will also undermine this path.
The most likely path that is stable is the peaceful co-existence of the rivals who engage in cooperation on certain matters. This is the current situation, and it’s symbolized by the U.N. structure. However, this path is also marked by military rivalry on all sides, which constantly creates the threat of nuclear confrontations.
Empires are expansionist by nature, and all three empires, those of Russia, China and the U.S., are butting up against one another. This condition cannot continue without leading to one of two opposed outcomes. Either there is warfare or the three empires reach an accommodation because it is in their interests to do so. Warfare at any scale is likely to escalate into world nuclear destruction. The only alternative is a multi-polar world with enough cooperation and mutual respect of the rival countries that they live and let live.
In order for this to happen, the most aggressive voices and influences on these three states must be removed from influence and power. The conflicts that the three powers have at their borders or the borders of their allies have to be quieted. The areas in which they cooperate must be enhanced.
It would help a great deal if the leaders of all three empires were able to articulate a common vision of a multi-polar cooperative world. This would make peaceful co-existence a top and urgent priority. These leaders have to start with do-able steps and compromises now. Everyone is going to have to give up some things that they now demand or are doing overtly and covertly.