Well, 2020 started off with bang. We are not quiet getting back to things as usual but starting things from a very dangerous place. World tensions were ramped right up to a 9.0 over the US airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Tensions have been high since Donald Trump became president, and now they have gone to an all-time high.
As written in an earlier RG21 post, Iran is no match for the US one on one. Iran, however, does have the ability to conduct asymmetric warfare against the US through it naval and Special Forces and its proxies throughout the region.
Even before this, there were signs that things are changing in the region. December 2019 saw the first combined Iranian, Chinese, Russian naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman. If there was ever a sign of the waning and waxing of world powers, this could be it. America’s decline in world power and prestige could be traced to these exercises.
2020 also no relief for China in its ongoing problem in Hong Kong. All indications are that this problem will continue throughout the year although council elections in 2019 might have given the democratic opposition the face it needed to be seen as legitimate and to be taken seriously. China’s best bet is to let Hong Kong air its grievances through the ballot box and to responsibly govern under the One Country, Two Systems scheme.
The British people have sent a clear message about Brexit: it is their will that it happen. Before there was doubt, but the election was a “second referendum” and Boris Johnson is empowered to perform Brexit and bring Britain out of the EU.
French President Emmanuel Macron has his own set of problems and demonstrations on a Hong Kong scale minus the violence. It is just possible that Macron will hold on for a long time and join the ranks of France’s most respected presidents.
And the United States is scheduled to have a presidential election in November that will decide whether Donald Trump and the Republicans get another four years, or whether the Democrats can cobble together a coalition of voters strong enough to gain the White House and the senate. The events of the first week of January indicate that 2020 will be truly memorable–that is, if things continue at the current pace.
What is your opinion and what are your predictions for 2020? Please share your ideas with us.
Photo: Ancient Persian Guardsman via flickr.