The Foreign Policy website is generally hailed as an expert voice in international affairs. It’s just released its predictions on what the top foreign-policy stories of 2012 will be. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Foreign Policy’s star blogger David Rothkopf has given 13 predictions on how the world may change next year. Some of them are no-brainers. He suggests, for instance, there will be more changes in power worldwide. He also believes the regime of Bashar al-Assad will collapse in Syria. Pakistan’s Zardari is likely to go too, he says – again, not a totally wild prediction given there are widespread rumours he may be on the verge of resigning. Rothkopf also thinks Ahmadinejad is toast in Iran - a slightly more risky bet since Iran’s current muscle-flexing towards the US may have won him some support back home. Last in his leadership-change predictions is the somewhat morbid, but likely guess Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez will kick the bucket next year.
Other shifts he predicts are less extreme. Rothkopf thinks China will see the first glimmers of real political unrest (and indeed the first green shoots of protest have been visible this year). He also proposes that though Putin will regain the presidency in Russia, his re-ascent will be accompanied by growing dissent and repression in response to this.
When it comes to Europe, he thinks 2012 will bring more bailouts for major banks and continuing debt crises, but ultimately the end of the year will see them in stronger positions. He believes too that, even though things may be economically ugly on a global scale for 2012, economies like Japan and the US will be beneficiaries of the eurozone crisis. For the US he foresees tricky times politically. In particular, Rothkopf predicts it will be unsure how to deal with the new Islamist democracies resulting from this year’s Arab Spring, and won’t know quite how to assert itself with the new governments. He predicts a heavier reliance from the US on “stealthy but targeted white-collar interventionism” – hello, Walmart!
The only mention of Africa in his set of predictions comes with regards to terrorism. Rothkopf thinks the US will shift its counter-terrorism endeavours increasingly towards Africa and countries like Nigeria (where Islamist group Boko Haram has been active this year).
All in all, it’s not the brightest outlook for an upcoming year, but if 2011 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. DM
- Next Year, in Review, on Foreign Policy.
Photo: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez talk during a meeting in Havana November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Courtesy of Cubadebate