While 2021 is now behind us, many issues will linger for a while, if not much longer, and will certainly dominate much of the news in 2022 as well. These are just a few of the problems.
NATO-Russia on the brink
Exasperated by NATO’s expansion and growing ambitions in the Black Sea region, Moscow has decided to challenge the US-led Western alliance in an area of crucial geopolitical importance to Russia.
Ukraine’s quest for NATO membership, especially following the Crimean conflict in 2014, has turned out to be a red line for Russia. From late 2021, the United States and its European allies began accusing Russia of amassing forces on the Ukrainian border, suggesting that an outright military invasion would soon follow. Russia has denied the accusations, insisting that a military solution can be avoided if Russia’s geopolitical interests are respected.
Some analysts say Russia is seeking to “compel the West to start the new Yalta talks,” a reference to a summit between the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia at the end of World War II. If Russia achieves its objectives, NATO will no longer be able to exploit Russia’s fault lines across its western borders.
While NATO members, especially the United States, want to send a strong message to Russia – and China – that defeat in Afghanistan will not affect their global prestige or tarnish their power, Russia is convinced that it has sufficient political, economic, military and strategic resources. cards that would ultimately allow him to win.
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China’s Unhindered Rise
Another global showdown is also underway. For years, the United States waged an open world war to curb China’s rise as a global economic power. While the 2019 “trade war” unleashed by the Donald Trump administration against China has yielded mixed results, China’s ability to resist pressure, to control with mathematical precision the spread in China of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continuing to fuel the global economy has proven that Beijing is no easy prey.
An example of the above claim is the anticipated relaunch of Chinese tech giant Huawei. The war against Huawei has served as a microcosm of the larger war against China. British writer Tom Fowdy described the war as “blocking exports to (Huawei), isolating it from global chipmakers, forcing its allies to ban its participation in their 5G networks, imposing criminal charges against it and kidnapping one of its senior executives “.
However, that fails, according to Fowdy. 2022 is the year in which Huawei is expected to make massive global investments that will allow it to overcome many of these hurdles and become self-sufficient in terms of the technologies needed to power its operations around the world.
Besides Huawei, China plans to step up its response to US pressure by expanding its manufacturing platforms, creating new markets and strengthening alliances, especially with Moscow. A Sino-Russian alliance is particularly important for Beijing, as the two countries are suffering a strong American-Western setback.
2022 will likely be the year in which Russia and China, in the words of Beijing’s Ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, endorse strategic cooperation. “
The world is “hanging by a thread”
However, other conflicts exist beyond politics and economics. There is also the war unleashed on our planet by those who prioritize profit over the well-being of future generations. While the Glasgow Climate Pact COP26 started with lofty promises in Scotland in November, it ended with political compromises that hardly live up to the fact that, in the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “we are always knocking on the door of climate catastrophe”.
Certainly in 2022 many tragedies will be attributed to climate change. However, it will also be a year in which millions of people around the world continue to push for a collective, non-political response to the ‘climate catastrophe’. As planet Earth “hangs by a thread” – according to Guterres – political compromises that favor the rich become the obstacle, not the solution. Only a global movement of civil societies well integrated in the world can force politicians to heed the wishes of the people.
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Refugees, democracy and human rights
The adverse effects of climate change can be felt in multiple ways that go beyond the immediate damage inflicted by irregular weather conditions. Wars, revolutions, endemic socio-economic inequalities, mass migration and refugee crises are just a few examples of how climate change has destabilized many parts of the world and caused pain and suffering to many communities around the world. .
The issue of migration and refugees will continue to pose a threat to global stability in 2022, as none of the root causes that have forced millions of people to leave their homes in search of a better and safer life has been addressed. Instead of tackling the roots of the problem – climate change, military interventions, inequalities, etc. -, very often, the unfortunate refugees find themselves accused and demonized as agents of instability in Western societies.
This, in turn, has served as a political and, at times, moral justification for the rise of far-right political movements in Europe and elsewhere, which spread lies, defend racism and undermine any semblance of democracy that exists in their countries. .
2022 should not be another year of pessimism. It can also be a year of hope and promise. But this is only possible if we play our role as active citizens to bring about the much coveted change we would like to see in the world.
The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.