We posted some quick thoughts on the 2021 geostrategic picture recently, and following last night’s events in The United States, we are promoted to offer some further thoughts on what 2021 geopolitics may have to offer.
Trump’s departure and President Biden’s entry into the White House will have global impact, be it for good or ill. From Climate Change and Green initiatives, to internal US stimulus packages, Sino-American relations and any UK-US trade deal, the potential harm or benefit can be significant. Most probably, whatever happens, The United States will focus on herself primarily, but with a more balanced multilateral approach to and participation in global bodies such as Paris Agreement.
The COVID – 19 pandemic will continue to dominate, and whilst in The United Kingdom the arrival of vaccinations offers hope and will speed up a return to ‘normal’, we would suggest that promises of a quick return to ‘normal’, say by easter, late Spring, should be viewed with scepticism, as the battle against COVID-19 will be hard and long; as will be the rebuilding and regeneration of UK and other economies globally.
Of course, poorer countries face even greater challenges as a result for the wait for vaccinations and this will in turn impact economies and the demands for support and to address the perceived accompanying imbalances and unfairness.
COVID-19 cannot be mentioned with recourse to China, and whilst China is economically still forging ahead, there is palpable resentment towards her. Issues of culpability for the virus as well as mutterings of punishment and reparations, in whatever direct or indirect forms they may take, will grow louder and louder, especially when relations with China, militarily, diplomatically and economically are framed against her actions and behaviour towards such as Hing Kong and Uyghur Muslims.
With or without UK and Brexit issues, The European Union will continue to face serious internal issues, which may indeed start to open in existential fissures. France and Germany are already facing charges of acting in their own rather that the 27’s collective interests, and a post Merkel, and perhaps a post Macron France, along with existing tensions with countries like Poland and Hungary may well see The EU reshape herself for good or bad; as well as allow opportunities for countries such as The Netherlands and Eurosceptic influences to exert more influence.
We often feel that far too little interest is shown in Africa, and 2021 may well be the year that we are all advised to take a far greater and proactive interest in her fortunes. From Tanzania to Guinea, with potential spotlights on Uganda, Ethiopia and leaders such as Abiy Ahmed, demographic, political, security, economic and heath care tensions, alongside the voices and demands of hundreds of millions of young men and women, across rural poor and urban ‘elite’ communities, compounded by COVID-19, will exacerbate instability and he huge challenges the continent faces, presenting both significant risk as well as opportunities.
2021 starts then with the world facing intense collective health, economic, political and other challenges, with accompanying levels of anger, fear, volatility and uncertainty. Within this mix there is also, especially for richer nations, such as The United Kingdom, hope and a belief that things will get better; and with courage, intelligence, insight and leadership we will successfully be able to navigate the challenges we face and successfully shape our futures,