3 ''Great Uncertainties'' we face as we enter 2024
The "disruption of the rule-based liberal world order", which has been discussed many times in recent years, will continue to strengthen itself in 2024.
Problems continue to accumulate in the US-led, Western-centered "rule-based liberal world order": The issue of "global warming" was carried over to the new year without a solution at the last COP28 meeting. It is unclear how the Ukraine-Russia war, the genocide in Gaza, the fascist regime in Israel that is ready to set the world on fire, Iran's capacity to wage proxy wars at many locations, the capacity of the Houthis in Yemen to conduct operations at two strategic transit points, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, the civil war in Sudan, the complexity created by the successive anti-Western military coups in West Africa, and China's increasing pressure on Taiwan will develop. In this circumstances, it is also unclear what form these problems will take after the June parliamentary elections in the European Union and the November presidential elections in the United States.
Over the past year, a growing number of Western analysts have acknowledged that the Western-centered "rule-based liberal order" is now irreversibly disintegrating. Leaving aside the economic underpinnings of this disintegration, when we look at the accumulated tangle of problems as a whole, we find China at almost every point, with increasing frequency.
As the US's power to solve problems and organize space as an order-building hegemon decline, China, which has risen as an economic, diplomatic, technological, and even military superpower, has begun to enter the traditional spheres of influence of the US and the West to fill the "void" as the new "indispensable country". In 2024, I think this process will accelerate, bringing new problems for the U.S.
IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL SOUTH WILL INCREASE
When we observe countries within the imperialist world system, notably termed the "Global South," and their historical borders, which readily embrace China's evolving role as a "balancing power center" countering the West, this idea of mine grows stronger. This inclination has notably amplified, evident in French President Macron's 2023 statement, "We are losing the Global South." The predominant stance of "Global South" nations diverged markedly: they refrained from adopting an anti-Russian stance during the Ukraine conflict, swiftly supported anti-Western coups in West Africa, and advocated for a "ceasefire" amidst Israel's Gaza bombings, distinct from the assertive positions held by the US and EU. Moreover, a noticeable shift entails an increasing preference for collaborative actions with China and Russia in UN voting dynamics. This trajectory is anticipated to further consolidate over the course of 2024.
When thinking about the "disruption of the world order" and the possibility of a new "order", the United States, as the "former" hegemon, has often appeared as a source of uncertainty in 2023. Uncertainty is primarily related to the possibility of Trump's re-election. A section of US society that sees itself as a party to an undeclared "cold civil war" and talks of holding the media to account, silencing the media, and neutralizing the "deep state" (the security bureaucracy) is likely to come to power with Trump in a scenario where he wins. This situation creates an "unpredictability" in the US policies towards almost every one of the "hot spots" I mentioned above in particular, and in its relations with the EU, Russia, and China in the field of competition between great powers in general.
As we approach 2024 in this ''Great Uncertainty'', I think 3 topics will occupy us throughout the year.
(1) What outlines will the dynamics between Europe and Russia assume as the Ukraine conflict concludes? How might these dynamics be influenced in the event of a Trump victory?
(2) How will the Gaza conflict reach its climax? Will the post-conflict landscape witness transformative shifts in the US-Israel alliance and the relationships between Israel and the Gulf nations?
(3) With China's ascendancy as a superpower and the dissolution of the US-centric global order, does the likelihood of a US-China conflict intensify? Could we witness the emergence of distinct global blocs, one revolving around the US and the other around China, possibly inclusive of the "Global South"?
These questions will stand as essential points, poised to shape and define the geopolitical discourse in the unfolding landscape of 2024.