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How the world will change in 2020 | FT

The biggest threat to the
liberal international order that was established after
world war two is, in one man, Donald Trump. He has made it, frankly,
his singular foreign policy aim to dismantle
that global order and he just doesn’t
like globalisation. He doesn’t like
global institutions. He does like internationalism. But there’s another issue in
the man in that he is, as we all know, a deal-maker, and he
likes to deal bilaterally with individual world
leaders and has this strand of authoritarianism in him. He likes to deal
with the strongmen – Kim Jong Un; Erdogan in Turkey;
Putin, obviously, in Russia. These are men who can get things
done like he thinks he can. So he likes to deal with
people who are traditionally American foes in the
international arena, all of whom have been
trying to undermine many of these same institutions
that have upheld the liberal order for decades. 2020 will see few
major changes here in Russia, as the regime
of President Vladimir Putin enters his 21st
year looking solid, if not without challenges. Economic growth will remain
depressed by western sanctions and tight government spending
as Russian households continue to feel the pinch. That could result
in more protests, especially in major
cities like Moscow. However, where there
will be major changes is inside President Putin’s
ruling United Russia party, which has been
losing voters and candidates in recent years. With critical parliamentary
elections in 2021, the Kremlin knows it needs to
overhaul that brand or face trouble at the ballot box. The year 2020 is meant to be
a bright new dawn for Europe, but the new European
Commission under Ursula von der Leyen charts a new
direction for the EU. But in reality, the weather
is going to be a bit more like this: grey, uncertain, a bit
depressing because, actually, Europe faces a year of drift
and lack of leadership. The EU actually is just
as eager as Boris Johnson to get Brexit done,
but that’s going to be really tough because
they’re going to move straight into very difficult trade
negotiations under a very tight deadline. And the reality
is that Brexit is going to suck up a
whole lot of energy, both political and emotional. In 2019, the Chinese economy
grew at its slowest pace in three decades. Investment is growing
much slower than before. Inflation is now
edging up, thanks to the decimation of
China’s hog population caused by African swine fever. And thirdly, we’ve
seen a record number of defaults on China’s
enormous pile of debt that is building up
throughout the entire economy. Now, in 2020, none of these
factors are going away, and the slowdown in
the Chinese economy is expected to continue. Behind me is the epicentre of
the Hong Kong protests that have rocked this international
financial centre for the last eight months. Those protests have been
the biggest open rebellion on Chinese soil
in three decades. The Communist
party in Beijing is showing no signs of backing down
in the face of these protests. The protesters are also showing
no signs of backing down, and as a result,
in 2020, the crisis is almost certain to
continue and maybe even worsen throughout the year. Thanks to the US
election, Moscow knows that the anti-Russian
rhetoric in Washington is not going to end soon. That means nobody here expects
any let-up in sanctions in 2020 and even the possibility
of new restrictions against Russian businessmen,
companies, and finance. That will mean
Moscow will continue to shift trade payments and
national wealth holdings out of the dollar and also continue
its pivot towards Asia, the Middle East, and Africa
in search of new partners to replace the west. The lack of high-level
co-operation between Moscow and
Washington could also imperil global arms
agreements such as New START. That, which, caps the
number of nuclear warheads held by both countries,
will expire in early 2021 unless negotiations start soon. The main reason to
expect 2020 to be a year of political
disappointment in Europe lies in the big
national capitals. In Berlin, the Merkel era is
clearly coming to a close, and the main political
parties are now preoccupied by internal
struggles over ideology and over leadership,
and that’s going to make it very hard for
Berlin to provide leadership for the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, in Paris,
President Emmanuel Macron has been struggling
for a couple of years to provide the European
Union with new impetus and new direction. But he’s in trouble too because
the other European leaders have not been as responsive
as Mr Macron would like. The Germans and others
disagree with him on issues such as the future
of Nato and on Russia. And also his prestige
internationally is suffering a little
bit because he’s struggling at home
to get reforms through and in the face
of big demonstrations on the streets of
Paris and elsewhere. 2020 could also be the year
that Russia’s most risky overseas venture turns sour. Moscow entered the
Syrian Civil War in 2015 and despite many
claims of mission accomplished, has found itself bogged
down in the conflict. Putin is engaged in a delicate
diplomatic dance between opposing neighbours –
Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the Syrian
government itself. 2020 could be the year
that the music stops, and the Kremlin’s recent run
of luck in the Middle East comes to an end. That would likely
force Moscow to make a choice it has delayed for
years, between President Assad and peace. Italy and Spain are
also looking at a year of highly unstable politics. The Spanish government
is struggling with the secessionist
movement in Catalonia, and Spain has had four elections
in four years that have failed to yield a stable government. Political uncertainty is
nothing new for Italy, but 2020 could see another
government fall and the return to government of Matteo
Salvini, a populist nationalist with very eurosceptic views
that have not typically been the ones that Italy
have represented in Europe. So put all of those national
political situations together, and you have a recipe
for another year of drift and political stasis
in Europe in 2020. The US and China have declared
a truce in their trade war that roiled the global
economy in 2019. Even what’s been
announced so far could still fall apart
in 2020, and getting to a phase two or phase three
of a much broader agreement is going to be
incredibly difficult. If Donald Trump is
re-elected, I think it’s fair to say that
that liberal order is under real threat. The establishment in Washington
has been slowly weakening, but able to fend off
many of its attacks on traditional alliances,
the traditional institutions. This is the deep state
he keeps railing about. Another four years of that,
I think it raises questions whether any of
these institutions will survive, from Nato,
the WTO, IMF, World Bank. If there is not
American financing for these things,
if there is not American diplomatic support,
remember, a lot of these things are about American leadership. They’re about America
as an example, and many of the
countries that go along with this global liberal order
do so because they see the US as a provider of public good. And certainly, a Bernie
Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, would want to see changes
to the way that it operates. But in terms of
completely dismantling, what we come to known
as the post-war order, I think a Democrat winning
the election in November 2020, will see a shift
back to what has been for 80 years American
foreign policy internationally.

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33 thoughts on “How the world will change in 2020 | FT

  1. The PEOPLE don't want globalisation.

    A good leader DOES,
    what his people WANT him to do.

    Trump is no dictator.

    You want a dictator – go live in North Korea.

  2. total nonsense China is crippled thanks to trumps tariff war not fuckin hogs, and Putin is goin nowhere he rules with an iron fist,and China can stop the Hong Kong protests in an Instance, what nonsense

  3. FT Have you heard of climate change and some it’s dire consequences that much of the world is already dealing with?

  4. The doomes day gange. Interesting how people who have never done anything, but watch, and comment on what others do think they know what to do. How about this, figure out a way to live, and enjoy life without globalization. We are not hive animals, and our natural individuality has over time led us into amiable groups (tribes, citys, states, countries, clubs, etc). I suggest we reconsider how money is used, and managed to make a better world. After all, no country owns its money – not Russa, China, USA, EU, India . . . none. So if you fix money, and the ability to trade goods everyone can just live, enjoy and work on improving life and figure out a way to get off this planet.

  5. As an American..

    We're taught to choose good friends because they will influence you to become like them. America needs to be more like no other country on earth, what we need is to go back to being more like America.

    The globalist organization's existences are a harm to us, their extinction would be a blessing. We are the bastion of classical liberalism, and I can only see modern 'liberalism' as a bastardization of true liberty. We do not need the importation of old bad ideas from Europe or anywhere else.

    Freedom of Speech is a foundation of our nation, our Bill of Rights are an epic progression unparalleled in history. No other country on earth even comes close to comparing, and if that fact upsets you, you are the reason Freedom of Speech is an absolute necessity. If you think your Constitution is better, or any non-American government is better, then you are the reason the Right to Bear Arms is perfectly justified and inalienable.

    We are not globalist because the globe REFUSES to raise its standards to equal our own. All we see from the rest of the world are attempts to bully us through peer pressure into coming down to their level, all we see is the propaganda acting as if there is ANY reason for us to be more like them, when there is NONE.

    All we see is other nations sucking up the propaganda of our popular culture (which is a farce and we largely know it) as if it were real, we see your people acting out what to us is primarily fictional nonsense propagated by mainstream media, music and movies and then using that nonsense to attempt to peer pressure us acting as if you're better because you drank the poisoned koolaid…

  6. the world is rapidly shifting and these bafoons still play by old rules. Worthless predictions especially in regards to Syria

  7. In my opinion , the situation of the world would be trended to the country with the most economic power !

  8. Defence system alone would not change much the world , the economic activities would future the world scenario & change the global pace !

  9. The picture is so grim I wonder why I am busting my as* of to get a college degree and the environment and fascist on raise in every major country, I can safely say 21 century has been the worst for Democracy and individual rights.

  10. Some good analysis of the main players. There surely are more aspects to consider though? Iran and the mushrooming involvement with America sending military resources. Global warming that is doing so much to destroy habitat in Australia and to increase sea levels swamping many coastal areas, and could hit North America again this year. Tensions in Asia and lack of stability in Africa. Some of these could be "jokers in the pack" that throw all of our worthy economic predictions off course. Certainly an interesting year to come!

  11. The Financial Times has become a total joke. The last place I would look for any news financial or otherwise. The lean is so obvious

  12. the plan started failing long before 2019, its been a slow bleed for decades, the economy is just showing more symptoms?????

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