CLEVELAND — As the head of one of the world’s leading economic and political research firms, I have been making predictions on what will happen in the world in the coming year for more than 20 years. As a reminder, my ten predictions for 2023 were:
- The world economy would slow, but the U.S. economy would avoid a recession.
- The war in Ukraine would not end in 2023.
- COVID-19 would be treated like any other seasonal virus.
- Inflationary pressures would ease, but not disappear.
- The threat of popular unrest would remain high around the world.
- Interest rate hikes would finally end by the end of 2023.
- 2024′s presidential election in the United States would dominate U.S. politics in 2023.
- Labor shortages would persist.
- Trust in government and technology would decline.
- India would overtake China in terms of the size of its population.
As we head into 2024, we do so with a great deal of concern, as the coming year could be a pivotal moment in modern history as a multitude of technological, political, economic, environmental and social changes are dramatically altering our world.
For my predictions for 2024, I have broken them down into three broad categories (political, economic and other). These predictions will be presented in two separate articles, with my predictions for U.S. and global politics and security being presented today, and my picks for economic, technological and societal developments being published in a few days.
While these predictions cover a lot of territory, there are sure to be some surprises in store for the world in the coming year. So herewith my political and security predictions for 2024:
* The U.S. 2024 presidential election will sow chaos
The 2024 presidential election will be the most divisive election in the United States since 1968, and perhaps since 1860, and we know how that ended. Democrats will try to hold the White House with an aging president and no one in sight to replace him should his health fail. Republicans are once again led by former President Donald Trump, who is also aging while facing a myriad of legal problems that could keep him from running. If it is Biden versus Trump, it will be a close race. However, there is a greater than 50% chance that at least one of the two front-runners doesn’t make it to the finish line for one reason or another.
* A year of elections
Voters in countries that are home to more than 4.2 billion people will go to the polls in 2024, an all-time record. The most important elections will take place in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the European Union. What is certain is that the trend towards right- and left-wing populism, and the increasing fragmentation of political parties and systems, will continue in the coming year.
* The decisive year in Ukraine
While the war between Russia and Ukraine may not end, this will be the year in which the outcome of this conflict will become clear. If Ukraine cannot drive Russian forces from more of its territory, it is likely to face pressure from its Western allies to reach a settlement with Russia that could include the ceding of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine to Russia. Given Russia’s struggles in Ukraine, it would certainly agree to such a settlement.
* Gaza in ruins, Israel at risk
Israel will fully occupy the Gaza Strip for the entirety of 2024, something that it had hoped to avoid when it withdrew from that territory in 2005. Hamas will have been decimated by Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks, but new militant groups will emerge. For Israel, Hamas’ attack and the conflict that followed will serve as a stark reminder that demographics and geography are not on their side in a volatile region.
* A tough year for U.S. foreign policy
2024 will be a difficult year for the United States and its foreign policy. First, President Joe Biden will appear weak as the 2024 election turns his administration’s focus inwards. Second, the United States will remain stretched too thin as its efforts to focus its foreign policy on countering the rise of China are distracted by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and by rising levels of unrest in many other parts of the world. A world with a distracted superpower is likely to prove to be a very dangerous place, as 2024 will prove.
These are my predictions for political and security in 2024. In my next article, I will cover my predictions for the economy, society, technology and the environment.
Michael Weidokal is the founder and president of International Strategic Analysis (ISA), a leading global economic and political research firm, and the Executive-in-Residence at the Carmel Boyer School of Business at Baldwin Wallace University.
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