5 Predictions For The Next Five Years Of Global Power Struggles By Edward Chang for The Federalist
If these predictions come to pass, their fulfillment will have lasting effects upon America in the 2020s and beyond.
In 2008, as the Obama administration prepared to take control in Washington, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey offered a list of bold predictions for the coming five years. Some of them bore out: The economy performed well globally despite the Great Recession, relations with Russia became more hostile without devolving into outright dysfunction, and the United States withdrew from Iraq right at the 36-month mark, which McCaffrey specified. Other predictions, such as a North Korean collapse, improved prospects for success in Afghanistan following a massive commitment of resources, and a nuclear breakout for Iran, never occurred.
A year later, geopolitical analyst George Friedman published the widely read “The Next 100 Years.” Like McCaffrey, Friedman correctly predicted a new cold war between the United States and Russia, but he also foresaw the emergence of Turkey as a major regional power, the consequences of demographic change in Europe and North America, and tensions between the United States and Mexico as instability in Latin America threatens to generate a crisis on the southern border. Friedman got some things wrong, to be sure, but the number of things he got right is fascinating.
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Making accurate predictions is no easy feat, leading some to take the “wait and see” approach. However, I offer six predictions, in no particular order, that will have serious implications for American national security and foreign policy in the 2020s.
1. Russia Will Lose Great Power Status
The American left, along with its compatriots in the media, have thrown everything toward fashioning Russia as a geopolitical menace that must be defeated at all costs, lest it conquer all of Europe and facilitate the electoral victory of the “wrong” presidential candidate once again. This is quite a departure from earlier this decade, when the prevailing wisdom was that the 1980s wanted its foreign policy back.
Russia no doubt possesses geopolitical clout, a large economy, and a strong military. But Russia is a dying country. Its aging population is wracked by poor health, combined with minuscule growth following decades of decline. Most, if not all, projections show considerable population loss for Russia by mid-century.