Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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2024's top global risks: The trifecta of wars threatening global peace

2024's top global risks: The trifecta of wars threatening global peace
Top Risks 2024: The trifecta of war threatening global peace | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your year. Happy Top Risks to all who celebrate. It is our annual report that we've been putting out for decades now, looking at the biggest things going bump in the night that are going to hit over the coming year. And this year, there are a lot of them, the annus horribilis, the Voldemort of years, the year that must not be spoken. This is 2024. And you can see videos we've put together and slides and the rest on all the individual risk. But I want to give you a sense of the big themes that are out there.

And the biggest is that we are facing three wars, not one, not two, but three that are significantly dangerous in the geopolitical environment, none of which are likely to be contained. The principal adversaries fighting each other have no ability or willingness together to stop these wars. They don't even share basic facts about what they're fighting about. And the prospects of diplomacy slowing them down or containing them, at least in the coming months, seem negligible. I'm talking, of course, about the Russians fighting the Ukrainians, the Israelis fighting Hamas and the United States fighting itself. All of these things likely to get worse, not better, very likely over the coming months. A turning point in the Russia-Ukraine war making us feel worse about where it is heading. Certainly for the Ukrainians. And an expansion of the Israeli war against Hamas, very, very unlikely to be able to contain it within the present territorial confines of that conflict.

And the United States, with an election that is almost certain to be seen as illegitimate in outcome by large numbers of the population who are not on the winning side. We've never had a geopolitical environment in our lifetimes that had faced that level of simultaneous international conflict in places that have big impacts around the world.

There are other concerns that are on the report, in particular the existence of an axis of rogues. Russia as a rogue state, increasingly coordinating with their buddies, and there aren't many of them, but they're dangerous. Iran and North Korea. At the same time, dangerous friends of the United States. Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky, Israel's Bibi Netanyahu. And maybe we'll find out in a week. Taiwan's William Lai. All strong, abiding friends of the United States on the global stage with individual leaders who provoke greater risk that are hard to contain for the US and for others around the world. AI technology moving a lot faster than the ability to govern it. That's great for economic opportunity, but it's also challenging for geopolitical and domestic political and societal dangers. Plenty of others to focus on. But before I stop, let me talk about some of the optimistic things that are happening in the world too. So many people are talking about this being the year of all of these elections, causing uncertainty and volatility and danger.

But outside of the United States, that's not really true. In fact, the big other elections, the non-American elections going on, are pretty stable. The European Union is going to return a coalition of parties running the EU that looks largely the same as the last five years. You've got India with Modi at 75% approval ratings coming off of very strong wins in three state elections in the last few weeks. He'll win easily and continue with economic reform for what is likely to be his last five-year term. Mexico. You've got a president, López Obrador, who is very likely to be able to secure the victory of his preferred candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, who is more technocratic in orientation and a former climate scientist that will lead to more growth in Mexico. I can keep going. There are some places that the elections don't go so well, but they're not a surprise at all. Russia. Who are you going to vote for? Putin or Putin? Maybe Putin? Maybe Putin! One of those people. But either way, I think I know who's going to win and I don't think that's going to affect anything.

So the elections are not really that big deal outside of, well, the one country that happens to be the most powerful in the world. Yeah, it's a bit of a challenge. Also, one of the thing I would mention, the most important geopolitical relationship in the world, US-China, which doesn't have any trust and plenty of areas where there's conflict. I look at Taiwan and I look at technology and I look at the South China Sea and those things aren't going away. But this year, the relationship is going to be more stable than you think. It's been like managed decline, but the focus is more on the decline part over the last few years. This year it's more on the managed part.

There are a couple of reasons for that. One is because the US is fighting on all of these fronts. They don't need another fight with the Chinese. Biden especially doesn't want that problem running into his own reelection campaign in November. While the Chinese are seriously underperforming economically and they really don't want anything else that's going to lead to additional pressure, making it harder for their economy to rebound. Huge structural challenges there. So this year at least, at least up until the elections, US and China will have plenty of rockiness, but shouldn't be a serious challenge or a crisis, a sudden crisis impacting the geopolitical order.

So that's it for me. I hope you take a look at the report, enjoy the videos and all the rest, and I'll be talking to you all real soon.

Check out Eurasia Group's 2024 Top Risks report.


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