Another year is coming to an end. It was a colorful and worrying one, with few problems solved and few conflicts resolved. Technological innovation continued apace, generating ambivalent reactions in many societies. The powerful effects of the flow of capital, content and human migration did not shrink much, if at all. Bots and ‘alternative realities’ are threatening meaningful communication. Mostly due to short-terminism, humans responses to Climate change, arguable the biggest threat on the globe, are meager. One of the cornerstones of European (and, actually, global) security, the INF Treaty, is now in danger of being terminated, while weapons continue to be delivered to crisis areas, like Yemen.
Conflicts simmer and sometimes burn — in Myanmar, the Near East, Eastern Ukraine, Columbia, South Sudan, Xinjiang, Libya, and other regions. The tragedies in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan may exceed the suffering at the U.S./Mexican border and in Europe, but in general, it seems there is a great deal of misery and dysfunction across many of these borders. In the ongoing and increasing rivalry between China and the United States, no one yet knows if we will end up in the ‘Thucydides Trap’, with a bang.
The best example ever of cooperation among states — the EU — finds itself in dire straits: the UK is leaving, in a process so messy that even the existence of Britain is under threat (Ireland). In France, where there is urgent need of economic and social renovation, the yellow vests raise the red card in reaction to government reform measures. In Italy, the organized and contradictory populists took over a troubled country and turned it into a more troubled one. Germany, the (mostly) silent hegemon, has been consumed by ridiculous dramas of building and maintaining governments and has shown itself to be unable to play an adequate role in Europe’s politics.
Against this background, what is your forecast for 2019?
What do you perceive as the three most worrying issues? Where do you see reason for guarded optimism? (Provide three cases, for the latter as well, if possible.)
Thanks for being with us this year.
Happy holidays, season’s greetings, and all he best for 2019.