For many, it is the time of the year to provide a wrap-up of 2017, in the hope that the wrap-up can give a glimpse into what is likely to come in 2018.
I was for a long time, a democratic, liberty/freedom, justice and human right activist, and also for a lifelong a journalist, editor, writer, and blogger, greatly into critical thinking and intelligence analysis. This blog post is my wrap-up of 2017.
From Terence Writing
State of the Globe Entering 2018
December 15, 2017
Executive Summary: Trump came on stage as America’s President and the world reacted. America of course, is the only overall –superpower, in military and economics. The global was very disappointed with Trump. The global economy has mostly recovered, from around 10 years of economic and business dystopian of the last financial crisis, and so now forging ahead again, at this stage very robust. On social fabric, the planet has started to regress in general, on issues like democracy, liberty/freedom, justice, including social justice, and human rights, setting the stage for a worsening level of global dystopia, as governments and population social contract break down. Global warming is getting worse causing radical weather patterns and the damage from that is worsening.
1) European Union: Moderately Strong Economy to Tame Social Discord
EU continues to be bright spot globally, internal economy and political wise, and also on Geo issues, so let’s start with EU. While issues such as different speed, sticky unemployment & immigration raise concern, overall EU economy robust, so growth should take the edge out of many social related concerns.
Brexit is mostly a non-that-critical-issue now internally EU and on Geo-EU issues wise. France’s Macron, back by research showing global people sees France in good light, is starting to forge ahead globally, starting with addressing some difficult issues for France, such as its history in Colonialism, also forging ahead on Global Warming issues, and then also some Middle East and new Africa issues,, like trade and investment.
Germany wise, there been lots speculation of Merkel, from a strong contender as the global leader, as research says global people sees Germany in good light, has shied away from attaining that position, and then a recent election in Germany sees some firm up of Fascist and Nazi, as a result of hyped up migration and immigration problems on issues. But this migration & immigration issues wise, yes, immigrants suffering still heartbreak but EU is addressing problem root & original place, coupled with better global economy and ISIL retreat, pressure should lessen.
As of this report, talks to form a coalition government in Germany have failed, but all parties involved in forming a government is in a discussion. The analysis is that France and Germany need to work together to reform EU. Some emerging again talk of transforming EU, into more of a United States of Europe, coming out of Germany.
EU is starting to build up its own military, as a reaction to Trump’s on and off, non-committal to defend Europe from Russia, so NATO is not as dependable as in the past. Some estimates say it will take 10 to 15 years before Europe does not need NATO.
2) USA: Trump & GOP Destruction of America Continues
The USA, once much respected globally and much a global leader has very much deteriorated into a situation where respect is mostly from USA military and economic power globally. But as far as respect from the impression of the USA being a global force for betterment & good, many analysts say that gone and history.
Many global polls and researches say a big majority of global people disapprove of Trump and this has dragged down America’s position globally, with a negative view of America way up. On being a force of positivity globally, America is now close to Russia & Iran. France, Canada and Germany, and also EU, surge in approval globally, replacing America.
And so the planet is left, with a vacuum of “Who Will Step in & Be Global Power for Positive Development?”
Again, been lots of global polls & research of how, like Canada and France, and also Germany is seen in very positive light by global people but they have not stepped in i.e. at UN recent meet, Canada spoke of treating it’s indigenous better, France have shown some global leadership push, but mostly is busy with internal EU and again, Merkel is a question mark.
Internal USA wise, morality and ethics and also social fabric continues to deteriorate. The social contract between government and Americans are being torn apart by Trump & GOP, such as in healthcare and tax policy that will help the rich and take away public care & services and also take away from well managed Blue states. A level of “Dystopia” has set in, with much of Americans, many giving up hope. The latest election result in Alabama gives hope to 2018 Mid-Term and 2020 for Democrats. Things could change for the better if the party wins majority in Congress in 2018.
On Russia meddling to manipulate the 2016 presidential election, and other elections, investigations continues, colluding between Trump and his circle and Russia, is also being investigated
Trump’s isolationism & America First means heightened danger of a trade war, as with NAFTA and pulling out of TPP. Others may develop.
Lots of discussions, if America can recover, from Trump & GOP caused damage, if indeed Democrat Party regains control. Here, some say yes, others say no, as global completion is fierce and already other countries capitalizing on America’s fall.
3) Russia: Putin’s Changing Roles
Putin on Geo-issues, of course, Putin still on the path to see Russia as “A Great Global Power as in Stalin’s Days” but the fact that Putin will sooner or later, wake-up to, is that those days are gone, as the planet had fundamentally changed.
How has the planet changed? The planet is now more inter-connection and cross- dependence, and there is a massive rise of “Middle Powers.”
My expectation of Putin is, he will wrap up a few Geo-issues (like Syria) and then return to the global table and obviously, Putin is not a nut like Trump. Internally, I do not expect much from Putin, as far as a movement towards Liberal Democracy is concerned (the Russian people much, either Putin’s accomplice, brainwashed or do not care), but I think Putin will ease on oppression and suppression, after he wins the up-coming election.
And when he gets older and more mature, meaning time to pass-on leadership internal Russia could get better and the “Big If” here is if Putin really loves Russia, more than he loves himself and his oligarchy. Already there are signs that Putin wants to reach a position of a “Global Statesman.” For example, Russia is trying hard to solve the North Korea situation, peacefully and is also making offers to Japan on economic development.
Russia economy would benefit from the higher fossil price and this should strengthen Putin’s hand as the hardship in Russia lessens. Sanction-wise most likely will stay on, for a long time, but Russia has adapted well, and also other sanctions from America is not being enforced by Trump. Russia and China two way trade continue to grow, up some 25% a year in recent years.
Arms race wise, Putin is now mostly reacting to DC’s new wave of arms build-up. Trump on and off non-committal on NATO, adds to the complex situation.
4) Asia: Japan Economy OK & China’s Economic Juggernaut Slows as China Expands Globally
Election solidified Abe and Abenomics is working very well so Japan’s economy looks solid, but Abe has taken a hard-line on North Korea, at a time of this reporting, a diplomatic solution is being sought after. Some overture from Japan to Russia and China for a better relationship, led by economic joint interest. EU and Japan free trade deal reached. Japan is now a major tourist destination in Asia, helping Japan’s soft power tremendously.
China wise, there are some sad developments internal of China being more regression and oppression. China and ASEAN continued to move closer overall, with their economies humming along at the high end of global average growth rate. However, in the medium to long term will pretty much will be held-back economically, from like USA issues, being the massive deterioration & regressions on social issues. So similar to America, dystopia at levels has set in and so economic performance “Way Below Potential.” Here, for example, curtailing of freedom and liberal democracy, will at levels hit creativity and innovation, and a dystopian population is negative for consumption.
Globally, China is forging ahead in Africa and Latin America, where most analysts say, doing better than most, picking up slack left from America’s retrenchments. Europe China relation wise, mostly driven by economics and business interest, but there is some national security concern, from such as from China’s one belt plans. China Russia economic and business-link is fast growing.
South China Sea situation not as hot as it was in recent years and North Korea issue has placed China in a difficult situation, meaning if North Korea junta falls, and a new leader is a threat to China what then, but then a nuclear North Korea is destabilizing the region, hurting China’s other interest and plans.
India economy is robust but Modi has some strong critics internal of India and there are lots of unresolved issues, such as pollution, which China also faces. India and China continue to face a hostile relationship and then there is Pakistan. There is some joint interest between India and Japan to counter China. India is considered close to USA and Israel, both could cause problems for Modi in a changing global geo issues.
Australia, a continent close to Asia, sees robust economic growth, but now and then an eruption of a bad relationship with other Asian countries, like China. Australia seems lost as to the macro direction, seeing itself as part of West or Asia.
5) Africa & Latin America: Leading Tech Related News Pointing to Startups & Innovation Boom
STEM and Tech in Africa and Latin America is now the new foundation for the future and both regions are forging ahead aggressively at these two factors, with Latin America leading Africa and in many situations, Latin America is also leading Asia.
Economy wise the worse is over for the two regions and new business from globe over is pouring in, but there are some pockets of laggards.
Politically, many positive developments, but some new regression issue such as Mexico’s national security bill, add on top of old regressive issues, such as a male dominate culture, which apart from human rights concerns, hampers economic growth.
Relationship wise, Panama and Cuba and other prove to many in Latin America that America is not a friend, and trade relation wise, like NAFTA, also proves America is not a reliable partner. China, Russia, and EU are moving aggressively into both regions, with China offering the best, in terms of cost competitiveness.
Alliances wise in Africa and Latin America overall, there is a great re-alignment going on, with America on the way out.
High poverty is still a major issue in both regions, especially Africa, and also unemployment but talks are now in Africa of an industrial revolution, on top of STEM and Tech. Agriculture in Africa is benefitting from better management and knowledge.
Some conflict, terrorism, economics and refugee problems and also political crisis here and there all across Africa and Latin America like politics in Venezuela.
6) The Middle East & Greater: Humanity Dependency on Fossil Means Little Hope
The Middle East, greater & and further out continues to be a mess, with some new developments in like Turkey as an increasingly key participant and some wrap up of issues such as Syria and Iraq.
New issues wise, Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel capital, alienation the Muslim world away, on emotions wise, but in reality, there is still a great deal of reliance on America, for example, for arms and security guarantor. Terrorism is in retreat. And some talk of an easing of hard-line Muslim ways in Saudi Arabia, to be more open and liberal.
Alliances & fraction wise, Kuwait economy is still robust and has just made some major arms purchase. And on economic development-wise, like at UAE, Dubai is still forging ahead trying to be a global significant center. The Saudi Arabia vs Iran, and their supporters and proxies continues to fight. Western press mostly backs Saudi Arabia, so Syria gets the attentions, and Yemen not much.
But overall a note, as I said many times before, so much suffering in the whole Middle East, greater and further out area, is Bush family fault meaning the USA over-reacted and also took advantage 9/11 and also Russia fault, for invading Afghanistan way back, prompting Reagan to makes moves, setting the ball rolling for the global terrorism crisis.
I also mentioned, apart from Bush & Russia, much of Middle East, greater and further out, is related to energy. And global people depend on that, so global people are also to blame, so much suffering around there. So maybe global people should give more to humanitarian units involved with around there, not of just feeding your life with energy, like for cars.
So because of that, alliances and fractions wise, not many cares, as long as oil flows, but Russia and Turkey have established a presence. Syria and Iraq situation is cooling off. Libya is still a problem on refugee like some in Africa. Then there is America’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capital, that have much alienated the Muslim world, but of course, again much still need America’s security umbrella and as a guarantor oil will flow. Some mostly politics and bargaining, using Iran’s nuclear & missile issues.
7) Economics: Global Robust with Emerging Threats to Assets
The global economy overall is robust, but there are some challenges and threat ahead for some asset class, as central banks raise interest rates. Then there are some unknown such as Trump and GOP tax cut, impact on global tax regimes, as competing countries with America reacts. Then while oil price is currently on the moderately high level, boom and bust is the nature of the sector.
And again, with America’s anti-free markets, a cornerstone of Capitalism moves, likely problems ahead for a variety of issues, like growth, depends of levels of the conflicts. On free markets, EU is forging ahead with global free trade deals.
Then global warming is causing weather pattern shifts, so the economic damage is massive and getting more massive.
Economic wise, latest data says the USA looks robust, but for me, my expectation is not as optimistic as Wall Street consensus, based on a general & fundamental, massive deterioration & regression in America’s social fabric, and also institutions & values, such as Democracy. Then the anti-free markets moves will carry an internal cost and then also the attack on global warming and related issues, will also carry a cost.
From my experience and several empirical research, in the medium to long-term, that deterioration, and regression to lead to “Way Below Potential Performance” of the USA economy.
Then on USA and Geo-issues, apart from mentioned, well, Trump is basically emotional and reactionary and so the USA on Geo-issues not reliable & is now a “Factor of Radical.” This can be seen in such issues as in trade postures and national security, such as in NAFTA and in Asia with North Korea, meaning Trump pouring fire onto the fire or in other words, Trump the radical factor is going insane with North Korea leader, another radical factor.
On Asia overall though, good economic prospect, in China, Japan & Russia Far East, is “Extremely Positive” in itself, globally and also for internal Asia peace and security, “If” Asia’s leadership consensus is, “Why Ruin a Good Thing? & Trash the Party?”
Paradise Papers, a massive leak relating to tax heaven, is causing a global shock and a re-thinking of off-shore tax heaven systems and methods. The full impact could be massive, as a great many politicians and firms are involved in minimizing tax, at a time, the rich and poor gap is widening and politicians are seen as not responsive to people’s wants and demand. Here likely, lots of stress on tax haven issues.
A general robust global economy, of course, means a high likelihood of good commodity price, so Africa & Latin America, and also Asia, should also benefit and overall there is some here and there, at levels, the same type of the USA “Deterioration & Regression” but at many places dissent is heard & attempt being made address situation, and also some election, so some pressure is lessened.
8) Capitalism and Free Market: A Period of Mood Swing
On global free trade and Capitalism quite insane, as the country that lead planet on these values, being America, is anti-free trade and on Capitalism, few in America know and follow Joseph Schumpeter, a father of Capitalism, who said that Capitalism will fail, not because of Socialism, but because of the failure in moral and ethics, of the Capitalist leader class. On this, as examples just look at Trump & GOP, from anti-democracy, pro-racism, joint propaganda with Fox news with massive use of fake news, anti-science on global warming, to installing poor education standard on American children.
9) Alliances & Strategic Partnership: New, Old and Ditching
Alliance on the global level wise, BRICS and ASEAN fragmented and not much cohesion and joint efforts, and in fact, lots of infighting and competition. India and Japan are offering some joint efforts to counter-balance China in Asia. Europe is keeping a fairly low key on Asian politics and national security, but there are calls for more involvement, to promote Liberal Democracies and Free World values and also some military projections.
EU forging economic ties global over, with latest being Japan.
Trump has alienated Latin America greatly, leaving a vacuum for China and Europe to fill, with China having a bit of an edge on price competitiveness. Africa is seen as highly important to China and it has an edge over Europe, where many in Africa have a negative view of the West, and again, China offers more in price competitiveness.
Europe wise, again Trump has alienated many and now left is the realization that they need NATO, but wish everything else American politics left Europe. EU is, of course, starting to build an EU military and it will be about 10 to 15 years before EU can deal with America as a truly independent region of America.
Russia entanglement with American internal politics carries a cost, and this cost will come over the medium to longer term, likely when Trump and GOP gone from power.
China and America relationship is a big unknown that depends on Trump’s mood and pressure he is feeling on a variety of issues, but Trump greatly dislike China, and also Asians in general, this is part of his racist background. Trump wise, globally, very unpopular and much ridicule and so dragging America down with him.
The Middle East and greater and further out, as I mentioned before, hopeless and depressing, as global people just want oil and cares little about the rest, except a few such as Palestine, Yemen and Syria people, and some other like the Kurds. ISIS is on the retreat in its strong-holds, but the global reach is still great, as basically, there is no way of eliminating terrorism, and the only thing that can be done in minimizing it. Alliance wise, again, global people much do not care, other than the impact on oil price.
10) Specific Issues: Often these specific issues are related, for example, global warming do cause immigration, famine and also wars and conflicts, and so they hit the economy. And on issues such as declining global democracy, freedom, justice and human rights, from causing dystopian in a society, can result in many events other than repression and oppression, but also hurt economic development, bringing about again issues such as poverty, migration and immigration. So in sum, there is a type of cycle going on and a type of repetition, of problems causing and feeding, on other problems.
Global Warming: Specific issue wise, you know, Global Warming is causing crazy weather and the damage to life and money from this crazy weather is massive. Hard hit recently like Puerto Rico & Caribbean will recover, but the damage is massive.
Rohingya: The situation with Rohingya people in Myanmar is heart-breaking, as this is clearly Genocide and Crime Against Humanity.
Syria and Yemen: The humanitarian crisis there heart-breaking, as this is clearly Genocide and Crime Against Humanity.
Mass Shooting: Another mass shooting in the USA, but I think global people know, apart from what I mentioned, America is hopeless when it comes to this issue.
Women Issue: Attention heightened with Hollywood and DC, but overall, globally, still little to address. Apart from the human rights issue, this is a major drag on global economy.
Colonialism: Colonialism, like over Palestine & Tibet people is a hopeless situation. Then there is like Kurds and West Papua and other.
Global Famine & Illness: Still a major problem in many places.
Immigration & Slavery: Instances of horror like drowning has lessened, but still occurring. Human slavery is still a major issue, even with advanced industrialized countries.
Indigenous: The indigenous cause has somewhat stabilized, with some danger of regression in Brazil, but more hope in other places like Canada.
Global Units: Global units like UN, losing some luster with some anti-globalist sentiment, but EU surges in popularity. Global Goal looks less achievable on time. Paris Climate Deal struggling, with some breakthrough from Macron. Davos (WEF) still represents’ mostly the 1% top richest but they now seem to recognize this is not sustainable. Economic grouping among countries increasing despite Trump’s anti-free trade.
Terrorism: Terrorism is losing steam with bouts of shocks, Iraq declare all territory taken by ISIS taken back. Remnants remain here and there territory wise, but global reach still there.
Tech: Tech continued to change how humans live and work, perhaps at a slower pace until the next wave of AI, automation, and robotics.
Travel & Tourism: Global tourism, travel & hospitality industry is very robust. There is some concern of over-development and not sustainable.
Global Media: Global media infested with lots of nationalism, imperialism, and propaganda. There is no media for global people, as a whole, interest. Fake news is rampant.