OVERVIEW 2019OVERVIEW 2019:Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections will shape the actions and decisions of countries around the world in 2020.

A contentious election year in the United States means that even as other nations deal with their own domestic, regional and global concerns, they must take into account the opportunities and risks in decisions that overlap U.S. interests, considering the possible dramatic post-election change in U.S. posture.

“Rogue” nations such as Iran and North Korea, and non-state actors including the Taliban and the Islamic State, will assess ways in which they might leverage their behavior to exploit perceived weaknesses in U.S. foreign policy, while also calculating the risks or benefits in making deals with the Trump administration, or waiting for a possible change in U.S. leadership. If they press to accelerate a U.S. response in their favor,  the risk of aggressive posturing to include military and militant action will grow along with the likelihood of miscalculation of U.S. responses to aggressive tactics.

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China, Russia and other U.S. competitors, as well as Washington’s partners in Europe and Asia, will approach making or rejecting commitments with the United States in 2020 with more caution until there is certainty about the next administration. These countries will consider their much longer-term relationship with the United States, seeking to avoid obligations that could get overturned or taking actions that assume a change of White House leadership.

Whereas Stratfor’s 2019 forecast highlighted several challenges to global economic growth, in 2020, we are less sanguine about the ability of the world to avoid localized economic shocks. Social and political stresses stemming from slowing Chinese economic growth rates, rising protests over social inequality and economic austerity programs across Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East — exacerbated by sluggish commodity prices — and Brexit-related uncertainty could contribute to localized economic instability.

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Uncertainty over the status of global trade agreements and the limited effectiveness of fiscal and monetary tools available to governments already running at extremely low interest rates will compound these local issues. While a single crisis at one time would be largely manageable, should crises occur in rapid succession or economic instability overlap in several places at once, it could rapidly snowball with global effect. Though we expect some partial easing of U.S.-China trade tensions, the deeper systemic differences between the two will not be resolved in 2020, if at all. The differing economic agendas of the United States, China and Europe leave little room for cooperation, increasing global economic risks.

A growing global competition centered on technological development will intensify political battles and further strain economic stability. The U.S. elections will further highlight the use of social media and other mass communication tools to spread disinformation and sow discord. Competition over technology supply chains, and differing regulatory constructs surrounding the intersection of national security, personal privacy and business interests, will likely leave the United States, China and Europe even further apart than they are today, putting global technology supply chains under stress, further increasing economic espionage and highlighting the stark differences in approach to forming a global regulatory consensus.

Source : Google

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