“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” —Thomas Jefferson
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” –Plato
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” —Albert Einstein
I am finally getting to my Global Security forecast for 2020! After a couple of weeks of craziness in the Persian Gulf, as promised, I want to take this week to address where I think the world will be headed over the next eleven months.
A lot hangs in the balance for this new year. Economies are unexplainably solid for the time being. Extreme poverty has dropped minimally. For the first time, in 2019 half of the world’s population gained access to the internet, and depending how you define it, literacy continues to rise globally.
I am often asked by well-meaning men and women to give them a prediction as to what will happen globally. Predictions are reserved for men and women much more close to God than I am. As a matter of fact, they are probably for the people who are already with God. The forecasts I make are based on past events, human nature, current situations, and active predictive analysis. Some would say this is a very scientific process. I would agree to a point, but most are simply educated observations. The Harvard Business Review provides an excellent article that explains how to make effective forecasts. It is worth reading.
A forecast of this nature will bring out the “glass is half full,” or, “glass is half empty,” propensity of the analyst. Just so you know, even though I look at a plethora of difficult events each week, I am by nature a glass is half full kind of guy. That being said, there are several things that are coming to the forefront for me as I look at this coming year. First of all, expect the unexpected. We will be surprised this year!
One thing is for sure, there will be many things that turn out differently than expected. There will always be more than meets the eye.
Despite the many things to fret over, I am approaching this year with anticipation and expectancy of good. There are always more things for which to be thankful. The list I provide will be by no means exhaustive, but will include potentially catastrophic events, either regionally or globally. As always, these are situations which will have elements that may escape our eyes and imaginations. It is intended to be a broad stroke of our world and not a granular analysis.
Ten Forecasts for 2020
- Tensions between the Gulf States and the West will continue to dominate diplomatic and military considerations deep into 2020. I believe there is the potential for negotiations, especially in light of the inner turmoil in Iran. The death of Qassem Soleimani will set a new tone for potential discussions. Up to now, Iran has acted without any US retaliation and has had little incentive to negotiate. The loss of the Quds commander will be a turning point in the US/Iran relationship. This year will most likely see a breaking point in the Iranian economy. All things considered, we will see some significant progress in the Persian Gulf.
- The standoff between Russia and the West will continue throughout 2020. Now that Putin has essentially fired his entire parliament, replacing them with loyal cronies, it will set the stage for Russia’s continued quest for a seat back at the global leadership table. Putin will continue to strive to disrupt Western democracies through Internet intrusion, viruses, and hacking. He will push the West concerning Iran, Syria and Ukraine. These actions could potentially bankrupt the Russian economy.
- The threat of terrorism, from Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and al-Qaeda and its affiliates will remain prominent in the world. The expansion of the Islamic State and sympathy for associated ideologies will also remain. It can be expected for any one of these groups to catastrophically attack a soft Western target. Attacks driven by jealousy and hatred, combined with a weakened guard by the West will provoke atrocities that make 9/11 seem docile.
- Sub-Saharan Africa will struggle with authoritarian regimes. Practices have changed, civil society groups have proliferated, and citizens across the region demand better and more just governance. However, many nations continue to struggle with authoritarian rule, patronage politics, and favoritism. Many leaders remain focused on political survival as opposed to reform. Global economic headwinds also threaten improvement by keeping commodity prices low and investment weak. Some nations who’ve made progress toward democracy remain fragile and predisposed toward violent corresponding elections. Tensions between Muslim and Christian groups can escalate into conflict.
- Hong Kong will test the relationship between the US and China in 2020. Demonstrations will continue with breaks throughout the year. It will begin to disrupt the economic position of Hong Kong globally. China will seek to use the situation as a bargaining chip, seeking to drive a wedge between Hong Kong and its Western economic reliance.
- This will be a year of disruption for Latin America. In 2019 the foundations were laid for further unrest. Much will depend on the incumbent governments. If they decide to preserve their power, there will be much turbulence and bloodshed. If they elect to move to democratic forms and allow protest, there could be some healthy outcomes. Countries most likely affected will be: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil. These of course are listed in addition to Venezuela, who have been and will be in a heightened furor.
- UK lawmakers have approved an agreement that outlines how the country will leave the European Union, scheduled for January 31. The approval allows the UK to avoid an abrupt breakup from the EU later this month and gives more certainty to businesses and citizens on both sides of the English Channel, at least for the remainder of 2020. The departure of the UK from the EU will have serious effects on the overall economy of the European Union and could lead to other states contemplating their exit. Italy might follow suit.
- India and Pakistan will engage in continued border skirmishes over Kashmir. There will be an inner Asian land-grab as both parties try to secure their own interests while claiming that it is for the good of the Kashmir people. This confrontation will have a cataclysmic impact on both the economies of India and Pakistan, not to mention that of Kashmir. Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistani government and Narendra Modi’s nationalist government cannot afford a nuclear war where both parties would lose. Both nations will jockey to position themselves as the dominant party in the region. Both governments are struggling internally. This situation will be used as a wrestling match while they fight for control.
- Migration will continue to have a destabilizing effect globally. Already in Europe, leaders are “stuck like a deer in the headlights” as millions of distraught men, women and children throughout the Middle East are poised to leave their countries and migrate to Europe in hopes of a better life. This influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers will cause major political disruptions in already stressed economies. The largest impact will come in Germany. The tenuous political partnerships will be stressed to the max, bringing a vote of no-confidence to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government.
- US elections will pre-occupy Americans in an unhealthy way for the duration of 2020. This preoccupation will spill over into a global fascination further polarizing peoples and governments. Expect the 2020 US presidential elections to be a wild-west affair, dominated by conspiracies, fake news, deep fakes, and global interference by the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and any smart high school kid with a laptop. There will be a loss of trust in information and news unlike we have ever seen. The general population will no longer know what to believe. This has the potential to create the most apathy known to history.
The challenge in forecasting, and indeed the key to geopolitical threats in the world is the unpredictability of both, black swan events and human behavior. We need to be able to discern between truth and falsehood. Building a repository of trustworthy sources will be key. Preparedness and comprehensive systematic risk analysis will be imperative to minimizing your personal losses and maximizing opportunities in 2020.
The key will be the careful consistent study of global events and extracting your information from a broad range of sources. This is what I hope to do each week in “More than Meets the Eye.” I do not just draw my study from right-wing sources or from leftist analysts. I try to cover a broad spectrum of information. Most of my sources are not of the mainstream media type. I pay a pretty penny for valuable subscriptions to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) resources. I read them daily, and tethered with a lifetime of travel and relationships across the world I try to come to conclusions that represent our Judaeo-Christian worldview. I provide the links to my research each week so that you may see a wide range of global sources representing a multitude of various viewpoints.
I would advocate for each reader to recommend “More than Meets the Eye” to family, friends and colleagues. This week, a young Iranian who lives in Europe, whom I have known for several years, pleaded with me to tell the world about how the Iranian people are being oppressed by the current regime. This is not information that we are hearing in the mainstream media. I will be happy for you to give as many free trials to “More than Meets the Eye” as you are able. Here is the link. Send the link and have your friends and family begin receiving the “More than Meets the Eye” weekly digests.
Pray about these situations. Take a few minutes each day and ask God to bring peace to this world which can feel as if it is rapidly spinning out of control. Love your neighbor as yourself. Listen more than you talk. Give more than you get. It will only be through becoming transforming agents in this world that our planet will have even the remotest chance of surviving the coming days.
The Israeli–Palestinian Peace Plan Is a Much-Needed Dose of Reality… https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/trump-israeli-palestinian-peace-plan-much-needed-dose-of-reality/
2020 Could See A Renewed Refugee Crisis In Europe. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alasdairlane/2020/12/31/2020-could-see-renewed-refugee-crisis-in-europe/#1c83d6075b0a
For your comments or questions about any of our digests please feel free to write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For 2020 Cyberthreat Predictions… https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/the-top-20-security-predictions-for-2020.html