Five Regions with the Highest Political Risk in 2020 | Teen Ink

Five Regions with the Highest Political Risk in 2020

January 16, 2020
By Robert214 GOLD, Guangzhou, Other
Robert214 GOLD, Guangzhou, Other
11 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
Make the best of what is within our power, and take the rest as it occurs. -Epictetus

1. Iran

After the assassination of Soleimani at the beginning of January, the tensions between the US and Iran escalated rapidly. Iran has claimed to launch severe revenge on the US. Given Iran’s firm attitude, Trump's policy to get Iran back to the negotiation table through military pressure is likely to fail. On the contrary, Iran may become more aggressive and irrational due to Trump's actions. Because of the complicated domestic situations in both countries, Iran and the US may not go into war with each other directly. However, will Iran wage war against the allies of the US in the Middle East (e.g. Israel and Saudi Arabia)? Will Iran continue its nuclear mission? Will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz? Huge clouds of uncertainty still exist, and Iran’s strong military strength (compared with many other states in the Middle East) renders the situation riskier. The assassination of Soleimani may be the tipping point of a series of further conflicts. It is reasonable to predict that the Middle East would be chaotic in 2020.


2. North Korea

Despite the deterrence from the US, North Korea still invests a lot in developing its nuclear power, conducting several ballistic missile and nuclear tests. Kim Jong Un is trying to make his state a de facto nuclear state like Israel. This bold act will likely upset the US and cause the US to interfere in the East Asian affairs, since the nuclear development of North Korea is a great threat to the allies of the US like Japan and South Korea. The presence of China renders the situation riskier, especially due to the ongoing trade conflicts between the US and China. China’s attitude on North Korea’s nuclear development will be an important determinant of future US-China relation. China’s reluctance to sanction on North Korea may irritate the US and thus escalate the conflicts between these two superpowers. Though a direct military confrontation is still of limited possibility, the existing disagreements could make East Asia unstable in 2020.  


3. Latin America

Following the rising of populist leaders in recent years, Latin American societies become increasingly polarized. People, especially the working and middle class, are discontent with the decreasing public security, sluggish growth, and serious government corruption. Thus, citizens demand more government spending on public services (which will worsen the governments’ financial situations), which fuels the populism trend in the region. This trend escalates the tension between the elite class and ordinary citizens. The class conflict focuses on government saving versus spending. As indicated by the tumults in Venezuela last year, the political risk of Latin America is high, especially when the US interferes. Similar to the situation in Venezuela, domestic crises may break out in other Latin American states in 2020. Even more dangerously, like the Arab Spring a decade ago, the chaos in one Latin American state could trigger off that in neighboring states. This chain reaction further increases the political risk in this region. 


4. China

In 2019, there was a huge uprising in Hong Kong against the mainland government. This wave of tumult has eased in 2020, but the government’s authoritarian rule of the region brings uncertainties—mass protests may take place again in 2020. Hong Kong is not the only problem for China. The leader of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, who supports the independence of Taiwan, remains in the office after the 2020 election. Due to President Xi’s eager willingness to reunite Taiwan with China, it seems likely that China will use military force to threaten Tsai’s government, as it has been doing in recent years, but more intensely. With the support of the US government, Tsai’s government may fight back, which would lead to direct military conflicts between China and Taiwan. Aside from potential local political crises, the soft power contests between China and the West are fierce. The western criticisms of the human rights issues subject China to great international pressure. This can escalate the existing conflicts between China and the West, indirectly fueling military confrontations.    


5. Britain

After the huge win of the Conservative Party in December, Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal passed the parliament. However, there are still clouds of uncertainty regarding Brexit. It is highly likely that Britain can leave the EU by January 31, after which the trade talk will soon begin. Because of the worsening relationship between the EU members and Britain, the trade negotiation would be difficult for Britain. Also, Britain’s trade agreement with the US is still to be negotiated. The 2020 election in the US makes the trade deal even more uncertain, given the possibility of the end of Trump’s presidency. If Britain exits the transition period without a proper trade deal with the EU or the US, Britain’s economic risks would surge. This will severely harm the businesses and even lead to domestic political tumults in Britain.

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