BOOK: Strategic Estimate 2013

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Strategic Estimate is’s annual assessment of the global balance of power. We concluded in our previous assessment the US remained the world’s superpower, however it had been over-stretched in both the wars it was engaged in after the events of 9/11, this led to a number of nations taking a more confident and in some cases a much more confrontational approach to the US in the different regions of the world.

In 2012 China confirmed what many American policy makers had long believed, that the nation has its sights set on the South China Sea. The year has seen an aggressive China utilising its military to expand its influence in its own region after decades of diplomacy and commerce. The US has dominated the Pacific region since it defeated Japan in WW2, it now faces an assertive, developed and militarily strong China looking to remove US influence in the region. The year has also seen the global financial crisis catch up with China and strains are beginning to show in its economic growth. The sustainability of China’s export driven economic model continued to persist in 2012 as the global economy shows very little signs of recovering.

The Arab spring in 2012 saw a number of developments with the initial euphoria giving way to victories for Islamic groups and then the reality of actually running a country. The brutal crackdown by the al-Assad regime in Syria gave way to a stalemate by the opposition. Strategic Estimate 2013 will analysis where the Arab spring stands on its second anniversary as the Muslim world attempts to re-shape its destiny.

2012 was election year in Russia. The elections unravelled the architecture Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite constructed after they emerged victorious in the struggle for the country following the chaos that gripped the nation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s internal dimensions did not stop its resurgence in its periphery and 2012 saw Russia develop its go ‘East’ policy of building influence in the Far East.

The global economy in 2012 saw many of the world’s premier economies go into a double dip recession. The world’s largest economies have struggled with stimulating their national economies though policies of austerity and stimulus packages. The political fall-out from the global economic crisis dominated 2012 as a number of governments’ domination of their national politics gave way to gains for more unorthodox political parties.

The global economic situation continues to weigh upon the European sovereign debt crisis. The emergence of the left in the French presidential elections highlighted the differences on how to deal with the crisis in Europe between France and Germany. The number of struggling economies also increased where a North-South divide emerged.

Iran once again made international headlines as Israel continued with its rhetoric for military strikes. Like previous years 2012 ended with no strikes but with the US-Israeli positions becoming more distanced from each other.

What follows inshallah is the author’s opinion and assessment of 2012 and the trends for 2013 and beyond. Like any assessment, they are estimates and forecasts.

12th Safar 1434

25th December 2012

Adnan Khan