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Strategic Estimate 2014 is Khilafah.com’s fourth annual assessment of the global balance of power. We concluded our 2013 assessment with the US remaining the world’s superpower, facing a challenge in one region in the world by an assertive and aggressive China. Faced with this reality America’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific was taking shape in earnest as draw downs in both Afghanistan and Iraq were in full swing.
The rise of China with its rapid economic growth has been a regular feature of global politics for the last few decades. As part of our Strategic Estimates we have long questioned the sustainability of this rapid economic growth and in 2013 the unmistakable signs that China was trouble came to the surface. Many analysts in 2013 concluded China’s economic model has now run its course. Has China’s economic model run out of steam? Can China transition to another economic model? In Strategic Estimate 2014 we assess China’s prospects.
Ever since Vladimir Putin came to power and centralised Russia we have tracked Russia’s assertiveness in its region and beyond. Russia has been competing with the US to reverse the losses after the decade of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The reversal of the colour revolutions and more confident at home, Russia has been in an ideal position to challenge US prowess round the world. However, Russia’s response to US provocations against North Korea in February 2013 and Russian actions when al-Assad conducted a chemical attack in August 2013 were uncharacteristic of a global power and raise serious questions about Russia’s capability and ambitions. Strategic Estimate 2014 asses Russia’s position on these issues and analyses the nation’s military, energy, economic and social power.
The European Union continues in its struggle to navigate the myriad problems the global economic crisis has created. A variety of policies were analysed in Strategic Estimate 2013 which were applied during the year, these will be analysed to assess the EU’s current position. The political powers in Europe – Britain and France have had a busy year with their intervention in Mali. The position of both countries in terms of the global balance of power will be assessed in order to ascertain if they are any position to replace Russia and China as nations challenging the worlds Super Power – the US.
The Arab Spring reached its third anniversary in 2013 and the initial euphoria has given way to anarchy and chaos. The country which witnessed one of the Arab spring’s regime changes – Egypt, was short lived as it was overthrown on the eve of its first anniversary in power. Across the region Libya, Tunisia and Yemen struggle to maintain stable rule. The battle for Syria continues with various factions vying for rule and with a heavy presence of international powers complicating the situation. In Strategic Estimate 2014 we assess where the region stands as the Arab Spring passed its third year anniversary.
The role of ideology and values in global politics is this year’s geopolitical issue. Whilst economic and military power can be central to national power, values have for long played an important role in global power projection. The Cold war was the height of such an ideological clash and with the dominance of Capitalism the role values play in global politics is assessed.
What follows inshallah is the author’s opinion and assessment of 2013 and the trends for 2014 and beyond. Like any assessment, they are estimates and forecasts.
28th Safar 1435
31st December 2013