The Leading Geopolitical Risks for 2021
- The Distracting US Presidential Election: This year’s presidential election in the United States lived up to its expectations in terms of its impact on global stability.
- Popular Unrest: The level of popular unrest entering 2020 was high and the pandemic resulted in an even higher level of unrest in many parts of the world.
- China and Hong Kong: China’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement took place as expected and threatens Hong Kong’s future as an Asian economic hub.
- A Gulf Conflict: The threat of a conflict in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf rose dramatically in early 2020 following the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
- Cyber Warfare: The massive cyber-attack on many government bodies in the United States and elsewhere in late 2020 highlighted the risk posed by cyber warfare.
- India-Pakistan: Clashes between India and Pakistan were largely verbal in 2020, as India’s biggest threat last year came from neighboring China in the Himalayas.
- More Difficulties for Western Democracy: In addition to the chaotic US election, Western democracy was shaken by Brexit and rising support for populist leaders.
- The Technological Arms Race: The race for technological leadership between the US and China not only intensified, but threatened to leave other powers far behind.
- Latin American Divisions: Latin America’s deep ideological divisions were overshadowed by the devastation wrought on that region by the Covid-19 pandemic.