Revisiting 2022: A tough year for global politics and economy

Published : Tuesday, 27 December, 2022 at 12:00 AM

Everyone anticipated that the world would recover in 2022 after two years of brutal combat against the COVID-19 pandemic.That did not truly happen despite the world’s intense efforts, particularly because of the Russia-Ukraine war and the world’s succumbing to a brutal economic slump this year.Thus, 2022 will go down in history as a year marked by intense worry and economic vulnerability, despite the fact that a lot of things could have been changed for the better for the globe with a little bit of effort, persistence, and foresight.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which ultimately escalated into a conflict between Russia and the West, led by the USA, will always be brought up when discussing 2022.The conflict in Ukraine raises concerns about the need for states to adopt national economic strategies in light of geopolitical threats.Geopolitical tensions have already been exacerbated by the race between the United States and China, and the rise of populism. These factors have also contributed to concerns that globalization is deteriorating.

While Russia suddenly attacked Ukraine as it was willing to join NATO and bring the infamous organization at Russia�s backyard, the USA and its allies kept supplying arms and weapons continuously to the Ukraine. The support of the West actually completely destroyed the country though Ukraine had the potential to be one of the leading countries of the world due to its agriculture, location and nuclear strength. This conflict in Ukraine actually turned into a vicious global power game.

All of this is leading to increasing economic disruptions for low-income nations, with sub-Saharan African nations potentially facing sovereign debt default.Additionally, the Ukraine conflict has resulted in the biggest shock to commodity prices since the 1970s.International organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, continue to support international collaboration to address issues of economic and social welfare, while the International Monetary Fund and World Bank do likewise.

The twenty-five nations that, according to Bloomberg, are most susceptible to debt hardship are where the crisis is at its most severe.There are 1.5 billion people living in these nations, which range from low-income nations like Ethiopia to middle-income nations like Pakistan and Egypt.Food prices are still higher today than they were during the crises in 2008 and 2010�the latter of which sparked unrest in more than 40 countries and contributed to the Arab Spring protests�despite the UN’s Food Price Index declining from the all-time highs that surfaced immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.The world’s most powerful countries collectively failed to construct a multilateral framework that is more resistant to these shocks, which contributed to the systemic nature of this unprecedented cocktail of instability.

Even if Russia’s war in Ukraine is far from complete, it already seems to have hastened an existing shift in the global order of power.For US President Joe Biden, this is the most recent conflict in the struggle between democracies and autocracies around the world. However, for others, the emergence of recently reinforced alliances and severed ties points to a more nuanced division.

China’s ascent over the past two decades has altered the political landscape of the world more than any other single development.Beginning with its admission into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, China rapidly turned its economy from a low-cost �factory to the world� to a global leader in innovative technologies.Along the way, it changed international diplomacy as well as global supply chains, using its success to advance to the position of leading trading and development partner for developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.However, Beijing’s ascent to global power has also heightened tensions.

It is interesting to note that as a result of these effective alliances, Russia has made over $97 billion from the sale of gasoline and gas alone since the start of the war.Together, these embolden President Putin and his allies to continue a trajectory that further polarizes the world.

In its view of a bipolar world, Russia stands up for a group of nations that oppose US hegemony and the liberal system.Probably, at this point, the interests of China and Russia converge.Additionally, the reaction of the European Union, its friends, and supporters of Ukraine is bringing back the phenomenon of bipolarity that characterized the Cold War era.Typically, security considerations take precedence over commercial relationships, as evidenced by Ukraine’s swift response to the invasion, the acts of the US, EU and some specific countries.

The UN convened its first emergency conference in nearly four decades headed by the US and supported by 94 other countries on February 27, 2022.Russia’s earlier veto of a resolution involving the organization’s 12-member Security Council, which demanded that Moscow cease its invasion of Ukraine and evacuate its forces by February 25, 2022, led to this meeting.The resolution criticized Russia’s choice to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces.It was approved with the required two-thirds of member states voting in favor.Despite this development, the war rages on with no indication that either the Kremlin has “retreated” or that Ukraine has “surrendered.” Meanwhile, the whole world suffered.

Many European nations, the US and its allies, as well as other nations have become involved in the fight and subsequent rivalry that are dominating international discourse.For instance, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have responded inconsistently and erratically to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the Middle East.Both nations voted in favor of a resolution denouncing Russia’s invasion on February 25 while China and India abstained.Together with a few other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, these two nations are seeking a way to evade the wrath of either the US or Russia and their prospective allies.The GCC nations urged for peaceful political settlements just before the invasion as the situation in Ukraine developed.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been losing ground to other superpowers.A unipolar system with the United States at its heart is being replaced by a bipolar system with China holding the other pole in the current international superpower dynamic.The gap between China and the US as superpowers is getting smaller.A unipolar superpower with numerous great powers no longer defines the global order.In terms of pure economics, a bipolar superpower system is emerging. The notion that the United States will no longer be the only powerhouse in the world is dwindling.

Despite the brutal Russia-Ukraine war that will define 2022, the year saw a shift toward a bipolar superpower structure.The 8 billion mark for world population was reached this year.Significant occurrences this year include the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of King Charles III, protests over Masha Amini’s death and Iran’s political system, numerous human achievements in space, enormous advancements in artificial intelligence, the FIFA World Cup football, and even Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.However, despite all of these things, the year was nonetheless marked by serious worries only because of world politics.

The world elite have done many blunders during 2022.VolodymyrZelenskyy, president of Ukraine, made a mistake when he invited the West and NATO into his country while Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, made a mistake when he invaded Ukraine violently, as did US Vice President Joe Biden and other Western leaders. The US premier also made a mistake when he enraged China over the Taiwan issue and the Saudi Prince over the murder of Khashoggi. Though there are numerous instances of highlighting events in 2022, it will eventually be remembered as the year when the world leaders made blunders.

Even though many obstacles are foreseen in 2023, ideally the globe will have a much better 2023 if the world leaders did learn from their mistakes in 2022.Otherwise, the next few months will undoubtedly see a food crisis, inflation, and a severe economic downturn.We hope that 2022 will be a year of learning and the world leaders will make the best choices possible in 2023 while putting their egos aside for the benefit of the welfare of the entire human species.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, BangabandhuShishu Kishore Mela

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