We Predict 2020 Is the Year the U.S. Will Find Itself All Alone
From battles with China to an ugly U.S. election, another year of Trump mayhem shapes Marker’s 2020 geopolitical forecast
The U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated in the highest-stakes geopolitical game on the planet — the division of the world into two zones of economic activity, one American-dominated, one Chinese.
This bifurcation, pushed by both the U.S. and China as they battle for primacy in the technologies of the future, is meant to force other countries to take sides and fold themselves into one or the other zone. But a bad early sign for the U.S. is a reluctance by two of its leading allies — the U.K. and Germany — to go along. Both appear, at least for now, to be shunning the leading U.S. strategy: to ostracize Huawei, the Chinese maker of 5G technology in favor of Western companies. Instead, Britain and Germany seem likely, at least for now, to go with Huawei and sit on the fence.
The U.S.-Chinese struggle is at the core of our geopolitical forecast for 2020, which examines everything from vulnerable CEOs to the ugliest election in modern U.S. history. This is the eighth year of these forecasts, based on 15 common-sense guidelines that reflect how people have tended to behave over time. (Here are the first 14 — from the Muddle-Along Rule to the Conspiracy Rule — and the latest, the Rule of Miscalculation.)
1. The U.S. election will be a nightmare…
The new edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer registers public trust in institutions at rock bottom. That is one reason why the presidential election will be the most divisive in memory — in what is highly likely to be a close race, neither side will wholly trust the outcome, or anyone to adjudicate if the winner is not clear-cut (take a look at this Ipsos poll from October). Democrats will talk about suppressed voting, and Republicans of cheating. If he is the apparent loser, Trump is likely to take to Twitter, and his base to the streets. The election will be ugly and possibly dangerous.
The primary clue in this outlook is the Injustice Rule, a powerful dynamic that states that, when a critical mass of people despair…