Politics • 11 November, 2019

Astana Club experts warn about global economic recession risks in 2020

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On November 11, 2019, within the framework of the fifth anniversary meeting of the Astana Club political forum, the second edition of the “Top 10 Risks for Eurasia 2020” rating was presented in the capital of Kazakhstan, press service of the Astana club reports.

40 authoritative experts and politicians, whose opinion is valued by state leaders, international institutions and major media outlets, took part in the study. In addition, more than 1,100 professional respondents from 70 countries were interviewed using the survey method.

The project leader, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan (IWEP) Yerzhan Saltybaev and co-authors of the rating, President of Slovenia (2007-2012) Danilo Turk, vice president of the Carnegie Endowment Evan Feigenbaum (USA), as well as the chairman of the PIR Center, Lieutenant General Evgeny Buzhinsky (Russia), spoke about the results of large-scale work to the expert community.

The key goal for creating an annual rating is the assessment and scenario-based forecasting of the most significant risks in the Eurasia region.

IWEP Director Yerzhan Saltybaev drew attention to the fact that according to the results of the work the main risk zones included trade wars, a nuclear missile race, as well as a struggle for domination in the field of new technolo gies.

“Every year, as part of the work on the rating, we try to increase its research and applied potential. This year around 40 global experts participated in the development with us, including the heads of international think tanks, leading politicians and diplomats.

We also expanded the coverage of the number of respondents who presented their own view of the problems we are studying. Last year, there were about 1000 respondents from 60 countries, this year - more than 1,100 from 70 countries. That is, the representative sample is quite wide” said Yerzhan Saltybaev during a press conference.

According to the data presented, the key risks for Eurasia in 2020 included:

  1. Aftershocks of the 2020 US Presidential Election

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, has already launched a campaign for re-election for a new term. However, his opponents threaten him with impeachment. Uncertainties in the political development of the world's leading superpower can pose serious risks for the whole of Eurasia.

  1. Global economic recession

The trigger for another economic crisis with global implications could be problems in emerging economies. Amid the outflow of capital, emerging market currencies run the risk of plummeting, which will exacerbate companies' debt problems and spiral the global crisis.

  1. Escalation of the US-China confrontation

The risk of increased confrontation between the US and China was noted on the first line of last year's rating. The problem remains relevant in 2020. The conflict between Washington and Beijing can take shape into a full-fledged strategic confrontation.

  1. A new race of nuclear missile weapons

In 2019, we witnessed the collapse of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF), which at one time became a symbol of the process of discharge. In 2020, the world will be confronted with the probability of a total nullification of the "rules of the game" in the field of strategic weapons.

  1. Exacerbation of the battle for technological dominance

 It can be expected that the geopolitical segmentation of the technological space will become more apparent. Cases with Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE are a kind of “run-in” mechanism for the regionalization of markets for IT-products.

  1. Military escalation of the conflict around Iran

The first step towards an even greater escalation of the confrontation around Iran could be the termination of the nuclear agreement. Iran’s confrontation with geopolitical rivals can spread widely into cyberspace. The situation will constantly hold hostage the entire security system in the Middle East.

  1. Nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula

The movement of North Korea towards a peace treaty and the normalization of relations with the United States is at a slow pace. The risk of failure to negotiate is exacerbated by growing differences between the parties. The complication of the situation can also be caused by the aftershocks of the US presidential election in 2020.

  1. A new wave of terrorism

Despite the defeat of Daesh, terrorist groups are experiencing a new phase in their development, expanding the geography of action. The chimeric product of this dangerous evolution is the lone wolves. At the same time, the world is facing extreme manifestations of the so-called “white” terrorism and terrorism of other faiths, whose victims are Muslims and migrants.

  1. Aggressive nationalism and populism

The transformation of populism into a leading electoral trend and the temptation of politicians to simply solve complex problems increase the risk of devastating social conflicts, including ethnic and religious ones.

  1. Large-scale problems caused by climate change

In 2020, disagreements of major powers run the risk of completely paralyzing the process of combating climate change, which will make it easier for other states to pursue a selfish policy, justified by national interests.

The fifth meeting of the Astana Club, the authoritative international discussion platform in the form of a political forum, bringing together leading international experts, politicians and diplomats, is taking place at the Nazarbayev Center on November 11-12. The Club is organized by the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy and the Institute of World Economics and Politics.

The theme of the Club’s anniversary meeting is “Greater Eurasia: On the Way to a New Architecture of Global Cooperation”.

The Club’s expert discussions focus on the current aggravation of the confrontation in the triangle of the USA, China and Russia, the growth of trade protectionism and populist sentiments, as well as the new round of escalation around Iran and North Korea.

The plenary meeting of the club, chaired by the First President of Kazakhstan, is the central event of the entire forum, devoted to the discussion of the topic of “Creating the Greater Eurasia: a new model of partnership”. Among the speakers - 9 ex-heads of state and government, 9 ministers and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy, Nursultan Nazarbayev, traditionally chairs the annual meetings of the Astana Club.

International interest to the activities of Astana Club lies in the fact that the Kazakhstan discussion platform, created in 2015, for a short period of its work has become a truly global platform that brings together all the key players of Eurasia. The club allows developing common approaches by gathering at one table parties from various geopolitical camps, sometimes in a state of conflict.

Astana Club is a vivid expression of the practical success of Kazakhstan's multi-vector foreign policy.

Over the period of its activity, the Club was attended by more than 200 speakers from 40 countries, including the USA, China, Russia, Iran, Germany, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Japan, South Korea, and others.

The speakers and headliners of Astana Club were such famous politicians and thinkers as Mohamed ElBaradei, Jose Manuel Barroso, Ahmet Davutoglu, Vaclav Klaus, Abdula Gul, Boris Tadic, Hamid Karzai, George Friedman, Ian Morris, Robert Kaplan and many others.

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