WE have been through another bloody year that was marked by several significant shifts and quakes in international relations that seem to have left the remains of the political system established after World War II in ashes. In the current circumstances, the forecast for 2017 is rather gloomy. The main player shaking up the international system is the new president of the US. Too much in 2017 will depend on Mr. Trump and on how the Senate and Congress will limit his adventurism. But what is clear is that Donald Trump will step into power in January of 2017 and will hardly stabilize the international situation. His administration, if we are to judge by its composition, is dangerously hawkish with a dominance of representatives from military circles. His policy is not clear.
His agenda is not clear as well. He is a businessman and apparently will treat politics and international relations as a business to be done with the most benefit to the United States. Such an approach, on the one hand, can ease tensions on the Russia-US track. In terms of leading the country, his personal attitude toward other nations influence his political approaches. But easing the tensions on one front he will raise tensions to new extremes on the other tracks.
His policy toward China has all chances of raising tensions between the two countries and any hostility and strain where at least one superpower involved is dangerous for global stability. His anti-migration stance will boost xenophobia and racial disputes within the country on the one hand and deepen the already severe gap between Trump supporters and his opponents on the other.
In foreign politics, his blind support of Israel has all chances of upsetting US relations with the Arab world, especially taking into account his seemingly xenophobic attitude toward the Middle East and Muslim world. The prospects of the hard-reached Iranian deal seem negative. The cancelation of the Iranian deal will most likely fuel regional strain and increase the nuclear threat.
2017 will be more nasty that 2016. Turbulence will grow. The first steps taken by the new US president will determine the future scene An aggravation of ties with Iran will lead to the domino effect, boosting sectarian conflicts and strengthening sectarian components in already existing ones. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are on the list. The intensifying clash between Sunnis and the Shiites predicates the rise of terrorist attacks and the spread of tension between Muslims. Iran’s intensifying interference in regional affairs will toughen the Saudi Arabian response – the Kingdom will probably raise its voice higher demanding the international community constrain Iran. What is clear is that under the rug sectarian battles will become more violent claiming more and more lives and weakening already extremely weakened regional balances.
A big question mark hangs over Syria, the only hope is that Idlib will not be drowned in blood. ISIS is not faring badly. Palmyra is once again in its hands. The offensive on Raqqa continues to occupy minds. The operation in Mosul that will leave thousands of civilians dead is still going, with the end nowhere in sight. Palestinians will most likely have to forget about any justice for another couple of years. The spread of extremism and deadly terrorism will continue as long as the international community is staying impotent. So, 2017 will be marked by other attacks that will make the world shudder again.
2017 will be more nasty that 2016. Turbulence will grow. The first steps taken by the new US president will determine the future scene we are doomed to face.
[Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme]