Global Security In 2024: 5 Contextual Trends, 10 Possibilities

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 07, 2024 - 03:10 AM

Authored by Gregory Copley via The Epoch Times,

It is more than probable that 2024 will create a confluence of major strategic trends, which could increase the likelihood of formal, kinetic conflict and continued global economic decline...

Each year of the past three decades has seemed like a pivotal year in the evolution of the post-Cold War global strategic architecture, and, indeed, that has been the case. But 2024 promises to provide a number of highly significant watersheds in the progress of that new global framework.

We should review the major concerns in priority order, in terms of the known probable events and their consequences, bearing in mind that some “uncertain” factors will move into the “certain” column during the year. The interactions from events will, to an extent, develop in accordance with their coincidence with other events. Note that all pivotal events interact with each other; nothing is evolving in isolation.

What is significant, though, is that there are globally pervasive socio-economic trends that provide an additional contextual layering or background.

These are the result of the accretion of event trends underway for decades.

These should be taken as part of the framework for 2024’s geopolitical pivot points. These include the following:

  1. By the early 21st century or even the late 20th century, the exhaustion of the urban-industrial republican reforms began around the late 17th century and created several hundred years of growth, wealth, and the modern form of democracy. The maturity and exhaustion of these societies are now starting to give way to increasingly autocratic governance and lowered national productivity.

  2. The pattern of global population decline, already well underway everywhere except India and Africa (and foreseeable there in the coming decades), is causing a major drop in wealth and population health, and requires the consideration of new economic models geared to declining market sizes and declining technological innovation levels.

  3. A peaking and subsequent decline in the appeal and efficiency of major urban agglomerations is impacting political power centralization.

  4. The overwhelming and deepening decline in prestige—and therefore coercive capability—of literally all major powers in the world has ushered in an era of distrust, a lowered efficacy of military alliances, and a willingness by governments to “go their own way,” increasing the prospect for “unintended consequences,” including unanticipated conflict.

  5. The continued decline, with no reverse at present foreseeable, in the pace of scientific and technological breakthroughs or disruptive events, and a decrease in the volume and efficacy of research and development funding and marketplace trust in “scientific saviors.”

Against this background, one must consider more immediate consequences that could possibly come to fruition in 2024, such as the following (and their timeline and priority could change as incidents trigger responses):

Communist China

The deep, ongoing economic collapse of communist China is leading to strategic consequences at the domestic, regional, and global levels. This could include reactive, high-risk military action by China against other states, particularly Taiwan and Vietnam, in 2024, if Chinese leader Xi Jinping were to retain power. That could result in major escalation and broadening of such conflicts, resulting in the further reduction of the Chinese regime and the removal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Taiwanese military personnel drive a CM-25 armored vehicle across the street during the Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on July 27, 2022. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

Alternately, Xi’s removal from power in 2024 could result in a stabilized but greatly chastened and impoverished mainland Chinese society in which the CCP could retain carefully balanced control. It is also possible that an unchecked military action initiated by Xi could then trigger his removal by the Party. The prospect, at the beginning of 2024, was that the growing rift between Xi and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as well as the growing Party and public confrontation of Xi, may preempt action by Xi.

US Presidential Election

The U.S. presidential election of November 2024 will clearly impact U.S. domestic harmony and international actions, as well as the trend path of the power of the U.S. dollar globally. With the probability of a decline in prestige and power projection capability of both the United States and China, the question arises as to which power will attempt to fill the power vacuum during the transitional phase-out or reduction of the Pax Americana phase of the “rules-based world order.”

Will the United States accelerate or slow the pace of economic vulnerability due to its debt service crisis? And what could trigger a global debt crisis?

Balance of Power in Middle East, North Africa

The overflow of the Ethiopian civil war, the Sudanese civil war, and Egypt’s socio-economic crisis into global politics impacting the Red Sea/Suez sea lane is intimately linked with the restructuring of the Middle Eastern and North African (particularly the Horn of Africa) balance of power. This will be accompanied by a stabilization in the Levant through a conclusive outcome to the Gaza war (albeit not with an end to sporadic conflict between Israel and its immediate neighbors).

Meanwhile, a change of power in Ethiopia could substantially alter the Red Sea/Suez Canal trade route in positive terms. It could lead to a regional accord with Egypt to dramatically transform the region.

Israel–Hamas War

The consequences of the Israel–Hamas war as a wider phenomenon, particularly impacting the actions of Turkey and Iran, and subsequently their relationship with Russia, has the potential impact on the Russian-controlled International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the rise of India as a stand-alone strategic pretender.

The Iranian involvement in the Hamas conflict may have brought the Iranian clerical leadership under possibly terminal pressure despite the INSTC alliance, which had promised the clerics security under a Russian blanket.

Russia–Ukraine War

A negotiated end to the Ukraine–Russia war, possibly by spring 2024, but certainly by the end of 2024, may lead to the possible scaling back of U.S. dollar-based sanction weapons to recover ground lost to the BRICS-plus (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, plus new members) bloc and others that felt threatened by U.S. unilateralism in sovereignty intervention through the dollar. That may well depend on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

Venezuela–Guyana Dispute

The impact of the Venezuelan escalation of its conflict with Guyana has the potential to cause the United States to refocus on the Americas, coupled with a potential slowing of the anti-dollar trend among BRICS-plus bloc member states.

A man walks by a mural campaigning for a referendum asking Venezuelans to consider annexing the Guyana-administered region of Essequibo in Caracas, Venezuela, on Nov. 28, 2023. (Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images)

The question is whether this is occurring too late for the United States to take advantage of the possible opportunity, largely because of the mass dollar debt owed by the U.S. government, and because of the U.S. political addiction to the weaponized use of sanctions depending on the use of dollars as a tool to punish adversaries, disregarding the long-term build-up of concerns among U.S. allies and trading partners that the weapon could be used against them.


There is a move toward comprehensive rejection of foreign great power dominance in Africa. That is occurring because of the decline in great power resources and budgets and, in particular, because of the declining prestige and influence of those external powers.

At the same time, African frustration with imported geopolitical models, including artificial borders, is being matched by the growth, or return, of African philosophical and cultural approaches to governance. All of this, coupled with European and North American governance issues, will interact with the global population movement crisis.

Green Energy

There is a slowing down—because of declining prosperity—of trends to end fossil fuel dependence and artificially stimulate pseudo-green technologies while markets move back into a moderating position on energy sources.

Key Western governmental initiatives to create an artificial market for green and pseudo-green energy technologies for political purposes are now, in 2024, facing increasing societal resistance due to the declining economies and increasing difficulty in sustaining wealth levels, despite governmental initiatives to control the market.

Technological Developments

The continued decline in the pace of scientific and technological advancement rates, already mentioned in the contextual trends as being in evidence since the early years of the 21st century, will still see key areas advance incrementally, but with fewer breakthrough technologies occurring, and at a higher cost per incident.

This is likely to see societies—and armed forces—opting for a mix of practical, older technologies and practices despite governments often attempting to legislate the obsolescence of valid existing technologies.

In the military sense, the attempts to evolve older weapons systems (such as the U.S. F-15 fighter, the B-52 bomber, the M1 Abrams tank family, 1960s-based hypersonic capabilities, and anti-satellite weapons) are symptomatic of the process.

Societal Polarization

The further polarization of many “modern” societies under modern forms of democracy is likely to be evident, particularly in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and possibly India. Significantly, none of these societies has legal mechanisms available to overturn such societal polarization and the increasing paralysis and exhaustion of the state apparatus.

This means that unprecedented catalysts—possibly outside their respective constitutions—must occur for each of these types of societies to change in order to cope with the necessity to create new models and shed old obligations, or else state paralysis and polarization are likely to continue.

All of these trends are part of the natural cycle of societies. Still, we see them now in the light of modern communications technologies, and we are seeing them harmonizing on a global level. Initial responses have been to attempt to stem the pace of collapse rather than to look at strategies for the emerging era beyond the short-term uncertainties.