Strategic Survey 2020 The Annual Assessment of Geopolitics

    The worst pandemic in a century tested governments, strained societies and frayed
    international ties during the year to mid-2020. But there was much more to this period
    than COVID-19. Climate change – another severe global challenge – grew more critical. US
    President Donald Trump was impeached, the United Kingdom left the European Union, and
    Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was killed.

    Strategic Survey 2020 provides a comprehensive overview of major developments in every
    region of the world, and in-depth analysis of key geopolitical and geo-economic issues:

    War The US–Taliban agreement to end the United States’ longest war; the persistence of
    other complex armed con□flicts.

    Power China’s growing in□fluence, especially in Europe and the South Paci□fic; Turkey’s force
    projection in the Middle East and beyond; the EU’s quest for strategic autonomy; the
    new geopolitics of the Red Sea; the implications of Ethiopia’s giant dam for relations
    between Nile states; the increasing use of economic sanctions as a tool of statecraft.

    Rules The decline of multilateralism; prospects for arms control; key gaps in international
    law; Central Asia’s connectivity; changes in the status of Jammu and Kashmir; dual
    legitimacy in Venezuela.

    Strategic Survey 2020 also assesses a diverse range of political leaders: 

    • Progress of three ambitious reforming presidents: Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa,
      Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico.
    • Foreign-policy legacies of two veteran leaders: Angela Merkel and Abe Shinzo.
    • Trump’s challenges to both the transatlantic relationship and China.
    • Evolution of and prospects for Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

    Strategic Survey 2020 is the indispensable guide to the events, actors and forces that de□ ned
    an exceptionally complex year. It highlights the geopolitical issues that will shape the
    international agenda in 2021.

    Chapter 1 Introduction 5
    Editor’s Introduction 5
    Drivers of Strategic Change 7
    Chapter 2 Key Events 11
    Chapter 3 Strategic Prospects 17
    Chapter 4 Strategic Policy 25
    2020: The Politics of Pandemic 25
    How has the most severe disease in a century shaped geopolitics?
    Shifting Attitudes Towards Multilateralism 38
    Cooperation is needed more than ever: why are its institutions under strain?
    Key International Legal Gaps 47
    What are they, and how can they be closed?
    Prospects for Arms Control 61
    Will the future resemble the past?
    Climate Change: Year of Reckoning, Postponed 70
    COVID-19 deferred action – but did it create an opportunity?
    Chapter 5 North America 79
    Drivers of Strategic Change 80
    2019–20 Review 83
    US–China Relations 90
    No way back?
    Trump and the Transatlantic Relationship 100
    How far has US policy towards Europe changed?
    Chapter 6 Asia 109
    Drivers of Strategic Change 110
    2019–20 Review 113
    Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision at the Crossroads 130
    Will it endure after Abe?
    Hong Kong 139
    A triumph of experience over hope?
    Changes in Jammu and Kashmir 148
    What are the strategic implications?
    The US–Taliban Deal 160
    Will Afghanistan’s peace process work?
    China’s Strategic Ambitions in the South Pacific 168
    Past the peak?
    Chapter 7 Europe 179
    Drivers of Strategic Change 180
    2019–20 Review 183
    Germany’s Foreign-policy Challenges 191
    How is the EU’s largest state navigating global change?
    China’s Influence in the European Union 200
    Why has the past year been so difficult?
    European Strategic Autonomy 210
    From symbolic to substantive?
    Chapter 8 Russia and Eurasia 219
    Drivers of Strategic Change 220
    2019–20 Review 223
    Russia: The Road to 2024 232
    What challenges face Putin and his system?
    Zelensky’s First Year as Ukrainian President 242
    Is he fulfilling his promises?
    Central Asia: Connectivity, COVID-19 and Geopolitics 252
    What next for the Eurasian heartland’s international ties?
    Chapter 9 Middle East and North Africa 263
    Drivers of Strategic Change 264
    2019–20 Review 267
    The New Geopolitics of the Red Sea 277
    Why is interest in the region resurging?
    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Nile Geopolitics 288
    Will Africa’s huge new dam create a crisis?
    Turkey’s Force Generation Abroad 299
    How and why is Erdogan projecting power?
    Chapter 10 Sub-Saharan Africa 309
    Drivers of Strategic Change 310
    2019–20 Review 313
    Debt Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa 321
    How severe – and will Washington and Beijing help?
    South Africa’s Difficult Choices 336
    Does ‘Ramaphoria’ have a future?
    Chapter 11 Latin America 345
    Drivers of Strategic Change 346
    2019–20 Review 349
    The Expansion of Brazilian Organised Crime 358
    How serious a threat to Latin American governance and beyond?
    Venezuela’s Political Stalemate 367
    How long can it endure?
    Mexico’s ‘Fourth Transformation’ 377
    Can López Obrador deliver change while distrusting institutions?
    Index 387


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