In 2022, if the international community can unite and cooperate in the fight against the pandemic, and whether the United States and other countries can take their fair share of duties, will determine whether humanity can overcome the pandemic as quickly as possible.
Due to internal disputes and the EU’s reliance on the US for security, the EU’s route to strategic autonomy remains uncertain. Last year, seven rounds of indirect talks mediated by European mediators failed to break the impasse between the US and Iran. Looking ahead to 2022, the United States’ challenges to the world may become more serious.
The year 2021 will be remembered for the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, which has a variety of variations, as well as a number of unresolved global issues. Inflation, deteriorating relations between Russia and the West and blocked Iran nuclear talks all posed severe obstacles to the global economy in 2021.
Looking ahead to 2022, however, answers to these seemingly intractable problems are still in sight. Worldwide, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths has surpassed 280 million and 5.41 million, respectively, and the Omicron strain has spread to over 110 nations and territories.
To end the pandemic, global vaccination must be accelerated. The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Implementation Plan’s distribution committee recently asked for a 70 percent vaccination coverage rate in all nations by mid-2022. China has distributed approximately 2 billion vaccine doses to over 120 countries and international organizations, accounting for one-third of all vaccination use outside of China.
Rich countries overstocking vaccines pose severe obstacles to global vaccine distribution equity. With barely 5% of the population in low-income nations fully vaccinated, the largest barrier to defeating the pandemic is now the immunity gap. In 2022, if the international community can unite and cooperate in the fight against the pandemic, humanity may finally have a chance to overcome the pandemic as quickly as possible.
One of Britain’s top economics consultancies, the Center for Economics and Business Research, expects that the global economy will surpass $100 trillion for the first time in 2022, two years ahead of its prior forecast.
Resurgent pandemics, supply chain bottlenecks, rising inflation, and recovery differentiation, on the other hand, are projected to continue to harm the global economy in 2022. The global economy may be exposed to additional risks as a result of the United States and other advanced economies’ tightening monetary policies.
Despite the uncertainty, the Chinese economy has maintained a fairly steady growth and continues to inject confidence and energy into the global recovery.
In 2021, Russia and Western countries’ relations entered a Cold war scenario as they engaged in a bitter dispute over Ukraine.
In a confrontation with the US over Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated that Russia had no place to retreat and would be obliged to respond harshly unless the West withdrew its “aggressive line.”
Relations between Russia and Europe have gotten increasingly difficult. If the European Union (EU) continues to work with the US and applies sanctions on the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project or the Russian financial system, the EU’s energy security and financial stability will undoubtedly be jeopardized.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) frequent actions in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea have recently elicited intense opposition from Russia. If NATO continues to put Russia’s “bottom line” to the test, significant consequences could arise, threatening global strategic stability.
While Russia and the US aim to convene a security discussion in January 2022, it remains to be seen if the dialogue will be able to prevent the worsening of bilateral relations, given the two sides’ long-standing lack of mutual trust and structural geopolitical contradictions.
At the end of 2021, a new German government was sworn in. In 2022, France will hold a general election. Germany and France, the EU’s “twin engines,” are in the midst of a transitional moment.
The EU has been suffering a difficult economic recovery as a result of the pandemic’s reappearance, with low-carbon strategies and digital economy goals being impacted to varying degrees.
Meanwhile, there are still disagreements between Britain and France over fisheries and refugees, and the gap between old and new European countries will widen as a result of Brexit. Faced with these dangers and challenges, the ability of the EU’s two “engines” to collaborate closely will determine the direction and pace of the EU’s advancement.
Following a series of incidents such as eavesdropping on European allies, a hasty exit from Afghanistan, and the termination of France’s submarine export pact with Australia, Europe has begun to take greater initiative and reduce its reliance on the US.
France, which will take over the rotating EU presidency in January 2022, aspires to “move towards a Europe that is powerful in the world, completely sovereign, free in its choices, and in control of its own destiny”.
However, due to internal disagreements and the EU’s reliance on the US for security, the EU’s route to strategic autonomy remains uncertain.
Last year, seven rounds of indirect talks mediated by European mediators failed to break the impasse between the US and Iran. Iran demands that all sanctions imposed by the US and EU be lifted in a transparent manner.
The US insists that Iran adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s (JCPOA) requirements and restrict or freeze relevant nuclear activity.
While the US declared its openness to returning to the Iran nuclear deal, it also continued to impose further sanctions on Iran. Such arbitrariness places both parties in a stiff position, which does not augur well for the 2022 negotiations.
As the world approaches a new year, many experts believe that the United States remains the primary source of uncertainty.