One of the most crucial conventional development in 2022 was the continuation of regional crises. (Getty Images Photo)

World in 2022: A year of deepening global crisis

In this article, I will briefly analyze some conventional and unconventional issues of 2022 and underline the increasing political crises in Western countries, all of which lead the world to a more chaotic period.

2022 was a very tough year for the whole world. Besides many traditional crises, some vital unconventional threats have begun to shake the world. In this article, I will briefly analyze some conventional and unconventional issues of 2022 and underline the increasing political crises in Western countries, all of which lead the world to a more chaotic period.

Conventional global crises

The most crucial conventional development in 2022 was the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the following Russia-Ukraine war. The Russian unilateral move, officially described as a “special military operation” against Ukraine, has been a watershed in world history. It was defined as the moment of the return of power politics to the European continent. This was the first invasion of an independent nation-state by another. The NATO alliance was consolidated against possible further Russian aggression. Some European countries, such as Finland and Sweden, who perceive a threat from Russia, have initiated processes to become NATO members. NATO members have begun to invest more in the armament.

The second most crucial conventional development in 2022 was the continuation of regional crises. Regional crises were pushed to second place mainly due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and related concerns such as food and energy. The global powers have concentrated on global rivalry rather than on regional crises. The international community forgot many regional problems such as the Syrian, Yemeni and Libyan crises.

Third, the global rivalry was another conventional problem in 2022. Besides the ongoing war in Ukraine and the renewed rivalry between the Russian Federation and the Western world, the increasing tension between the United States and China was on the agenda of international politics. The controversial visit of the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to self-ruled Taiwan in August 2022 has created further tension between the two states. While China is increasing its influence in different regions, such as Africa and the Middle East, it is competing with the U.S. regionally and globally. The two countries compete economically and generally advocate opposing views on global issues.

Unconventional global crises

Besides the coronavirus pandemic, which was inherited in 2021 and continued to influence both nation-states and people worldwide, there were some other unconventional problems in 2022 challenging the whole world.

First, one of the most severe unconventional global crises in 2022 was food insecurity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, global food prices increased by 14.3% last year. The FAO food index, which measures monthly changes in international prices of five major commodity groups, namely cereal, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils and sugar, rose 18 points from the previous year to 143.7. Hunger and malnutrition were significant global problems for many non-developed countries. Thanks to the constructive efforts of Türkiye, who facilitated the signing of the grain deal in Istanbul between Russia and Ukraine, the risk of global hunger was postponed.

Second, another serious unconventional global crisis is climate change. The global powers are among the largest contributors to environmental problems such as carbon emissions and global warming. The number of bushfires and wildfires increased throughout Europe and the world, where the weather conditions are getting warmer. The British Meteorological Office recorded the hottest temperature in the United Kingdom last July. Scientific predictions suggest that climate change has been driving up global temperatures. The U.K. is not the only country suffering from climate change.

Third, rising energy prices were on the agenda of many countries worldwide, especially in the European continent. Europe has faced one of the most severe energy crises in history after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. As a response to the Western sanctions imposed against Russia, Moscow has used energy sources (natural gas) as a weapon against the energy-dependent European countries. Russia has halted natural gas deliveries to Europe in August 2022 via the Nord Stream pipeline.

One of the most important global development was the global refugee problem. Not only in Africa, South Asia or the Middle East but also in Latin America millions of people have left their homes for a better life and an economically developed destination, mainly the U.S.

In this context, Mexico has become a focal point for migration in the continent, being a corridor for migrants from Latin American countries such as Honduras, Cuba and Haiti to the U.S. According to Mexican officials, the number of asylum requests has surpassed 118,000 in 2022.

Increased political instability in the West

One of the main reasons for the global-scale economic, social and political chaos is the rising social, economic and political problems within the West. Many Western countries have seen inflation not seen in decades. As one of the side effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, the inflation rate and living costs have dramatically climbed.

Western countries have increasingly begun to experience social, economic and political problems. As the most powerful state in the world, the U.S. has been experiencing different problems. The occupation of the Capitol by the supporters of ex-President Donald Trump crowd was an unusual moment in American political history. And most Americans expect similar political crises shortly since political animosity and polarization have been rising in the U.S.

Furthermore, the crime rate, intolerance, ultra-nationalism and xenophobic thoughts and attitudes are on the rise. As a manifestation of this tendency, the U.S. has deported more than 2 million refugees since the implementation of Title 42 in March 2020, the law allowing the government to deport illegal migrants and introduced by the Trump administration.

Similarly, the U.K. experienced many unusual political crises in 2022. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has defined the year 2022 as “tough” for the British people. He added that the problems will not go away in 2023 his new year’s message. Short-lived governments are only one indication of political instability in the U.K., which is known as one of the most stable and institutionalized countries in the world. One of the symbols of British political stability, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away after her 70-year reign. Furthermore, ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss has remained in power for less than two months, being one of the most short-lived governments in the history of the U.K.

The British government has struggled to overcome the vulnerable health issue, continuous illegal migration and rising costs of energy.

Another example of the increasing political instability was the military coup attempt in Germany, the largest state in Europe. A group of ultra-rightist suspects was arrested by the government after a nationwide operation. Considering the occupation of the Capitol in the U.S. and the Presidential Palace in Brazil, the coup attempt in Germany is yet another indication of increasing political instability in the Western world. The possibility of a military coup in Germany was unthinkable until very recently.

[Daily Sabah, January 11 2023]

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