The Political Tussles That Will Shape 2019
2018 will not go down in history as the year of subtle diplomacy, conflict resolution and fair play. On the contrary, the past twelve months have offered up a unique dose of cutthroat politics and wars for power where anything goes, and everything/everyone is fair game.
2019 promises to offer us more of the same. Below are some of the political tussles that will shape the coming year.
“Israel’s” early elections
There are few places on earth that have been as affected by the changing global order and subsequent geopolitical tectonic shifts as “Israel.”
This now-fading regional superpower is no longer able to contain its archrival, Iran. The insurgencies that Tel Aviv has fueled in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have proven to be costly failures. And its ‘airstrike diplomacy’ is being directly challenged by a reinvigorated and rehabilitated Syrian Air Defense Force.
Moreover, the last few months of 2018 appeared to suggest that even the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip is now off limits to “Israel’s” once-mighty war machine.
These new regional realities have fomented an unprecedented political crisis in “Israel,” where there is no consensus on the best way forward, and where the curtain finally fell on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as 2018 drew to a close.
The premier called for early elections to take place in April, shortly after losing his coalition partner and War Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who was apparently furious over “Israeli” failures in Gaza, as well as Netanyahu’s support for a law extending the military draft to ultra-Orthodox Jews.
But don’t be fooled. This election is not really about Jews who would rather immerse themselves in the Torah than wear a uniform, or even about a brief military exchange with Hamas.
This is a referendum on Netanyahu’s regional policies in a new and improved Middle East, where “Israel” no longer has a free hand to kill and maim.
That said, those who are hoping that the next few months will be Netanyahu’s last shouldn’t start the celebrations just yet. The incumbent is pretty confident and many polls agree.
Netanyahu is not only hoping to triumph – he’s even looking to increase his razor-thin majority of just 61 seats and make a lot of his problems go away in the process.
As far as his foreign policy is concerned, he feels that he has done a stellar job because the objectives are no longer as ambitious as ‘destroying Hezbollah’ or overthrowing the government in Damascus. Rather, it’s about keeping the skies over “Israel’s” strategic reach rocket-free.
That’s not to say that the prime minister does not have challenges. The top two are Benny Gantz of the “Israel” Resilience Party, and a looming indictment on criminal charges.
Gantz only announced his candidacy this week, but some polls have already put his recently formed party second to Netanyahu’s Likud.
More pragmatic predictions don’t give Gantz more than 10% of the vote, but for the opposition bloc, he will be the ideal candidate for the post of prime minister.
No matter who wins, though, no one expects radical changes in “Israel’s” foreign policy. But that’s not necessarily what’s needed, in any case. Even the slightest shifts in Tel Aviv’s approach to the new regional realities will have far reaching consequences for “Israel” and cause a ripple effect across the Middle East and beyond.
Democratic Party presidential primaries
Americans will head to the polls to elect their next president in November 2020. By the summer of that year, the main contenders for the White House will be unveiled. But before all that, there is plenty of wild and unpredictable political drama to look forward to during the Democratic primary, when the party faithful will select their candidate to challenge President Donald Trump.
And there is certainly no shortage of political contenders vying for the job.
According to the list of existing and potential candidates, the 2020 Democratic primary promises to be the largest in recent memory.
Campaigning is already well under way, and the first of twelve Democratic debates is slated for June 2019.
For the party’s leadership, the main task is putting forward the best possible candidate to unseat Trump. However, the same party leadership is highly polarized, and there is no consensus on what the ‘right’ candidate should look like.
Perhaps one of the more alarming trends in this political process is the rise of the ultra-leftists, who are increasingly identifying themselves as ‘socialists’. Organizations like the so-called Democratic Socialists of America are hoping to seize the leadership role in the Democratic Party and author its agenda for the coming decade.
These organizations, which are leading the charge in modern-day political correctness, as well as radical feminism and environmentalism, have already helped lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get elected.
Earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez rushed to the defense of her fellow freshman Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, who famously exclaimed “we’re going to impeach the motherf****r,” in reference to Trump.
“I got your back @RashidaTlaib – the Bronx and Detroit ride together,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a Twitter post.
Although such poor communication skills are of little relevance to the rest of the world, such individuals and their backers pose a threat to global stability due to their belief in the need to eliminate the existence of state sovereignty for the sake of ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘universal values’.
If they are at the helm of what could very well be a triumphant Democratic Party in 2020, the world will witness the birth of a new US foreign policy doctrine.
The race for 5G
2019 is likely to see a continuation of the trade war between the US and China, in one form or another.
Some of the fiercest competition will focus on 5G mobile networks.
This fifth-generation telecommunication standard targets a high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, a higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.
It is meant to aid in the management of massive infrastructure projects, production facilities and transportation networks.
In recent months, Washington and its Western allies have orchestrated a well-coordinated attack on the leading producer of this new technology – China’s Huawei.
It began with the arrest of the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, last month in Canada – a maneuver quickly linked to the US-China trade battle.
Since then, Germany and the UK have announced that they are considering banning Huawei from providing 5G equipment in their countries over supposed fears of ‘Chinese espionage’.
So far, Beijing has refused to retreat in the face of American pressure. Huawei is continuing to aggressively push its technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, India, Central Asia and Russia.
The domestic market alone offers great potential, which Huawei’s USD 100 billion in expected revenues for 2018 clearly illustrates.
The tussle between the Americans and the Chinese may delay the planned rollout of 5G technology but that will not make 2019 any less interesting.
Source: Al-Ahed News