2024 promises to be a tumultuous year, not the least because of a host of elections across the region, from presidential contests in Taiwan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the United States, to general elections in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the Solomon Islands, and legislative polls in South Korea. Japan and Singapore could join that list, if their ruling parties decide to roll the dice on snap elections. These votes will serve to recast the political class across Asia, with possibly significant consequences.
Amid the churning in Asia’s political pools, there are worrying economic tides too. China’s economy is in dire need of a boost but foreign companies remain wary of Beijing; meanwhile, Southeast Asia’s “scamdemic” is truly a global problem. Afghanistan remains mired in poverty and hunger as the international community debates how to handle the Taliban regime, and Pakistan’s economy is teetering between recovery and crisis.
And there are a number of festering conflicts across Asia, from Myanmar, where a coordinated resistance offensive took shape in the latter part of 2023, to the South China Sea, where the Philippines, most prominently, is facing off against China. At the same time, crises in the Middle East and Europe continue to sap American attention and alter wider geopolitical trends. If 2023 was a rollercoaster, 2024 promises to be a continuation of that wild ride, from Central Asia all the way to the Pacific.
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