After the credit crunch

On Newsnight on Friday Mark Urban had a segment looking ahead to what the aftermath of the current financial crisis could mean for international relations. With everything so volatile it’s a perilous time to make predictions but that also makes it more exciting to do so. It feels like anything could happen. Here’s a summary of what he said:

For the UK, big cuts in defence and foreign aid budgets. A withdrawal from Iraq next summer, with no further increases in Afghanistan.

Wider retrenchment of NATO and US.

Western influence declines.

More adventurism. Russia, China, the Middle East — Iranians or non-state actors — feel emboldened because the West is too broke or doesn’t care any more. For example, the Iranians might push ahead with their nuclear programme because they think the US can no longer do anything about it.

China builds on successes in Africa and Middle East. Gulf States with petro-dollars, and other nations with trade surpluses, will begin to renegotiate the terms of world trade.

Is America set to ruin itself, as France did after the French Revolution?

There must be other similar speculations around at the moment. Post a comment if you know of any.

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