These are the trends, events, elections and happenings that will drive the global conversation in 2017. Welcome to our annual year-in preview listicle for the discerning global set!
1) With President Trump, expect the unexpected
The single defining global story of 2017 will be how the world responds to President Donald Trump. Since the end of World War Two, the entire rest of the world has looked to the United States as a guarantor of world order. The United States has not always lived up to expectations, but for the most part it adhered a general set of norms and principles that guided international relations. This included creating a rules-based international order through treaties, free trade and institutions like the United Nations. For the past 70 years, the behavior of the world’s superpower and the men who lead it were constrained in their foreign policy by those very institutions, norms and legal regimes that the USA helped champion. Not coincidentally, this kind of “strategic restraint” coincided with the emergence of the USA as the most powerful and wealthiest country in the history of the world.
Enter Donald Trump.
We simply do not know if he will continue the tradition of American global leadership or if he will dismiss the entire liberal international order established in the wake of World War Two. He could emerge as a traditional Republican foreign policy president, or he could radically upend the conventions of international relations. We just don’t know. And that fact that we do not know this will be the single most defining feature of 2017.
— Mark Leon Goldberg