Conflicts of 2021: A warning for the US and the World

  • The year 2021 will bring expansion in North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing.
  • The top threat of 2019 and 2020 of cyberattack on US critical infrastructure will continue to pose danger in 2021.
  • A severe crisis between China and the United States is expected to take place over Taiwan, resulting in growing risk of military confrontation.

The above mentioned concerns have been put forward the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) thirteenth annual Preventive Priorities Survey. The survey, conducted the Center for Preventive Action, consulted foreign policy experts to rank thirty ongoing or potential conflicts that might occur in 2021 and impact US national interests.

conflicts in the world

Tier I Concerns & Conflicts of 2021

  1. Likelihood: High; Impact: High- North Korea’s further development of nuclear weapons or ballistic missile testing, precipitating heightened military tensions on the Korean Peninsula
  2. Likelihood: High; Impact: Moderate- Increasing violence and political instability in Afghanistan, resulting in the collapse of the peace process
  • Continued violent re-imposition of government control in Syria, leading to further civilian casualties and heightened tensions among external parties to the conflict
  • Accelerating economic collapse and political instability in Venezuela, leading to further violent unrest and increased refugee outflows
tier 1 conflicts

Why should the United States be concerned?

“There are many potential international clashes that the incoming Joe Biden administration must be particularly mindful of, especially given its desire to focus on bringing the novel coronavirus pandemic under control,” said Paul B. Stares, CPA (Center for Preventive Action) Director.

  • The state is at risk with intensifying political and economic pressure from China against Taiwan, leading to a severe crisis with the US
  • An armed confrontation between Iran and the United States or one of its allies over Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy groups
  • Russian interference or intimidation against a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), resulting in heightened military tensions
  • A mass-casualty terrorist attack on the United States or a treaty ally directed or inspired a foreign terrorist organization.

Also Read: How ‘Nuclear-Capable’ is India and China?

What is in store for India?

A major terrorist attack or heightened unrest in Indian administered Kashmir, and a breakdown of disengagement agreements between China and India over disputed border territories might trigger a severe India-Pakistan military confrontation.

Though the likelihood of occurrence of these threats is moderate, the year 2021 is not going to serve well, especially when the world needs to stand united against COVID-19 pandemic.