Xi Jinping

The world buckles: Our geopolitical forecast for 2019

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After two years of intense pressure — the U.S. trade war with China, its brinkmanship with allies, and finally the government shutdown — the global system is showing signs of cleaving. The U.S. and the rest of the world appear to be tipping into recession, leading nations are taking each other's nationals hostage, and deadly and frequent violence is striking Europe.

The big picture: Last week we took account of our six 2018 geopolitical forecasts. Now we explain our outlook on this year. A core observation for 2019 is that the anti-establishment wave has unfolded amid a booming global economy. Now, a key question is how already-furious people will behave when economies almost everywhere begin to go south.

China's next path to world domination: science

Chinese solar observatory equipment in a field in front of a beautiful sunset or sunrise.
Ming'antu Solar Observatory in China. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Images via Getty Images

Last week, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon — the clear sign of their scientific ambition, The Economist reports.

Why it matters: Under President Xi Jinping's direction, China is surging ahead with the recruitment of top scientists to work on new frontiers, while the U.S., without a similarly coherent strategy, risks falling behind the nation that has emerged as its most consequential adversary for the next century.

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