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Strategic Estimate is Khilafah.com’s annual assessment on the global trends, the emerging trends and the developments that have taken shape during the year between the world’s powers.
2011 will remain long in the memory when the history books are finally written. What has now come to be known as the Arab spring began with a single man in the markets of Tunisia, which then spread to thousands on the streets in Cairo and evolved to hundreds of thousands demanding political change in the Muslim world. The self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia created a sweeping wave, which crossed the artificial borders in the Muslim world encompassing Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain until it engulfed most of the Muslim world. 2011’s Strategic Estimate, Khilafah.com’s annual assessment of the global balance of power is dominated by the Arab spring.
We concluded in our 2011 assessment that the US remained the world’s superpower, however it had been over-stretched in both the wars it was engaged in after the events of 9/11, this led to a number of nations taking a more confident and in some cases a confrontational approach to the US in the different regions of the world. In 2011, America, the world superpower and the world’s largest economy every year since 1870 had its credit rating downgraded as doubts surfaced about its ability to repay its ever growing debts. Unable to pull itself out of recession and extricate itself from deployments across the world the end of the American century continues to dominate discourse about the American empire.
The challenges to America stem primarily from Russia and China. Both have made significant progress in strengthening themselves in the face of US global domination. Russia continued with its resurgence in its periphery and took a more cooperative approach to strengthening itself which is a departure from the more aggressive policy which has dominated the Kremlin for the last decade. 2011 was dominated by Russia surging ahead with its attempts to modernise and fill the technology gap the nation faces due to the decline it under went after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
China’s economy continued to surge ahead in 2011, however many questions remain on the sustainability of the economic model driving Chinese growth as the global economy fails to grow. China made a number of political moves to strengthen itself in its region and achieved significant milestones by rolling out its first aircraft carrier and developing its first stealth fighter jet.
The global economy at the end of 2011 is in a worse position than it was in 2010. With the European sovereign debt crises spreading and the failure of the world’s premier economies in generating economic growth, a double dip recession dominated the global economy in 2011. This economic crisis has brought the European Union to virtual breaking point as various Eurozone nations came to the brink of defaulting on their debts. 2011 was dominated by Europe’s premier powers attempting to redesign Europe – this has led to the emergence of Germany – a country whose prospects we asses.
Not surprisingly Iran made the headlines again late in 2011 as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its report about Iran’s attempts to enrich uranium and develop a nuclear device. We analyse this recurring episode in order to separate rhetoric from reality. We also analyse the conception of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) their reality and role in the global balance of power.
What follows’ inshallah is the author’s opinion and assessment of 2011 and the trends for 2012 and beyond. Like any assessment, they are estimates and forecasts