Originally published December 12, 2014
Date: December 2015
(Washington) World tensions continued to be higher in 2015, despite the Obama Administration’s best efforts. That said, the news were largely news that continued the status quo.
Global Economy Lagged Behind U.S. Economy
The world economy grew at a slower pace than the American economy. Global growth was at 2%, with deflation a serious concern for many countries around the world. China, Europe, and Japan all faced deflation concerns, as the price of goods and services fell across the board. In many parts of the world, deflation and the hangover from the 2008 recession hindered economic growth and continued to fuel populist anger.
Governments around the world continued to walk the fine line between angry voters and trying to ignite an economic recovery in their nations.
Middle East Remained a Hot Spot
The United States continued its bloody struggle against ISIS, with both sides warring back and forth. ISIS – the transformed al Qaeda group in Iraq – continued to hold much of the ground in Iraq and Syria that it had gained in prior years, while the Americans stopped ISIS from gaining more ground. The United States launched a slew of air strikes and had military advisors on the ground to push back ISIS, but ISIS employed guerilla warfare to push back at the American military operation.
The Iraqi government, in 2015, remained as chaotic and divided as ever. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi would turn out to be as ineffectual as Nouri al-Maliki in establishing a stable Iraq state. Forces pushing Iraq into turmoil would continue to accelerate.
Russia Continued to Chart Aggressive Path amid turmoil
(Moscow) With the global oil market in a glut, and with sanctions hitting Russia hard, the Putin government moved to try to shore up its popularity. With the ruble in ruins, Prime Minister Putin sought to continue his aggressive posture in 2015, with feints in Crimea. Despite his best efforts, however, Prime Minister Putin was pulled inwards, to deal with the crumbling Russian economy and shrinking global leverage it had.
Inflation rose 12% in 2015, adding the stress onto the Putin government. Roughly $80 billion has fled Russia since the sanctions by the West were imposed. The Putin government raised interest rates three more times in 2015, in an effort to stave off inflation and to keep the economy afloat.
Abroad, the Russian government found itself playing defense in Eastern Europe, where the gas lines that it had owned were no longer as strong a leverage as it used to be. Where Russian influence once dominated, German influence now held sway.
Cameron’s Government Falls in 2015
(London) In the year 2015, Labour and their allies garnered a 350 seat majority in the House of Commons, as the Tory Government fell. Cameron was unable to take a majority of at least 325, but once again, no party crossed 325 on its own.
The Tories took 28% of the popular vote, Labour 30%, Liberal Democrats 12%, UKIP a surprising 10%, and other parties took some of the vote. In seating, 271 Tories, 289 Labour Members, 34 Liberal Democrats, 19 UKIP Members, and 10 SNP members – along with other parties – would sit in the new House of Commons. For a governing majority, Labour had themselves, the Liberal Democrats, and most of the remainder of the small parties. Notably, Labour fell 2 votes short of a governing majority, even with Liberal Democrats.
With these results, Ed Milliband became the new Prime Minister of Great Britain. Many attributed the Labour victory to the slow European recovery and the deflationary trends facing Britain and Europe. The rise of UKIP in 2014 had signaled a populist backlash against the more conventional Cameron Tory government of 2010.