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New Year’s Predictions: Global Affairs

Political scientist Jon Pevehouse looks into the future to see what might develop in Ukraine, Taiwan, and the global economy.

Esther Seidlitz
December 12, 2022

Jon Pevehouse is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs and chairs the UW’s political science department. An expert in international relations and American foreign policy and an award-winning instructor, he has taught on campus for more than 20 years. He is also the coauthor of the leading textbook in his field, International Relations, and editor emeritus of the journal International Organization

Chief Area of Expertise:

International relations, international trade, international diplomacy, and American foreign policy.

On the UW Now, I’ll Discuss: 

I will discuss where I see some of the major world events heading in this next year, including the war in Ukraine; U.S. tensions with China, including Taiwan; and the state of the global economy, including global inflation. 

The irony is — as well as Ukraine has done — people are now starting to wonder “Well, how much should we continue to help them?” Had they done worse, no one would be talking about that. As Ukraine continues to do well, there are lots of other issues that are going to start making it a much more complicated diplomatic situation. One example of this is, you’ve now seen a lot of western European countries and the United States start to question where a lot of these weapons have ended up. Because we fear some of them are leaving that theater. And who knows where they’re ending up. In general, what research has tended to show is that, as weapons flee theaters, they allow other conflicts to start breaking out in other places. 

On China, I really worry about a conflict in Taiwan because of the protests breaking out in China. I fear that the Chinese leadership, in an attempt to distract the public, are going to become increasingly belligerent toward Taiwan to spur nationalism. I’ve always thought the most likely scenario for war in Taiwan is not a strong China but a declining China, a weak China.  

One Thing I’d Like Viewers to Remember Is: 

On Ukraine, that the war is going better than what anyone could have predicted. And there’s no reason to think that’s going to change. 

To Get Smart Fast, Read: 

I like to follow the BBC because it’s a different outlook. The Straits Times is a Singapore paper that has some really interesting insights on China and Taiwan. And then the Council on Foreign Relations has a couple of interesting backgrounders on recent stuff in Ukraine and in Taiwan.

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