haass164_PAUL J. RICHARDSAFP via Getty Images_elections PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images
en English

The World in 2024

While the US presidential election in November is almost certain to be this year’s most significant event, many other key countries will also be choosing new leaders this year. The outcomes, particularly in the United States, will have profound consequences for war and peace, climate action, and possibly the future of democracy.

NEW YORK – In my old job at the US State Department, colleagues often asked me what was likely to happen in this or that situation. Often, there was no way of knowing, and I reminded questioners that I was Director of Policy Planning, not of predicting. That said, prediction can be a useful intellectual exercise that serves us well in the coming year.

The US presidential election in November is almost certain to be 2024’s most significant event. To be sure, US elections are always consequential given America’s power and influence. But what makes this election fundamentally different is that it is likely to be one in which the differences between the major party candidates far outweigh their similarities. Assuming President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump gain their respective parties’ nominations, who wins will matter a great deal, both to the United States and to the world.

To be sure, there are some similarities between Biden and Trump. Neither believes in free trade, although Trump, unlike Biden, is an outright protectionist. Both favor a bigger role for government in the economy. Both wanted to exit Afghanistan. They also agree on the need to take a tough line toward China, especially when it comes to trade and investment in critical technologies.