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PS Commentators’ Predictions for 2023

While no one knows what the future holds, it helps to enter a new year with an appreciation for the big issues that will likely dominate the global agenda. If one thing can already be said with certainty, it is that 2023 will not be boring.

Every December, Project Syndicate commentators identify the trends to watch in the coming 12 months. In addition to the now-perennial issues of climate change and COVID-19, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the global economy’s lowering outlook are understandably commanding much of the attention in this year’s installment. Still, with some commentators pointing to “green shoots” of renewed international cooperation in public health, climate, and other areas, it is not all doom and gloom.


The protests in Iran will continue to make headlines. But because they will be unable to fracture the regime’s coercive elements – from its Basij shock troops to the larger Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the Islamic Republic will endure. America’s Middle East policy will continue to drift as it focuses on great-power competition and tries to forget its forever wars. US allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will also stray, pining for Donald Trump’s return to the White House. But regardless of what happens in the United States, they will continue to strengthen their mutual ties.

The region’s less wealthy countries, such as Algeria and Egypt, will continue to march in place as the broader shift from hydrocarbons to green energy accelerates. They have chosen to divert their indigenous manna to increasing subsidies, propping up state-owned enterprises, and expanding bloated bureaucracies, rather than expanding education, health, and investment. They are therefore destined to be left behind as their windfalls begin to dissipate.