Dear FP subscribers,
Happy new year!
I like to begin January by taking stock of the year gone by—and looking ahead to what the next 12 months might bring.
2022 was a particularly busy, newsy year. Russia invaded Ukraine; China’s Xi Jinping began an unprecedented third term; inflation soared as stocks plummeted; the world faced a food and energy crisis; Washington put in place strict restrictions on Beijing’s ability to access the market for advanced semiconductors; the climate crisis became even more urgent, with a third of Pakistan submerged in floodwater and East Africa suffering its worst draught in decades; Iranians took to the streets to protest against their leaders; and so much more.
It’s hard to keep track of it all. I found it useful to go through FP’s roundups of 2022’s most important stories. There are collections of essays on Ukraine’s remarkable and inspiring defense of its territory, North Korea’s bizarre spate of missile tests, the end of the pandemic, Qatar’s World Cup legacy, FP’s best long reads, and our writers’ favorite podcasts, books, and films. The article that I cited most frequently at holiday parties was our annual look at the new geopolitical words coined in 2022: If you want to know what polycrisis, zeitenwende, or friendshoring mean, read up.
What does 2023 hold in store? Predictions are a risky game, but I asked our columnist Stephen Walt to gaze into a crystal ball. He thinks we’re underestimating the possibility of failure in Ukraine. Other FP writers disagree, and argue that the notion that the U.S. public is giving up on Ukraine is a myth. One thing’s for sure: the war will remain at the top of Biden’s inbox in 2023, among other foreign policy challenges identified by our reporting team.
We asked our columnists for their lists of key events and trends. James Crabtree, Caroline de Gruyter, Edward Alden, Anchal Vohra, and Michael Hirsh identify the issues they’re watching in 2023.
Here’s one thing we can safely predict. Whatever your thoughts on the state of democracy, hundreds of millions of people will head to polls in 2023—from Argentina to Bangladesh to Nigeria to Pakistan. FP’s Allison Meakem put together her usual guide to the major elections of 2023. The other FP staple this time of year is our annual 10 Conflicts to Watch. Ukraine tops the list but there’s also Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran, Yemen, Taiwan, Ethiopia, and more. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, Comfort Ero and Richard Atwood at the International Crisis Group have done the legwork.
It’s not all bad news. I just wrapped up an FP Live session with David Miliband, the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. We discussed how to solve the world’s worst crises—and why we can at least try to be hopeful in the new year. Watch it back to start 2023 on the right note.
Our Winter print issue drops later this week. I’ll wait until then to tell you more. But if you want a sneak peek, I’m interviewing two of the contributors—New America’s Anne-Marie Slaughter and retired Gen. David Petraeus—on Monday about what the world has learned from the war in Ukraine. Register here.
As ever, thank you for supporting our journalism—and our mission of advancing informed debate on the world’s most important issues. And if, like me, you missed a trick on holiday giving, our 40% discount on gift subscriptions is still available. FP is a present friends and family can enjoy 365 days a year. Let’s hope 2023’s a good one.
Editor-in-chief, Foreign Policy