The year 2015 was one of the crucial years in the era of 21st century's world politics. As the world politics is undergoing considerable changes, the year 2015 experienced several considerable issues like migration crisis and rising demographic politics in the world, crisis of neoliberalism in Europe, increasing intensity of terrorism and vulnerability of the global security order, power politics and ideological fragmentation in the Middle East, long cherished Iran-super powers Nuclear Deal, growing climate security threats and politics regarding sustainable environmental issues, rising Asian order against the Bretton Woods system etc. These issues shaped the trends of the world politics of 2015 in the following ways:
Migration crisis and neo-demographic politics
The year has seen continuing dramatic growth in mass displacement and illegal migration from wars and conflicts, once again reaching unprecedented in recent global history. From Europe to South-East Asia, illegal migration is occurring under the shadow of human trafficking. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 10.06 million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggle to cope with the influx, and creating division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people. The figure covers entries via six EU nations --- Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.
Although not all of those arriving seek asylum, more than nine lakh 42 thousand people have done so in the EU (Eurostat). On the other hand, South-East Asian states (mainly Malaysia) received a huge number of illegal migrants. In May 2015, almost 32 'mass graves' of illegal migrants, most of them reportedly from Bangladesh and Myanmar, were discovered in remote mountainous areas in the Sadao district of Songkhla province of Thailand bordering Malaysia. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) reported that around 25 thousand Bangladeshi and Rohingyas boarded smugglers' boats from the Bay of Bengal in January-March, almost doubling the number over the same period in 2014.
Eurozone Crisis and global capital market waves
The European debt crisis or the Eurozone crisis is a multi-year debt crisis that has been taking place in the European Union since the end of 2008. In 2015, Europe experienced 'Grexit' and 'Brexit' dilemmas triggering economic, political and social changes throughout the region. But this neoliberal crisis severely impacted and crashed the Greek financial system due to excessive deficit spending and total debt in excess of the country's GDP. Each new austerity package brokered between the Greek government and the 'Troika' stipulates still more government spending cuts, tax increases and continuous rise of debt: GDP ratio (currently 177.1 per cent). Britain is also in a political earthquake to hold its national integrity. Even though David Cameron managed to win the 2015 elections and Scottish supports for greater national integration fortunately, his government is now at a critical situation issuing further relations with the EU. Along with Greece and Britain '2015' experienced a revival of populist or Marxist politics throughout the Europe causing mass upheavals against growing inequality, austerity plans and declining socio-welfare character of the states.
Terrorism and global security dilemma
The year experienced a large scale of regional-global terrorism where global security order failed to control and prevent a huge amount of terrorist attacks. The terrorist organizations ie ISIS, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Nusra Front were more violent in 2015 rather than anytime in previous years. Approximately 380 terrorist events happened in France, Yemen, Tunisia, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, and Somalia and so on causing a huge number of casualties and injuries. The major terrorist attacks include the attack on the French Satirical weekly newspaper 'Charlie Hebdo' in Paris causing 12 casualties and death of two thousand people in Baga, Nigeria on 7 January, attack by ISIS in a museum of Tunis --- the capital of Tunisia --- resulting 23 casualties of Polish, German, Spanish and Italian citizens on 18 March, suicide bombing attack in Sana --- the capital of Yemen --- resulting 140 deaths on 20 March, attack by Al-Shabaab causing death of 148 people in the Garissa University College in Kenya on 2 April, terrorist attacks at six different places of Paris in France resulting 129 casualties on 13 November.
Middle East as a battleground of power politics
In 2015 the Middle East has played the role of outstanding battleground of power politics initiating an era of 'revenge of geography.' The contemporary interplay of regional and global security dynamics is destabilizing the security domains of the Middle East. The region is currently in the process of transformation and facing serious security challenges centring energy, resources, ethno-religious and ideological fragmentations etc. During the first half of 2015 Yemen was the proxy war ground between the Saudi Alliance and Iran Alliance (Sunni vs Shia blocs). More than 500 people died and 1,700 people were injured in Yemen due to a series of air strikes by the Saudi Alliance against Houthis (UNO: 3 April). At the end of September, Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria, ostensibly to combat terrorist groups (mainly ISIS). The strikes constitute Russia's biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades. Its unanticipated military foray into Syria has transformed the civil war there into a proxy U.S.-Russian conflict and has raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Moscow and Washington (Angela Stent: 2015).
Rising Asia and the changing world order
One of the greatest miracles in the 21st century's global politics is the continuous rise of Asia in terms of booming economic and infrastructural growth along with growing political and geostrategic influence in the international system. To consolidate the rapid rise of Asian economies, China along with Russia, India and others is taking several strategic initiatives like the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), proposing 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) policy, occupying influential stand in the BRICS and the New Development Bank (NDB). To convert its economic influence into political supremacy, China just launched the AIIB on 29 June, managing the backing of 50 countries that seeks to boost the region's economy putting Beijing at the centre. On 21 July under the initiatives of the BRICS the NDB started its international journey. Russia launched Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on 1 January along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan in order to construct an anti-West order.
Iran-super powers Nuclear Deal
One of the landmarks of the 2015's global politics is the 'Iran-super powers Nuclear Deal'. On 14 July, Iran and the six powers that have negotiated with Iran about its nuclear program since 2006 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany- collectively known as the P5+1) finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This deal was eventually approved by both the EU and the UN Security Council on 20 July. The JCPOA is intended to ensure that Iran's nuclear program can be used for purely peaceful purposes, in exchange for a broad lifting of U.S., EU, and UN sanctions on Iran.
Politics of climate change and COP21
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) from November 30 to December 11, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2?C.The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020. Governments agreed to aim to limit the increase to 1.5?C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. The EU and other developed countries will continue to support climate action to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries. Developed countries intend to continue their existing collective goal to mobilise $100 billion per year until 2025 when a new collective goal will be set (European Commission: 2015).
Bangladesh in world politics of 2015
Bangladesh contributed in several areas of the world politics. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received ICT Sustainable Development Award from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in recognition of her contributions towards harnessing Information Communication and Technologies for Sustainable Development on 26 September and UN's highest environmental accolade 'Champions of the Earth' in recognition of Bangladesh's far-reaching initiatives to address climate change on 27 September. BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has been honoured as the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate, on 16 October for his outstanding contribution to enhancing the world's production and distribution of food to those most in need. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman received the 'Central Bank Governor of the Year- Asia Pacific, 2015' award by the London-based Financial Times owned magazine, 'The Banker' for his significant contribution towards promoting socially and environmentally responsible financing in Bangladesh without compromising macroeconomic stability. Bangladesh and India have signed a historic agreement to simplify their border by exchanging more than 150 enclaves of land.
However, world politics in 2015 also played a key role in making maritime-strategic order (Asia Pivot and TPP of the USA v. Chinese Silk Route) revealing warlike situation (South China Sea), launching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promoting democratization in Myanmar and Nepal, reshaping US-Cuba diplomatic relations along with revealing crises and bloodshed around the globe. The year also experienced the fall of stars beyond territories like Lee Kuan Yew, A.P.J Abdul Kalam and others. Nevertheless, the world politics of 2015 is going to play a crucial role in the upcoming years because of its diverse nature and much impacted character.r
Abu Sufian Shamrat is Researcher at Bangladesh Centre for Political Studies (BCPS). Email:[email protected]