After two tumultuous and eventful years, 2022 is going to be marked by steady economic global recovery. As a result, we are likely to see countries take a cautious approach, while staying on course to achieve their overarching geopolitical goals.
The last months of 2021 was rife with the possibilities of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as there was a large troop build-up at the borders of these two countries. But more than 10,000 troops have returned to base during the Christmas of 2021, demonstrating that Russia does not intend to invade its neighbour in 2022.
Yet, it is also evident that Russia is not afraid to threaten potential NATO members to spread its sphere of influence in Europe. This resolute determination will only work to increase the tension between the US, its allies in NATO and Russia.
But the main frontier for geopolitical tension is likely to be in the east, where China is going to continue its military build up. Even with the Biden administration's recognition of China as a threat, it probably will not try to directly confront the eastern superpower.
Instead, it will probably try to reinstate its influence in eastern and south-eastern Asia through soft power tactics while its allies in Quad, alongside South Korea and Taiwan, will try to curb China's naval dominance in the South China Sea and beyond.
This year may see the European Union (EU) take a more active part in global affairs, led mainly by France and Germany. The French president has already told his American counterpart that Europe wants "strategic autonomy".
But Emmanuel Macron has a major political challenge to overcome in 2022 as the first rounds of the French presidential election will take place in April. Macron is likely to face fierce competition. But with an approval rating of more than 40%, it is likely that Macron will be among the top two candidates in the first round of voting.
The US will also see two major elections for the Congress and the Senate in November of 2022. As Joe Biden currently has the highest disapproval rating of a recent first-year president not named Trump, it is likely that the Democrats will lose their majority in both houses.
Consequently, Biden's presidency will be at risk of being ineffective as Republicans are likely to create major gridlock.