Asia...the most populated place on the planet will undergo many socio-political and economic changes in 2014. Many of these changes will be strikingly violent as some authoritarian governments seek full control of the lives and spirits of their people; while populations, fed up with the way things have been for years, will rise in revolt of perceived tyranny to take control into their own hands of their respective destinies. Some of these changes will be democratic as millions of people of nations will cast votes in elections throughout Asia in 2014. Asia, in 2014, will continue to see the incursion and spread of radicalism from Russia to China to Pakistan to Myanmar to Indonesia to the Middle East, Malaysia and beyond. This year will be marred by violence. In Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh, people will seek drastic changes of their governances. In the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Brunei, these will seek greater participation in the various trade pacts being formed in the region so as to improve their economic well beings. The Philippines and Vietnam which have both had sea disputes with China, will both seek greater western alliances as a counter balance to the strength and expansion of China into the waters of the East and South China Seas. Australia and New Zealand will remain the most stable of the region, but Australia will encounter some resistance especially from China in matters of trade and exploration of Australia's vast natural resources.
Russia...it has oil and gas, and these two commodities will be economically sufficient to sustain Russia, yet with the rule of Putin and his record on human rights abuses, Russia will not be able to stamp out the growing concerns - radical and non-radical, from groups oppose to the Russian state of affairs. Chechnya and others will continue to launch attacks against the authoritative government of Putin. Russia's release from prison of performance artists, environmentalists and political opponents will do little to convince many that Putin's acts are genuine and not mere public relation stunts staged to lead up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The recent tragic bombings of mass transportation targets within Russia and their resulting death tolls confirm that all is not well within Russia. However, we pray that the International community visiting Russia for the Games in February will be safe. Russia needs more trade partners despite its huge oil and gas reserves, and its attempt to increase membership into its forming Customs Union by placing undue pressure on Ukraine, as a possible member, are unacceptable. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have demonstrated their preferences to be closer to the European Union rather than with Russia; but Russia would not accept this fact because it crucially needs the Ukraine so that it may maintain some degree of a sphere of influence over this once Soviet dominated region.
China...in its attempts at expansion to acquire desperately needed natural resources to fuel its full tilt economy to sustain 1.3 billion people, the PRC has arrogantly trampled and disturbed many neighbors both internally and externally. In 2014, Beijing will continue to witness the secondary effects of such actions. Internally, the aspirations of academics, journalist, Tibetans, Uyghurs and others will continue to frustrate Beijing with their calls for simple democratic freedoms. On the East China Sea, South Korean and Japan will not yield to any dominance from the Communists in Beijing. China's unilaterally decreed Air Defense Identification Zone(ADIZ) will be ignored by states that will not give in to Chinese dominance. The region will remain highly tense and at times seemingly volatile in 2014.
Japan...sensing the arrogance, strength, nationalist and expansionist actions by China; Japan will continue to seek closer US participation in matters of its national security. However, in 2014, Japan needs to atone especially with South Korea over past Japanese war crimes against South Koreans. These two countries could enter into a stronger alliance as a buffer to Communists expansion and influence from Beijing. Japan's economy appears headed to recovery in 2014.
The Koreas...no nation can predict the erratic actions of North Korea better than South Korea. It is imperative that the United States continue to stand readily by in support of South Korea as the nation deals with the North.
The Middle East...If only Assad would go away and that Russia would yield to reason, peace would come to Syria thus paving the way to ending the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrians and allowing schools of thousands of refugee children to resume their childhoods in their homeland. But peace will be elusive under current conditions, so the war in Syria could endure beyond the Spring of 2014. Lebanon and Jordan, the longer war wages in Syria, these two countries will become more destabilized. Israel will continue to defend its borders and it will remain armed and battle ready to prevent any nuclear weapon possession by Iran as Israel continues to pursue stalled never ending peace talks with Palestinians. Iran is a tough assessment because the variables at work with regards to its nuclear desires and its signed treaties are not all yet set. The signed accord at Geneva between Iran and the international community now seems relative to suggested legislation bearing harsher sanctions and sponsored by peace skeptical members of the United States Congress in 2014. Egypt will appear more like Iraq in 2014. The Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency democratically, now Morsi has been deposed and the Brotherhood has been outlawed. From the Sinai to Cairo, Egypt will witness many car and building bombings in 2014 along with continued street protests. Afghanistan, should the US pull out, could see the emergence of the Talban and other radical groups, thus Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan could experience similar modes of violence in 2014.
India...this country set to soon surpass China in population has much economic potential and with a new fiscal chief there, 2014 will bring greater economic wealth to India. However, the rapes of innocent women throughout the country, remains a horrid social testimony as to India. Continued concerns and disputes regarding territory with Pakistan and China will also be at the fore in 2014.
So 2014 will be volatile and violent in Asia. Radicalism will be present, rumors of war will be prevalent, some wars will continue; but the true aspirations of millions of Asians as they seek freedom and democracy will be recognized and should be supported into 2014.