Asia will become even more synonymous with China in 2018. China has driven much of all development in Asia over the past decade and the land of Chairman Mao Zedong, is poised to continue this course into 2018 as it expands its global sphere of influence from Asia, to Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. China's accumulated economic power coupled with a modernizing and large army, puts it at the center of all things Asian and global in 2018.
Moreover, China's continuing rise in 2018 will be facilitated via the faltering isolation of the United States(US) under Donald Trump. Trump's divisive and isolating policies could push more Asian states under the protection of the umbrella of China's economic wealth, as the Communists expand trade with other Asian nations from Laos, to Cambodia, to Vietnam, to the Philippines, to Thailand, to Indonesia and throughout the region. China's expansion into the waters of the South China Sea has gone unchecked, thus expanding the reach of its influence even farther onto the waters and shoals of Asia. China's influence over ASEAN nations will rise in 2018.
China's expanding sphere of influence in 2018 matched against Trump's isolationist practice, surprisingly affirms the progress of communism versus the diminishing returns of democracy - a sad predicament, but an emerging reality based upon China's gains. Unlike the former USSR or any other communist state since or before, China's model is a success story that is still flourishing and showing no signs of waning.
However, China's continuing rise in 2018, could become complicated by the actions and the affairs brought to wrought by the nuclear ambitions, threats and testing of North Korea. In 2018, North Korea will either demonstrate its alleged nuclear capability or bow before diplomatic negotiations toward better relations with South Korea and the rest of the world.
Russia in 2018 will continue its agitations into other countries via electronic means on the Internet, support to rebels in places like the Ukraine, regimes like Syria's and by submarine crawls threatening international communications under the Oceans. Vladimir Putin has succeeded in barring his main opposition candidate from running in the election for president, thus assuring himself a prolonged rule. Therefore, any threats to his rule in 2018, could only come from Russian oligarchs, frustrated by the economic impact of international sanctions upon their wealth.
Turkey, NATO's second-largest standing army member, will remain in a quagmire in 2018. As it stands on two continents - Asia and Europe, Turkey remains straddle as whether or not to stand with western themes or to set its own self-aligned path to development. Whatever path President Recap Tayyip Erdogan charts for Turkey will be heavily influenced in 2018, by the aspirations of the Kurds for greater recognition and by opposition in Turkey to his 'leader-for-life' ambitions. But the crafty Erdogan recognizes Turkey's influence over many factions in the Muslim world, so his position on matters especially regarding Israel, could enhance his standing and continued power in Turkey.
Myanmar has a human rights problem that will not go away in 2018. Myanmar's human rights abuses of the Rohingya people will weigh down its development in 2018. Moreover, its detainment of journalists will block its global standing even more in 2018.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will both seek to better their economic and global standings in 2018.
India, on the other hand, the world's largest democracy, will continue to have its total development hindered by faction differences, a caste society and its failure to capitalize on a bogged down technology sector that has focused more on delivering services rather than delivering innovation. Also, India's ongoing squabbles with Pakistan will also weigh heavily in 2018 as Pakistan continues its struggles with corruption, terrorism and extremism.
Any and all hopes to independence for Hong Kong or Taiwan will remain at zero in 2018 as Chinese power and influence rise high enough to cool and to counter any and all sovereign aspirations by the youth of Hong Kong and by the people of Taiwan, especially under the back drop of an isolated US policy.