China's rise and dominance has been the biggest geopolitical character of Asia in recent years. Hence, China will be covered in a separate assessment on December 29.
The other parts of Asia, in which I also will lump Australia, New Zealand and Russia, will be adversely affected by Climate Change and other natural disasters in 2019.
While 2018 has been especially disastrous for Indonesia which has, and continue to experience deadly earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions, the vast number of small islands that make up places like Indonesia, the Philippines and other locations, all remain very exposed to rising sea levels and the associated environmental results that will impact the social, economic and political affairs of much of the region.
Yet, amid the likelihood of natural disasters, trade in Asia will remain robust in 2019 fueled by economic alliances led by China's behemoth industrial thirst and output.
Political turmoil could resurface in Sri Lanka in 2019 as different actors jockey for the leadership position. And in Myanmar, the Rohingya people will remain stateless. India's upcoming elections will be a test of Prime Minister Modi's leadership. Whether or not Modi retains his leadership in India, it will have no impact on India's already slow pace to greater development and reforms. But India's domestic consumption alone could be sufficient to sustain some manageable economic gains in 2019.
Rising oil prices in 2019 would bring much needed money to Russia. Despite international sanctions, Russia has widen its sphere of influence in recent years. It has annexed Crimea, continues to influence eastern Ukraine, has deepened its footprint in Syria, has sympathizers within the European Union (EU) including Hungary, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic and to some degree, Italy. Venezuela appears a willing host for Russia in the Americas. Russia, in lieu of harsh United States (US) condemnation and its reported possession of a new class of weapons in its arsenal, stands to continue its influence on other nations in 2019.
Australia and New Zealand will continue in 2019 very much as they have in 2018. Immigrant issues will weigh upon Australia's human rights record in the new year.
As North and South Korea attempt to reboot a tolerant relationship in 2019, the relation will be impacted by US concerns with respect to the North's nuclear arsenal.
An aging population and a falling birthrate will bring new concerns to Japan in 2019. Japan will have to lure more skilled workers to close a gap in its labor pool also in 2019. Vietnam's economy will benefit from wider trade.
Amid the impacts of Climate Change and other natural disasters, Asia will remain a ready market of commerce in 2019.
Tomorrow: The World in 2019 - Europe.