The year 2018 saw heightened tensions between the United States and China, Iran and North Korea. According to a report published in the Express, the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations' Center for Preventative Action compiled the most terrifying global disputes which threatened to erupt into a full-blown war. In the top tier of the report, conflicts described as "high" impact and "moderate" likelihood included "renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula following a collapse of the denuclearisation negotiations". It also included cases that had a "moderate impact," but "high" likelihood.
After the collapse of the denuclearisation negotiations with North Korea, it still remains uncertain as to whether Kim Jong-un will disarm the nation in the lead up to a planned second summit early next year. Despite trying to make peace with North Korea, talks aimed at convincing Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear weapons have failed to gain ground.
The report also mentioned an "armed confrontation between Iran and the United States or one of its allies over Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy groups". The Trump administration called off a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran after accusing Tehran of supporting militant groups and developing ballistic missiles.
The report also talked about an "armed confrontation over disputed maritime areas in the South China Sea between China and one or more Southeast Asian claimants (Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam)". Trump had challenged Xi Jinping’s claims to the South China Sea that resulted in a trade battle between the two nations.
The report also highlighted the catastrophes which could happen in Washington, which included "a highly disruptive cyberattack on US critical infrastructure and networks" and a "mass casualty terrorist attack on the US homeland or a treaty ally by either foreign or homegrown terrorists."
Among cases that had a "moderate impact," but "high" likelihood, was Syria backed by Russia and Iran, continuing victories against rebels and jihadis, "leading to further civilian casualties and heightened tensions among external parties to the conflict," the "deepening economic crisis and political instability in Venezuela leading to violent civil unrest and increased refugee outflows," a "worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, exacerbated by ongoing foreign intervention in the civil war" and “increased violence and instability in Afghanistan resulting from the Taliban insurgency and potential government collapse, " as quoted by the Express.
Amid mounting criticism against Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Senate made steps to vote against US support for Saudi Arabia's war against the Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebel group known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis in Yemen.