As 2022 begins, eyes are trained on the Ukraine-Russia border as the potential for Russian escalation looms large.

With nerves taut and gas supplies to Europe squeezed, NATO members are holding emergency meetings as US and European diplomats scramble to find an acceptable resolution with the Kremlin. Threats emanating from Russia have been a regular feature of what to watch in transatlantic security all of the past years, but a full-scale Russian invasion has not been as salient a concern in a generation. Though China and climate change may still be the larger systemic challenges, Russia tops the transatlantic agenda as the year begins.

The coronavirus pandemic will shape this year too, but there is reason for cautious optimism that this will be the last one starting under this shroud. Beyond these issues, plenty of important political events await in the year ahead, including important elections in Europe and the United States, and the testing of Germany’s new government.

Read on to see what GMF experts will be watching in 2022.

Protecting the US Midterm Elections

This November, the United States will have its first federal general elections since the fateful 2020 presidential election. While many people will be focused on whether Republicans can retake the House of Representatives and/or the Senate, the most important issue is the integrity of the upcoming elections. Since 2020, many states have made it more difficult for eligible voters to successfully cast their ballots. While threats to the integrity of US elections are increasing, funding to protect the electoral infrastructure continues to lag. Further, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that election administration and voting are perceived as legitimate across the political spectrum. Whether the United States can adequately administer midterm elections that are supported by large portions of its citizenry could go a long way toward determining its efficacy in defending democracy, not only at home, but abroad as well.

David Levine, Elections Integrity Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.