Across the world in 2014, the ebbing of US global involvement will start to come to a head. American troops will largely leave Afghanistan. The civil wars in Syria and Iraq will metamorphose into an Al Qaeda vs the rest struggle – but with Washington absent. The US shale shakeup will make it officially oil independent this year and the US central bank will begin turning off the tap of cheap dollars. The question will be whether regional powers will be able to fill the holes Washington will leave – and how often China will step in to fill the gap. Don’t expect much from India: Repairing its economy could take years. But countries like Iran and Turkey, Japan and Brazil, could begin fire-fighting in the lands near them. Or they could let the fires burn and watch the world become a lot more dangerous. That this will be the last effective year of a much diminished Barack Obama presidency or that Greece will hold the European Union presidency will not help matters.