Defense & Security
Military strategy, alliances, weapons, troops and firepower. Defense and security issues shape geopolitical events now more than ever. GIS experts provide scenarios for future military developments.
Global Outlook 2017: Russia checklist
Russia enters 2017 with a sense of vague disquiet. With presidential elections a year away, not everyone is sure the “main candidate” will be Vladimir Putin. Concern is palpable inside the government and the security apparatus, as interest groups jockey for position.
Global Outlook 2017: Venezuela
Venezuela is back from the brink. Over the past six months, Nicolas Maduro has outsmarted the opposition, used a bond swap to stave off default, and coopted the top military brass to prevent a coup. If the president can only find a way to revive oil output, he may be a good bet to stay in office through 2018.
Global Outlook 2017: Iran, Daesh and the Arab wars
An arrangement between the U.S. and Russia on the Middle East seems to be the last hope for keeping the region from descending into a large-scale conflict. The two powers will have to find common ground on two main challenges: Daesh and Iran. But even under the best of circumstances, stamping out jihadist terrorism groups is a task that cannot be completed this year.
Global Outlook 2017: Southeast Asia and the U.S.-China dynamic
Southeast Asian nations will continue their long-term strategy of making the most out of their relationships with the United States and China in 2017. Though some leaders, especially in the Philippines and Malaysia, have made high-profile overtures to Beijing, and Vietnam has much to lose from TPP’s demise, none of these countries will abandon partnership with Washington.
Russia’s five circles of empire
The Soviet Union was regarded by many as a closed historical chapter. But a quarter century later, we are not so sure. The Chechen War saved the Russian empire’s territorial core, while Vladimir Putin and his associates preserved its key institutions – the army and the security services. This old guard is now guiding a re-expansion into the outer circles of empire.
Malaysia inches closer to China
Malaysia, which traditionally has depended on the United States for defense and security, is gradually tightening its economic and military links with China. It would be premature to predict a geopolitical realignment at this stage, since the pro-China policy trend can be reversed by the next government in Kuala Lumpur. But the process is indicative of a generalized and growing uncertainty in Southeast Asia.
Global Outlook 2017: The Middle East
The dangerous military situation in the Eastern Mediterranean opens a list of troubling scenarios in the Middle East. Just as grave is the possibility of turmoil in Egypt, which could launch a migrant wave of millions into Europe. Daesh's impending military defeat will pose challenges as the movement disperses and infiltrates Europe. Saudi-Iranian relations will remain tense, and the new U.S. administration's effort to revive an alliance with Sunni Gulf states could be derailed by its pledge to build an embassy in Jerusalem.
Global Outlook 2017: False hope in Ukraine
The Ukrainian government and its international supporters are beaming with confidence that the country is finally turning the corner. While the economy may have bottomed out, there is still plenty of room for worry. As long as the political elites continue to put personal enrichment before transparent governance, the odds are against a rapid rebound. And without a strong economic recovery, another violent uprising could be in the cards.
Global Outlook 2017: Defense of Christian values
Western civilization again entered a dangerous period of disarray. It is weakened internally by overindulgence and self-doubt, and besieged by forces hostile to its bedrock values of liberty and tolerance. The West can reverse the decline, though, by resolutely returning to its Christian roots.
Scenarios for Europe
Europe’s basic problem is a lack of leadership. In 2017 it is unlikely to solve the root problems at the heart of its malaise: excessive regulation, a lack of competition and innovation, weakening internal cohesion and an inability to address crises efficiently. A new generation of politicians may emerge that pushes for more market-driven solutions, but it will take several more years for them to be able to implement their vision, if at all.