Elections, coups, international relations, social movements, emerging states and influencers. Here find forecasts and potential scenarios for political trends from Geopolitical Intelligence Services (GIS) global experts.
China refreshens old promises to open up its domestic market
China president’s April pledge to allow more foreign competition in the country’s manufacturing and financial services sectors, and to respect western companies’ intellectual property rights, momentarily eased the tension between Washington and Beijing. These concessions, though, even if implemented by China, will not suffice to eliminate the problem of the huge and deepening defict in U.S. trade with the Asian country.
GIS Dossier: The Western Balkans
Of all Europe’s trouble spots, the Western Balkans have a solid claim to being the most troublesome. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the region is finally stable and – save for a violent flare-up or two – peaceful. But plenty of tensions remain, corruption runs rampant and the rule of law is unevenly applied. With all these potential stumbling blocks, the region’s road toward prosperity remains bumpy. This Dossier reviews GIS reports on this region, so critical to Europe’s lasting peace.
Russia’s and China’s quiet contest in Central Asia
While Russia focuses on its geopolitical objectives in Central Asia, China’s primarily interest is in the region’s mineral and energy resources. As recipients of Chinese investments and development aid, the five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are seeking to leverage the two powers’ competition for their own benefit.
The effects of U.S. trade policy in the Pacific
The Trump administration has made a big splash with its trade policy. The effects are already being seen in the Pacific region, after Washington’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Whether President Trump’s aggressive approach remains intact or if it is softened by free traders in the administration, the U.S. is likely to be marginalized while China will benefit.
In Mexico, disappointment with Pena Nieto fuels a desire for change
Mexicans seem set to vote for change in their country’s July presidential election, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador far ahead in the polls. The ruling party’s candidate is a distant third, and that reflects widespread disappointment in the current administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto. The government has notched up several successes in its reforms, but positive change is coming slowly, while a rise in violence and corruption have angered ordinary citizens.
Opinion: Russia’s possible motivations in the Skripal case
It is widely accepted that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. But the question remains why it should commit such an act, with so little to gain. Several explanations are plausible – that it was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to show he is in control, or a gambit by his enemies to undermine him. Perhaps most worrisome, however, is the possibility that it was an escalation of Russia’s hybrid war with the West.
What will it take to tame Russia?
British Prime Minister Theresa May pointedly accused the Kremlin of attempting to assassinate a former Russian intelligence operative and his daughter in the United Kingdom. Ms. May also managed to persuade the United States and key EU countries to join in a huge retaliatory expulsion of Russian diplomats. Yet, will mere gestures deter Russia from violating the rules of international behavior? Putting real money where the West’s moralizing mouth is still looks far from certain.
GIS Dossier: The North Korean opening
President Donald Trump’s surprising decision to hold summit talks with Kim Jong-un has triggered a round of high-stakes diplomacy, including repeat meetings between North and South Korean officials and a lightning visit by Mr. Kim to Beijing. There is nothing accidental about Pyongyang’s charm offensive. It is the moment the North Korean leader has been preparing for years.
Opinion: Separatism in Europe
Independence movements are on the rise in Europe. At the heart of this phenomenon is an ever-globalizing world, bringing with it inflows of foreigners and an outflow of traditional industries. Most of these movements have set aside violent measures in recent years, but there is no guarantee that will continue. If authorities in the EU and national governments do not deal with the challenges at the root of their grievances, it could lead to conflict at the local and national levels.
Liberia and Sierra Leone: post-conflict, focused on growth
Liberia and Sierra Leone went through painstaking a post-conflict restoration process after civil wars that ravaged them in the last decade of the 20th century. In 2018, newly elected leaders in Freetown and Monrovia face the task of restoring growth in the economies badly hindered by 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic and low commodity prices.