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.
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.
Italy after the referendum
Italy's political establishment is hanging tough after the failed constitutional referendum. But buying time and tinkering with the election law will be of no avail unless the economy improves. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s caretaker government appears to lack the political clout to cut spending and fix the banks. That will only strengthen the appeal of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement.
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.
The MPS bailout and the future of EU banking
Italian authorities failed to save the historic bank using the European Union’s bail-in rules, so they applied to bail it out. The EU allowed the move, even though it was clear there was no real systemic risk. The turnaround stems from protectionist and anti-competitive attitudes. These will prevail in the near future, to the detriment of taxpayers.
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: Merkel and the myth of German hegemony
Among the leaders of the world’s biggest liberal democracies, it seems Angela Merkel is the last woman standing. Some have claimed that will make her the leader of the free world and Germany Europe’s hegemon. Such claims are greatly exaggerated. There will be significant limitations to both Germany and Ms. Merkel’s room for maneuver in Europe and globally in the coming year.
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.