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.
Uzbekistan emerging from isolation
The rise of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to power in Uzbekistan has brought with it economic reform and billions of dollars in new investment. The country desperately needs foreign partners, both to diversify its economy and strengthen its military. China and Russia, respectively, have stepped in to play these roles. At the same time, the U.S. is withdrawing from the region. As the influence of Beijing and Moscow grows, President Mirziyoyev’s options will shrink.
African migration: From polarization to win-win
With this year’s European Parliament elections, the EU may be approaching a watershed moment on migration. Voters and politicians are questioning the fundamental assumptions of globalized approaches like the UN Compact on Migration and the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which may do more to encourage than curb the migrant influx. But “outsourcing” management of migration flows to transit countries may only increase Europe’s vulnerability to political shocks in buffer states like Sudan, Libya or Algeria.
Post-Mattis uncertainty and the future of U.S. defense policy
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is not expected to reverse his predecessor’s key Pentagon policies, such as Gen. James Mattis’ signature program to improve force readiness, but he will not be as effective as his predecessor in explaining the vagaries of U.S. policies to allies abroad. Also, President Donald Trump may find out that his ambitious plan for force strengthening and modernization proves even more difficult to push through Congress in the absence of a well-recognized figure at the Pentagon.
Opinion: Why they migrate
Discussions of migration from Central America into the United States tend to lump the principal countries of origin – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – into a single subregion, the Northern Triangle. While similarities between the three states make it convenient to treat them as a unit, the practice can also be misleading. Different push factors operate in each country, and without taking these distinctions into account, no amount of international aid is likely to reduce the migrant flow.
2019 Outlook: U.S. foreign policy to stay the course
Unconventional as his leadership style may be, President Donald Trump, succeeded in 2018 in getting both U.S. allies and competitors to pay serious attention to his foreign policy agenda. His administration is undaunted in pursuing U.S. policy goals despite replacements of key officials in the president’s national security apparatus. Mr. Trump will remain focused on crushing transnational terrorist threats to the U.S. and its allies, and dealing with great power competition in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in 2019 before he turns his attention to his bid for reelection.
2019 Global Outlook: India turns inward
Ahead of parliamentary elections this spring, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reinvented himself. Putting aside earlier economic reforms, his talk is mostly about social welfare. While the Indian leader focuses on wooing small-town voters, his government has put most foreign policy initiatives on hold. Whether Mr. Modi’s ruling BJP wins or loses, India may be due for a period of weaker government.
Opinion: How Brazil’s new man got there
Jair Bolsonaro, a retired Army captain and outspoken conservative, clinched the top job in Latin America’s biggest nation by targeting the electorate’s justifiable fears, his opponents’ weaknesses and Brazil’s real need for economic reforms. The new cabinet puts academics, political luminaries and former military officers in key positions. President Bolsonaro is facing formidable challenges, but his program has more merit than his many critics are willing to admit.
Europe’s China policy challenge
As it tries to manage the effects of the trade war with the United States, China is seeking more allies and partners in the West. Europe could benefit greatly – if it could speak with one voice. China is exploiting divisions in the EU, intensifying its relations with cash-strapped member states. But Europe as a whole stands to benefit from constructive engagement with Beijing, especially if it can steer the latter toward continued reform.
2019 Global Outlook: Playing for high stakes in North Korea
Less than a year after the Korean Peninsula appeared poised for war, little on the ground has changed. North Korea appears to be forging ahead with its nuclear program. Yet the public perception is that things are moving ahead on the diplomatic front, and there is even a whiff of détente in the air. When dealing with Pyongyang, however, surprises come with the territory.
A year of change for the European Union?
The European Union, which still lacks a post-Brexit vision of itself, will be changing the leadership of almost all its leading institutions over the next few months. Candidates are already jostling for position to take over at the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and surprises could be in store. With non-mainstream parties likely to gain seats in the May European Parliament elections, the EU-27 seems headed for even less harmony and more dissension.