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.
The future of China-Taiwan relations
Is Taiwan so economically tied to China that unification is imminent? Or has its new identity become so ingrained that de jure independence is only a matter of time? These questions are playing out in Taiwanese politics ahead of some crucial nationwide elections. A sudden move by China (military attack) or Taiwan (declaration of independence) remains unlikely, partly because of the crucial role the U.S. plays in maintaining the status quo.
Brexit and trade
Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom were supposed to be concluded at the EU summit on October 17. But the deadline passed with no breakthrough, and no plans for a new meeting. With the clock to a “hard Brexit” ticking down, this could be the salutary shock needed to pave the way for a compromise — or point to a future in which the UK’s diminished weight in international trade encourages a drift toward protectionism.
Kazakhstan: Russia’s staunchest ally wavers
Could the linchpin in Russia’s plan to reassert its control over former Soviet states be in danger of slipping away? Moscow fears it might. Kazakhstan has been making overtures to the U.S. and China, and chipping away at key cultural ties. For now, Astana cannot afford to break away from Russia’s orbit, especially in security matters, but an overreaction by the Kremlin could tip the balance.
Iran and Israel’s proxy war in Syria escalates
The accidental downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian anti-missile defense, which coincided with Israeli air force jets’ presence in the area, highlights the danger of the increasingly open proxy warfare between Israel and Iran. The number of parties involved – Israel, Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah – points to the risk of the drawn-out Syrian conflict exploding into full-fledged regional war.
GIS Dossier: Brexit – how we got here
Brexit negotiations are reaching a messy, contentious head. But it didn’t have to be this way. Going back years, European leaders have missed opportunities to take a more pragmatic stance that could have benefited both the UK and the EU. GIS experts have been pointing this out along the way, and have offered some stark, sometimes counterintuitive predictions about the way forward.
Opinion: The ‘military option’ in Venezuela is an illusion
The Chinese government is reportedly considering helping Venezuela’s government meet its most pressing domestic needs and start rebuilding the nation’s hydrocarbons industry. The United States, meanwhile, is hinting that it could use force to remove the increasingly brutal regime. Collective pressure on Caracas from the Latin American community, however, remains the only realistic way of resolving the crisis.
Orthodox split bolsters Russia’s political regime
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople shocked the world last month by deciding Ukraine should have its own Autocephalous Orthodox Church, ending its subordination to Moscow. If the complex canonical procedure succeeds, it will have large political implications. The Russian Orthodox Church would lose its transnational character, making it even more dependent on the state. In consequence, Russia’s international isolation will grow and its “fortress mentality” deepen.
The U.S. and Mexico go from pugilism to partnership
Despite confrontational rhetoric from the leaders of both countries, the U.S. and Mexico have plenty of reason to work together. Certainly, U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have some contrasting views on bilateral issues, but both have signaled a willingness to collaborate on priorities from trade to drug trafficking. Appearances aside, cooperation may even flourish over the next two years.
Regional integration at the Three Seas summit
With the third summit of the Three Seas Initiative, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are trying to come together on issues like energy and infrastructure. The effort comes after several failed attempts at regional integration in the 20th century, and this one remains mostly on paper. If the European Union and outside investors will buy into the idea, several proposed projects could help lift all boats.
Mali’s two wars
Mali, aided by France and several other countries in the region, is waging a war against jihadist terrorists based in the north of its territory. But Bamako is also conducting a political, social and economic war against ethnic populations in the north who want more autonomy. Though France’s involvement has kept the Malian government stable, more and more officials are asking why it should continue, given Bamako’s and Paris’s seemingly divergent goals.