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.
Trump or Clinton? For Africa, there’s not much difference
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns are both missing an Africa strategy. But with Chinese activity in Africa ramping up, the next leader of the free world may have to come up with one quickly. Expect a President Trump to forcefully challenge Chinese strategy in the continent, while a President Clinton would follow a more traditional approach.
China’s soft power challenges
China, which lags behind the United States militarily and has only recently attained significant economic clout, has long coveted soft power to help it achieve foreign policy objectives. Despite Beijing’s hefty investment in expanding the country’s soft power, its ability to achieve objectives in the West using such tools remains moderate. When it comes to the developing world, though, the picture changes dramatically in Beijing’s favor.
Beyond hegemony: the next U.S. president and Latin America
Whatever Donald Trump might think, the U.S. can no longer throw its weight around in Latin America. One by-product of the region’s democratic transformation and economic boom of the early 2000s is a new sense of self-assertiveness. Barack Obama and George W. Bush recognized this fact, and the next U.S. president will have to accept it, too.
Vietnam’s balancing act
Vietnam has traditionally sought a maximum degree of autonomy. However, its geopolitics are dominated by competition between the United States and China, as well as Russia. How the machinations between these powers play out in the region will determine the choices Hanoi makes, as it tries to balance the benefits it receives from its alliances with its desire to hold back external influence.
Angola girds for political transition
Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced he will retire in 2018. Potential successors include the country’s defense minister and the general secretary of the ruling party – both longtime dos Santos allies. Whether the transition will be smooth depends on how the economy fares and the new leadership’s ability to manage change. A power struggle – perhaps led by one of Mr. dos Santos’ children – is not out of the question.
After Brexit, what is Europe?
Brexit can be a healing shock to the European Union. The United Kingdom’s decision to opt out forces Brussels to finally confront a central issue: what is Europe’s true identity. The European project can thrive only if it is democratically developed from the ground up, by its diverse and pragmatic member nations, not imposed on them by a centralized bureaucracy that is accountable to no one but attempts to control everything.
Northern Syria after Turkish intervention
Turkey’s decision to intervene in Syria has demolished U.S. plans to press home the ground war against Daesh. Ankara must now decide whether to respect an American-sponsored cease-fire or venture deeper into Syria to break up the emerging Kurdish autonomous zone. If they choose the latter course, as seems likely, the Turks could find themselves in a military quagmire.
China lacks the wherewithal to adjust to demographic decline
Within a decade, China will enter a difficult stretch. As its population begins to shrink and rapidly turn gray, the country will experience monumental strains in its economic, social and political systems. Beijing will try to tackle the challenge with fewer resources than China’s richer neighbors in the Far East can throw at the problem.
Colombia’s peace pact: now comes the hard part
The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas have signed a long-awaited peace agreement. Now comes the hard part: making it work. There is no guarantee that Colombians will approve the deal in a referendum on October 2. If they do, there will be many other challenges ahead, including asserting state control over the entire country and reintegrating fighters into society. Though all of that will be difficult, the alternative is much worse.
The West’s leadership crisis as a Russian trauma
Russians are not gleeful about the leadership vacuum in the West. There is a sense that the failure of Pax Americana has left them bereft and vulnerable. Faced with a decaying imperial center, peripheral states such as Russia or Turkey have had to assemble their own, “surrogate” order from the debris.