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.
Ecuador’s interrupted revolution
After Rafael Correa became president of Ecuador in 2007, he used windfall profits from petroleum revenue to drive economic growth with aggressive public-sector spending on huge infrastructure projects, much-needed social assistance and ballooning government bureaucracy. The 2014-2015 global downturn in oil prices made that strategy unsustainable. Since May 2017, the country’s newly elected President Lenin Moreno faces an anemic economy, unchecked corruption, pent-up opposition demands and tensions inside the ruling party. Shadowing him is Mr. Correa, who is plotting a return to the presidency.
America edges back into the Middle East
The United States is cautiously reengaging in the Middle East. To deal with an explosive situation that threatens world peace, President Donald Trump must first tackle the legacy of the Obama years, which left Russia and Iran well entrenched in some of the region's Arab countries. Forcing them out may not be possible, but the U.S. could restore some equilibrium.
Opinion: France and Europe
Emmanuel Macron may be a fresh face, but France’s new president poses much less of a threat to the cosy status quo than his vanquished Republican opponent, Francois Fillon. Now that Mr. Macron has a solid parliamentary majority behind him, he will have to make choices and take sides. Chances are that his eclectic program will prove a disappointment.
Indian opposition to China’s New Silk Road
India has become the most vocal opponent of China’s massive Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which New Delhi sees as a thinly veiled geopolitical power play by Beijing. So far, China has not pushed back hard, and instead has consistently tried to woo the Indian side. This is because linking the BRI to India could make the project much more profitable. If China could adjust the project to accommodate Indian concerns, it would benefit the continent. But for now, that looks unlikely.
GIS Dossier: Venezuela lives on the edge
The world's richest country in oil reserves is on the verge of becoming a failed state. After more than a half-century of social harmony funded by oil revenue, a socialist variant of caudillismo has run the country into the ground. Yet political changes are blocked by a determined military junta, awash in drug money and cemented by the threat of U.S. indictments. How long can Venezuela stay on the brink?
Italy pushes for early elections that would make matters worse
Matteo Renzi, Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo may be poles apart politically, but the leaders of Italy’s center, right and left parties are jointly toying with a plan to offer disgruntled voters another make-believe reform scheme.
U.S. civil-military relations in the age of Trump
Controversy has erupted over relations between the civilian government and military leadership in U.S. President Donald Trump's administration. The president’s critics derided him first for appointing military officers to top political positions, then for marginalizing them. But a closer look reveals that the national security team agrees on the biggest issues. U.S. civil-military relations will likely remain stable, despite the public furor.
Opinion: ISIS attacks in Tehran – why now?
After years of fighting and murdering lesser foes, the Sunni Arab ISIS (Daesh) terror group has turned against Shia Iran, which it considers its religious and political archenemy in the Middle East. As Iran blames Saudi Arabia for the recent bloody ISIS attack in Tehran, a direct confrontation between these two regional powers has become a possibility, however not too likely, with immense potential consequences.
Scenarios for unification in the Balkans
Calls to redraw the map in the Balkans are again being made. This time, Serbia is proposing an integrated economic area, while Albania and Kosovo are raising the possibility of unification. Neither scenario is likely to occur, because each could lead to renewed conflict. But as states wait for progress toward EU membership, loose confederations based on Serbia and Albania could form, dividing the region into two clear geopolitical spheres.
Russian truckers test a new protest model
This spring more than a half million long-haul truckers went on strike in Russia. The immediate effect of the protests was relatively minor, mostly restricted to local food shortages, yet the authorities responded forcefully and imposed a near-total news blackout. What makes the strike so threatening is that it merges two swelling streams of opposition in Russia – middle-class revolt in the big cities and working-class revolt in the rustbelt.