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.
Opinion: The decline of social democracy
After a wretched result in last year’s general elections, Germany’s Social Democrats are now voting on whether to enter another grand coalition with the CDU/CSU. Whatever they decide, it may already be too late for the party to pull out of its tailspin. The SPD’s sad decline is part of a much broader eclipse of social democracy in Europe.
Geopolitics and Saudi Arabia’s cash flow
The Gulf states have not sufficiently adjusted their spending patterns to lower income from oil exports. Burdened by persistent and growing budget deficits, they are increasingly hard pressed to fend off geopolitical rivals such as Iran. The trend has serious and lasting consequences for the Middle East and North Africa.
Israel and Hezbollah: The war nobody wants may be about to happen
It may already be too late to avoid another armed conflict in the Middle East. Iran has systematically upgraded Hezbollah’s ability to strike at strategic and civilian targets deep inside Israel. Increasingly, the only viable option for Israel’s military to neutralize this threat is another invasion of southern Lebanon.
Trump’s regulatory revolution
For all the sound and fury in the media over the Trump administration, there has been little recognition of the dramatic shift in regulatory policy over the past year. President Trump has ended many of his predecessor's most burdensome rules on business and has slashed red tape. He has also implemented new policies that require administrative bodies to scour for unnecessary or harmful regulations. It is a radical departure from the status quo, but many legal and institutional challenges stand in the way of even deeper change.
Turkey has the right to protect its national interests
Turkey is a regional power, a direct neighbor of Middle Eastern states and their historic trading and political partner. The West continues to ignore its national interests only at the risk of its own security.
Syria heads toward renewed conflict
Daesh’s imminent defeat in Syria has brought new tensions to the fore. Iran now has proxies and allies right next door to Israel, while the U.S. has committed to a long-term military presence. Russia’s main objective continues to be securing its Syrian bases, and Turkey is becoming more isolated over its insistence on keeping Kurdish groups from controlling any territory. These factors form a volatile mix that makes it difficult to foresee anything but renewed conflict in the already war-torn country.
Saudi Arabia’s hidden power struggle comes into the open
The arrest of 208 high-ranking individuals in November 2017 on suspicion of corruption suggests that the House of Saud faces serious challenges. King Salman’s son, Mohammad bin Salman, has consolidated power in a way that contravenes the traditional rules of succession of the Saudi ruling dynasty. But amid foreign policy setbacks and a mixed record with domestic reforms, it is far from certain that the Crown Prince will succeed his father on the throne.
India’s stake in the Afghanistan conflict
India is happy that the United States has recommitted to fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Keeping them out of power will limit the influence of India’s longtime rival, Pakistan. But the U.S. commitment is tenuous, and President Donald Trump is a known skeptic of the war. Russian and Iranian support for the Taliban complicate the issue. India will therefore continue to support the government in Kabul through aid and diplomacy, without getting militarily involved.
Opinion: The Kremlin Report – a big, fat nothing
Anyone hoping the U.S. Treasury’s “Kremlin Report” would show insight into Russia’s inner workings has been sorely disappointed. It shows little understanding of who the real power brokers are in Moscow, and cements the U.S.’s reputation as a bull in a china shop. Europe could have helped spur constructive dialogue, but continues to follow Washington’s lead. The possibility of even modest steps to ease Russia’s confrontation with the West looks increasingly improbable.
Emmanuel Macron’s shrinking revolution
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to abolish France’s left/right political divide and shake up the country’s bloated bureaucracy. Yet his promised spending and tax cuts have been underwhelming, while his timid attempts to downsize the “layer-cake” administration have only stirred up fierce opposition. Time is running out for Mr. Macron to create a “shock of confidence” to get the economy moving.