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.
2019 Global Outlook: China’s regional impact
China will cast a long shadow in East Asia again this year. 2019, however, is shaping up to be less volatile than 2018. In security matters, expect China to use more “carrot” than “stick” as its neighbors try to balance Beijing against Washington. In economic terms, a stimulus program and a trade understanding with the United States could ameliorate China’s slowdown.
Angola’s new leader reaches out to the West for help
Angola has recently become one of the most stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It now hopes to rebuild its agriculture, education and navy, as well as jump-start investment in the oil sector and broaden its foreign relations base to include Western powers – all before deteriorating living conditions turn the population against the government of Gen. Joao Lourenco.
Japan’s new outreach in Asia
China’s rise as an economic and military colossus has transformed the geopolitics of East Asia. Its most powerful neighbor, Japan, has embarked on a more self-reliant course, even as it continues to lean heavily on its alliance with the United States. Tokyo is expanding its contacts, both economic and strategic, with Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
U.S.-Iran confrontation puts the EU in a quandary
The European Union has hoped to make Iran an important part of its energy security scheme and still backs the nuclear deal with Tehran from which the United States has withdrawn. As the world’s fifth largest and OPEC’s third-largest oil producer gropes for ways to circumvent American sanctions against its oil exports, however, the EU can only do so much to help Iran. Geopolitical and economic facts of life are making it hard for the Europeans to ignore the unilateral U.S. abrogation of the treaty.
2019 Global Outlook: The volatile Moscow-Kiev-Brussels triangle
In 2019, the geopolitical interplay between Russia, Ukraine and Europe will depend on their leaders. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin will have to decide whether to continue his assertive foreign policy. In Ukraine, the presidential election could bring the mercurial Yulia Tymoshenko to power – how she will deal with the war in the east remains a mystery. In Europe, the Franco-German alliance is losing traction. Rifts in the EU will deepen, making it impossible to present a united front on the challenges Russia and Ukraine present.
Reforming the African Union
Bucking the world trend, Africa in 2018 was marked by important advances toward free movement, free trade and closer cooperation between states. The main advances were on the economic front, with the agreement to create a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). While trade liberalization has the potential to be transformative for Africa, disparate stages of development, protectionist impulses and political tensions may prevent meaningful advances.
2019 Global Outlook: Economic reform in France
Another year, another missed opportunity for fiscal reform in France. Like his predecessors, President Emmanuel Macron has ended up mostly raising taxes instead of decreasing the size of government and reducing expenditures. The “national dialogue” to come following the Yellow Vest protests could bring better democratic representation – and with it, more economically responsible governance. But entrenched interests will put up stiff opposition.
Opinion: Nicaragua’s sad and costly ‘stabilization’
Nine months since protests against worsening living conditions in Latin America’s second-poorest country began, the Nicaraguan opposition is being terrorized and is less able to stage anti-government rallies. However, President Daniel Ortega’s prospects for hanging on to power are also uncertain: his government has few friends and the country’s economic difficulties are mounting.
2019 Global Outlook: The Fertile Crescent
The single most important development in the Middle East has been the end of Syria’s civil war, which was unequivocally won by the Baath regime. Even the hammer blows of a determined religious opposition could not destroy the post-World War I system that created Syria, Iraq and Jordan as Arab states. But with the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the victory of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors, the way could be cleared for an explosive confrontation with Israel.
The U.S. and Canada: chilly relations won’t sever the ties that bind
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have a contentious relationship. Yet the economic, security and administrative ties that bind the United States and Canada together are far stronger than any hostility between the two countries’ leaders. Though differences in defense policy will exacerbate tensions over the next few years, trade will strengthen their bonds.