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.
Corruption in Africa: trends and scenarios
Sub-Saharan Africa is, according to some measures, the world's most corrupt region. But the picture is decidedly mixed. Some countries have made great strides in fighting graft, while others will remain mired in corrupt systems for years to come. Democratic institutions are an important factor, but so is economic freedom. As access to information makes officials' corrupt practices increasingly visible, what is the outlook for these countries, as their people strive for a fairer shot?
Ecuador picks up the pieces
Ecuador is a small country that embodies many of Latin America’s problems in miniature. Overdependence on commodity exports and Chinese loans, unsustainable public finances, poverty, corruption, crime, refugees and tensions with the U.S. are just a few items on the list. Most of all, its minority government must clean up after former President Rafael Correa’s failed “Citizens’ Revolution,” trying to build sound institutions on a legacy of personalistic governance.
Opinion: The overhauled but directionless Franco-German tandem
When French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed a new Franco-German treaty in Charlemagne’s old imperial capital of Aachen earlier this year, the outcome was underwhelming. The ambitious goals that were set also seem entirely unrealistic, given the countries’ increasing divergence on policy. That means fears of a dominant Franco-German tandem in the EU are unfounded, but so are hopes that it will lead the bloc out of its current doldrums.
GIS Dossier: Vietnam defends its independence
Vietnam, with its more than 3,400-kilometer coastline on the South China Sea, its growing economy and its large military, is a linchpin of Southeast Asia. It also lies at the crux of global powers’ interests in the region. So far, it has managed to maximize its independence, but rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region threaten to undermine its strategy. This Dossier reviews GIS experts’ analysis of and predictions for this emerging regional leader.
President El-Sisi’s Egypt: Quietly rebuilding economic strength
Following his 2013 coup d’etat that was sternly criticized in Washington and European capitals, Egypt’s former defense minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, was elected the country’s president by an overwhelming margin. After five years in charge of the most populous Arab country, Mr. El-Sisi has accumulated a predictably shoddy record on human rights but a surprisingly strong one as an economic reformer and agent of stability in the turbulent region.
Opinion: Venezuela’s endless endgame
Bankrupt and in an economic freefall, Venezuela has become the scene of a humanitarian drama. The opposition is finally unified and appears close to being able to push the die-hard Chavista regime out. Much of the outside world, including Latin America, Europe and the United States, is eager to help, but the devil, as always, is in the detail.
Filling the void in Libya
Libya continues to fall apart. Daily life is in a downward spiral, militias run Tripoli like criminal cartels, and as rival governments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica vie for control, the desert interior is up for grabs. UN mediation has failed to overcome these centrifugal forces, and hopes for U.S. involvement – perhaps the best chance for reunification – were dashed by the troop pullout from Syria. As outside powers circle for advantage, Russia is only too eager to fill the power vacuum.
Opinion: Political implications of terminating the INF Treaty
President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is one in a series of withdrawals from contractual security arrangements. For the U.S., this step changes little in the bilateral relationship with Russia, but among European policymakers and media it has stirred up outrage. Paradoxically, this comes at a time when nuclear missiles – which are political weapons par excellence – have lost much of their significance in Europe.
GIS Dossier: The Italian case
Politically and financially, Italy has come to be regarded as a weak link in the European Union. Its shaky banks and enormous public debt almost blew apart the euro area during the debt crisis of 2010-2012, and could still do so. Its government, a marriage of populists on the left and right, claims to be the precursor of a protest wave that will sweep this year’s European Parliament elections. But as usual, it is hard to tell whether Italy is headed for disaster or more of the same.
Argentina: President Macri’s reelection will hinge on economic rebound
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is in a tight spot at the start of the election year. His government presides over cuts to public spending, including politically sensitive social protection programs, under the conditions of a lifeline deal with the IMF. Mr. Macri’s hopes for inducing growth by restoring Argentina to the good graces of the financial markets and attracting significant foreign investment are yet to materialize. But not all is lost for the pro-market reformer in Buenos Aires.