GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
Russia without Putin: A first approximation
Vladimir Putin is at the heart of Russia’s political system. But less and less of what is happening in the country depends on his personal vision and volition. The president looks increasingly disengaged, while his policy of confrontation with the West is a dead end. As the first outlines of a post-Putin order come into focus, it scarcely matters whether the president runs for another term. Even if he wins, the new era begins the day after the vote.
Opinion: How not to resolve the Venezuelan crisis
Venezuela’s constitutional coup has cleared the way from President Nicolas Maduro to suppress the opposition. But with the economy in tatters, the death toll in street protests rising, and the officer corps on the verge of splintering, the government may be more open to international mediation than first appears. The only way this works, however, is if the United States stays out.
Zimbabwe’s pivotal moment
Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis have led to protests of unprecedented intensity against the regime of President Robert Mugabe. However, the opposition is divided, and Mr. Mugabe still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. If the coalition of opposition parties can remain unified, it has a chance of unseating the president in next year’s elections. But no matter the outcome, unrest is likely to continue.
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?
Algeria: A European crisis in the making
Algeria's perennial problems are reaching crisis levels. The economic outlook is so dire that street violence is a distinct possibility. Its political scene is paralyzed by a seemingly endless succession crisis involving the ailing 78-year-old president, Abdulaziz Bouteflika. Legislative elections earlier this month did nothing to stop the drift. If unrest breaks out, a descent into civil war cannot be excluded, and Europe would face a new regional crisis of the first order.
Crisis in the DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been one of Africa’s most troubled states since it won independence from Belgium in 1960. Perhaps fittingly, its latest crisis was defused by a last-minute agreement on New Year’s Eve between President Joseph Kabila and the opposition. Will it last?
Global Outlook 2017: Sub-Saharan Africa
Political instability will be the norm for sub-Saharan Africa in 2017. Crises will range from rocky political transitions to mass protests, electoral violence and – in the worst case – even genocide. The region faces these challenges at a time when realpolitik is replacing liberalism.
Global Outlook 2017: Venezuela
Venezuela is back from the brink. Over the past six months, Nicolas Maduro has outsmarted the opposition, used a bond swap to stave off default, and coopted the top military brass to prevent a coup. If the president can only find a way to revive oil output, he may be a good bet to stay in office through 2018.
Political crises flare up in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing a defining moment as leadership crises coincide with a variety of global challenges, including economic slowdowns, terrorism and the effects of climate change. To deal with these challenges, countries must undergo deep reforms and political change. The short-term effect, in most cases, will probably be an upsurge in violence and repression.