Annual Forecasts

2015 Annual Forecast

4 MINS READJan 12, 2015 | 10:30 GMT
2014 was the year in which the world was finally shaken out of complacency. Ukraine triggered Russia's inevitable confrontation with the United States and Europe. Economic malaise in Europe became impossible to ignore. An intensifying anti-corruption drive in China exposed how far and deep the Chinese leadership is willing to go manage dissent.

2014 was the year in which the world was finally shaken out of complacency. Ukraine triggered Russia's inevitable confrontation with the United States and Europe. Economic malaise in Europe became impossible to ignore. An anti-corruption drive in China exposed how far and deep Chinese leadership is willing to go manage dissent.

(Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Overview

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Eurasia

Eurasia is the world’s most expansive region. It connects the East to the West, forming a land bridge that borders Europe, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia. Forming the borders of this massive tract of land are the Northern European Plain, the Carpathian Mountains, the Southern Caucasus Mountains, the Tien Shan Mountains and Siberia. At the heart of Eurasia is Russia, a country that throughout history has tried, to varying degrees of success, to extend its influence to Eurasia’s farthest reaches — a strategy meant to insulate it from outside powers. But this strategy necessarily creates conflict throughout Russia’s borderlands, putting Eurasia a near constant state of instability.

Jan 12, 2015 | 00:48 GMT
Eurasia connects the East to the West, forming a land bridge that borders Europe, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia.

Eurasia connects the East to the West, forming a land bridge that borders Europe, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia.

section Highlights
  • The tension between Russia and the West will persist but de-escalate. 
  • The tension, not to mention low oil prices, will make the Russian economy one of Moscow's greatest challenges in 2015.
  • Foreign financial assistance is likely to keep Ukraine afloat as far-right and nationalist groups seek to pressure the government with protests.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Europe

To the west of Eurasia lays Europe, a region predisposed to division. It is surrounded on nearly all sides by islands and peninsulas that make it difficult for Europe to cohere. The northern half of the continent, moreover, sits on a plain whose short, meandering rivers tend to empower countries without forcing them to work with others. The southern half is situated on more mountainous terrain that has historically impeded the creation of strong, unified economies. As a result, Europe is a continent riven by pockets of distinct cultures whose differences are all too often irreconcilable.

Jan 12, 2015 | 00:59 GMT
Europe is a continent riven by pockets of distinct cultures whose differences are all too often irreconcilable.

Europe is a continent riven by pockets of distinct cultures whose differences are all too often irreconcilable.

section Highlights
  • The European Union, divided as it is among widely varying interests, will remain largely reactive to events in Ukraine.
  • In 2015, the currency bloc will have to deal with four major problems: economic stagnation, high unemployment, low inflation and high debt.
  • This year will be a year when mainstream parties make alliances to remain in power that seemed unthinkable before the crisis began. 
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa is the world's crossroads. It encompasses the Arabian Peninsula, the mountains of Iran, the plains of Turkey, the deserts of the Levant, the lands north of the Sahara and all coasts in between. The story of the region, as is so often the case of places stuck between foreign players, is the story of trade, exchange and conflict. The traditional powers of the region are Turkey and Iran — Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the current Arab powers — and their competition for influence over the region's weaker states makes the Middle East and North Africa an arena of violence and instability.

Jan 12, 2015 | 01:31 GMT
The Middle East and North Africa encompasses the Arabian Peninsula, the mountains of Iran, the plains of Turkey, the deserts of the Levant, the lands north of the Sahara and all coasts in between.

The Middle East and North Africa encompasses the Arabian Peninsula, the mountains of Iran, the plains of Turkey, the deserts of the Levant, the lands north of the Sahara and all coasts in between.

section Highlights
  • While the United States prioritizes a strategy to hem in Russia, its strategy for the Middle East will focus on trying to minimize distractions stemming from this region.
  • The Islamic State will find itself increasingly constrained by unreliable support networks and attacks on its logistic and financing networks.
  • A comprehensive agreement broadcasting a U.S.-Iran diplomatic rapprochement is not likely in 2015.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Asia-Pacific

The Asia-Pacific is home to more people than any other region. Centered on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, this region includes the easternmost countries of continental Asia as well as the archipelagos that punctuate the coast. Several of these countries, most notably China, experienced rapid economic growth in the second half of the 20th century, giving the region a new sense of global economic relevance that continues today. That relevance, however, depends largely on China, a power in transition whose rise is testing the network of U.S. alliances that have long dominated the region. How effectively Beijing manages its transition will shape the regional balance of power in the decades to come.

Jan 12, 2015 | 01:40 GMT
Centered on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, the Asia-Pacific region includes the easternmost countries of continental Asia as well as the archipelagos that punctuate the coast.

Centered on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, the Asia-Pacific region includes the easternmost countries of continental Asia as well as the archipelagos that punctuate the coast.

section Highlights
  • Slowed growth in 2015 will bring to the forefront deep-set regional economic imbalances.
  • Japan's prime minister will try to use his strong parliamentary position to push through politically sensitive structural economic and social reforms.
  • Integration and investment trends will be amplified -- and in some cases constrained -- by internal developments in Southeast Asia.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Americas

The Americas stretch from the Arctic Circle in Canada to the southern tip of Chile. This geographically, culturally and politically diverse region is home to the United States, a nation whose geography helped it become the foremost economic and military power in the world — an ascendance aided in part by bringing Mexico and Canada into its sphere of influence. Farther south, the nations of South America are like islands, separated by vast spaces of impenetrable mountains, rivers and jungles. Try though these countries may to integrate more closely, deeper ties such as those that characterize North America will prove elusive.
Jan 12, 2015 | 01:50 GMT
This geographically, culturally and politically diverse region is home to the United States, a nation whose geography helped it become the foremost economic and military power in the world

This geographically, culturally and politically diverse region is home to the United States, a nation whose geography helped it become the foremost economic and military power in the world

section Highlights
  • All the elements are in place to make 2015 a year of protests and difficult political decisions that will challenge the stability of the Venezuelan government.
  • Cuba will re-engage with the United States.
  • With energy reforms legally locked in place, Mexico will focus on laying the foundation for an eventual rise in hydrocarbons production. 
  • The slow economic growth that has characterized the past two years for Brazil will continue into 2015.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

South Asia

Everything that informs geopolitics can be found in South Asia: challenging demographics, geographic diversity, and contentious, ill-defined borders. The Himalayan Mountains form the northern border of South Asia, whose two main rivers, the Indus and the Ganges, support the region’s great population centers. India is the region’s dominant country, home to the world’s fastest growing economy. But its rivalry with neighboring Pakistan, a fellow nuclear power and growing consumer market, has made South Asia one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear flashpoints. The region is also a testament to how militancy and militarism can undermine the regional integration needed to unleash higher economic growth.

Jan 12, 2015 | 01:58 GMT
Everything that informs geopolitics can be found in South Asia: challenging demographics, geographic diversity, and contentious, ill-defined borders.

Everything that informs geopolitics can be found in South Asia: challenging demographics, geographic diversity, and contentious, ill-defined borders.

section Highlights
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain fundamentally constrained in his attempts to transform his ambitious reform plans for India into reality.
  • Bangladesh will continue to work with the United States and the European Union to lift trade barriers and bolster investment hurt by concerns over the 2014 elections.
  • Clashes between hardline Buddhist elements and Muslims and Hindus could increase, creating the possibility for retaliatory or insurgent attacks.
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan will be compelled to cooperate on military matters and negotiate with the Afghan Taliban movement.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

Forecasts

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is a study in diversity. Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, the region is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources. It’s no surprise that it captured the imagination of Europe’s earliest explorers — and that it continues to capture the imagination of current world powers eager to exploit it. And yet despite the region’s diversity, Sub-Saharan African countries have common challenges — transnational terrorism, rapid population growth, endemic poverty and corruption — that prevent them from capitalizing on their economic potential. The coming years will be critical for the region, especially as its political institutions mature in a rapidly globalizing world.

Jan 12, 2015 | 02:14 GMT
Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources.

Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources.

section Highlights
  • Elections in Nigeria will leave the legislature deeply divided between the two main parties, making any sweeping reform bills unlikely to pass unless they are significantly watered down.
  • The Boko Haram insurgency in will continue to plague Nigeria.
  • Several African countries will feel the effects of the lower oil prices.
See more on this Region

As we look at what 2015 holds in store, we know the oil markets are oversupplied, Europe and China will continue to stagnate, and Russia will work under heavy constraints to deny the West a strong foothold in crucial areas of its periphery while the rest of the world deals with the repercussions of these trends. The ebb and flow of this tumult is covered in the forecast that follows....

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