Quarterly Forecasts

2015 Fourth-Quarter Forecast

3 MINS READOct 13, 2015 | 09:01 GMT
Russia, not happy with the United States creeping too close in its backyard, is now escalating its presence in Syria and potentially Iraq.

Russia, not happy with the United States creeping too close in its backyard, is now escalating its presence in Syria and potentially Iraq.

(ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/GettyImages)

Overview

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 19:20 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 main theme for Europe in the fourth quarter will be a recurring one: fragmentation.
  • During the quarter, Europe will focus its efforts on measures designed to prevent people from entering the Continent.
  • Greece's lenders will lose their patience by the end of the year.
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 20:03 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
  • Russia's standoff with the United States will grow more complicated this quarter.
  • Keeping relative calm in eastern Ukraine will be essential to Russia's strategy.
  • Russia and Japan will attempt to mend relations.
  • The Kremlin will also focus on strengthening Russia's weak economy. 
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 21:13 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
  • Russia's objectives in Syria are to safeguard an statelet, establish a long-term presence in the eastern Mediterranean, maintain its relationship with Iran and ultimately draw the United States into a strategic dialogue.
  • Iraq will rival Syria for attention in the fourth quarter as the fight against the Islamic State stagnates.
  • The Iran nuclear deal will advance this quarter as inspections parameters are set.
  • OPEC will avoid making production cuts.
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 23:19 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
  • China will experience continued economic weakness.
  • Japan will refocus its attention on its neglected domestic agenda.
  • Governments throughout Southeast Asia will be focused primarily on managing economic turbulence.
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.
Oct 13, 2015 | 23:57 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
  • A major outbreak of social unrest directed by the opposition is unlikely.
  • In Brazil, the threat of congressional impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff will wane in the fourth quarter.
  • The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will continue negotiations to reach a peace agreement by 2016.
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 00:15 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
  • The Indian government is unlikely to pass any major reforms in the fourth quarter.
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will remain committed to pursuing negotiations with the Taliban.
  • Bangladesh will continue to look to India for counterterrorism assistance and for political cover.
  • Questions over long-term political stability will continue to leave Sri Lanka strongly dependent on Chinese investment and economic activity.
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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.

Oct 13, 2015 | 00:30 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
  • The Nigerian government will try to maintain positive relations with former Niger Delta militants to prevent a resurgence of violence.
  • The current direction of labor negotiations in the gold mining sector suggest there will be minimal disruption.
  • The South Sudanese peace agreement will be a long term effort on the part of South Sudanese political groups and the international community to stabilize the country. 
  • Militant group al Shabaab will attack peacekeeping troops throughout the fourth quarter. 
See more on this Region

As we move into the final months of the year, credibility is on the line in many parts of the globe. The United States knew its credibility with Middle Eastern allies would be at stake as Washington tried to distance itself from the region's most consuming conflicts, but it also had to do so in order to regain credibility with its allies in other sensitive areas....

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