Quarterly Forecasts

2015 Second-Quarter Forecast

3 MINS READApr 13, 2015 | 09:45 GMT
The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia.

The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia.

(JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Overview

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 16:59 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 showdown between Greece and Germany will continue during this quarter, but Athens will complete its bailout program.
  • This will be a transition quarter for France, because the Elysee will negotiate with rebel Socialist and Green lawmakers to regain their support. 
  • One particularly important trend is the electoral growth of anti-establishment parties and the fragmentation of the political system in several EU member states.
  • The crisis in Ukraine and the debate on how to deal with Russia will continue to generate friction within the European Union.
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The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 17:22 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
  • Tensions between the United States and Russia will persist, but Stratfor does not anticipate a major Russian military push into Ukraine that would overturn the Minsk agreement.
  • Emerging power struggles among the Kremlin elite could undermine Vladimir Putin's ability to rule effectively.
  • Another challenge Russia will face this quarter is the erosion of its influence in Kiev.
  • The Kremlin will also work to consolidate and strengthen its alliances in the former Soviet periphery as it continues competing with the West for influence in the region.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 14:50 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
  • The debate over the Iran deal will focus primarily on the sequencing and phasing of sanctions relief for Iran. 
  • The United States will avoid a direct combat role in the Yemen conflict, though it will be ready and willing to expand logistical and intelligence assistance to the Saudi-led coalition.
  • Turkey will also vie for leadership in the Sunni world and, with time, pick up more of the burden of handling the region's affairs.
  • Despite the emergence of groups claiming to carry the Islamic State banner, the strength of the Islamic State will remain concentrated in the Iraq-Syria theater.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 16:42 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
  • The depth of China's economic problems will become even clearer, with virtually every major indicator likely to show slowed or negative growth. 
  • In Japan, the coming months will see a flurry of legislative activity aimed at pushing through structural, social and economic reforms.
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hold a number of important meetings to advance regionwide free markets for trade, labor and capital.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.
Apr 13, 2015 | 16:54 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
  • The deepening economic crisis in Venezuela will dominate the government's attention and actions in the second quarter.
  • Brazil's focus in the next quarter will turn to domestic economic policy and politics.
  • The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will come closer than ever to a peace deal in the second quarter.
  • Unrest in Mexico's southwest will threaten local electoral processes ahead of Mexico's June elections.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 17:05 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
  • New Delhi will spend the second quarter working to consolidate its authority within the lower house even as the opposition continues to prevent the passage of reforms.
  • Border and water-sharing agreements between India and Bangladesh, expected this year, will be delayed because of both countries' domestic concerns.
  • Negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban will dominate Afghanistan in the second quarter.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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.

Apr 13, 2015 | 19:34 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 political transition in Nigeria will lead to small pockets of unrest in the Niger Delta region.
  • Labor negotiations in South Africa carry the risk of violence. 
  • Upcoming elections in Ethiopia will test the current prime minister.
See more on this Region

The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter....

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