Annual Forecasts

2016 Annual Forecast

5 MINS READDec 28, 2015 | 12:56 GMT
The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling.

The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling.

(AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Overview

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 17:37 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
  • Politically, France and Germany are moving in a more nationalist and Euroskeptical direction.
  • The Greek govenrment will have to contend with political fragility and social unrest.
  • London's proposals for EU reform will produce different alliances over different issues.
  • Asylum seekers will find it harder to reach Northern Europe.
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2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 17:46 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 standoff between Russia and the West has been central in shaping the global system for the past two years. Stratfor expects it to stay in place in 2016.
  • The Russian economy will continue to be a major priority for Moscow in 2016.
  • Far-right and nationalist groups will continue to undermine the Ukrainian government and hamper Kiev's ability to follow through with its political concessions to the separatists.
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 18:05 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
  • A more politically secure government under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be much more assertive beyond Turkey's borders this year.
  • The reintroduction of Iranian oil to the market makes Saudi Arabia unlikely to significantly scale back production in the first half of 2016.
  • As the fight in Syria becomes more complex, the Israeli government will work to maintain a relationship with as many players on the battlefield as possible.
  • The Islamic State core in Syria and Iraq will suffer notable losses this year.
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 18:26 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's agenda for 2016 includes state-owned enterprise reform.
  • The expected U.S. interest rate hike will put pressure on some Southeast Asian economies.
  • Japan's "Abenomics" economic agenda will provoke growing criticism from a disillusioned public. 
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 19:36 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
  • Losses in the Delhi and Bihar state elections in 2015 will weaken Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mandate to push his reform agenda through parliament in 2016.
  • A weak business environment and a lack of reforms in the country's distressed energy sector will cap growth.
  • Several factors, particularly Taliban disunity, will prevent any meaningful talks from concluding -- if they emerge at all -- in 2016.
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.

Dec 28, 2015 | 19:49 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
  • Several long-ruling African leaders have pushed for constitutional changes to prolong their time in office. The opposition against them will almost certainly turn violent.
  • The strains on various parts of the South African economy will contribute to the gradual decline of the African National Congress.
  • Maintaining security in the northeast is a priority for the new Nigerian president.
  • Like Nigeria, the rest of West Africa will continue to feel the pain of low oil prices. 
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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.
Dec 28, 2015 | 19:36 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 Venezuelan opposition will try to use its congressional majority to its advantage, even as the ruling party tries to limit its power through the judicial system.
  • Even if Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff survives impeachment, she will continue to rely on other parties in the National Congress to stay in power.
  • The Argentine administration will attempt to address the economic imbalances it inherited from its predecessors.
  • Colombia's government will try to sign a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia early in the year, but it will extend that deadline if the two sides cannot find common ground. 
See more on this Region

2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world. The United States and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State....

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