annual forecasts

2019 Annual Forecast

4 MINS READDec 3, 2018 | 01:09 GMT
In Stratfor's 2019 Annual Forecast we explore the critical factors that will influence the global system in the year ahead.

A new global dynamic creates a massive headache for middle powers and globally exposed businesses attempting to navigate an increasingly complex international landscape.

(MANJUNATH KIRAN/SPENCER PLATT/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/MLADEN ANTONOV/JUSTIN SULLIVAN/ISSEI KATO/DAVID MCNEW/IGO ESTRELA/STR/AFP/Gett

Overview

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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Global Trends

In today's world, nations are becoming increasingly interconnected by air, land, sea and cyberspace. As globalization has knitted countries and continents closer together, the borders of the map and the barriers of geography have been rendered, in some ways, obsolete. Now events in one region can more easily have consequences in another, at times even rippling across the globe. We explore those with the greatest impact on international decision-making during the forecast period below.

Nov 19, 2018 | 20:19 GMT
The glittering lights of the American Midwest illuminate the Earth in this captivating image taken by the International Space Station Expedition 46 crew on Jan. 5, 2016. The picture, which was taken while the station was flying above Alabama, shows numerous major cities, including the major city of Chicago (middle-left) situated on the Lake Michigan coastline. Also in view are three of the American Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan (left), Lake Huron (middle) and Lake Erie (right).
section Highlights
  • A great power rivalry among the United States, China and Russia will accelerate a high-stakes arms race and increase competition in cyberspace. Global governance around these building threats will prove elusive as divisions deepen in the international system.
  • Even as the United States escalates a strategic offensive against China with additional tariffs and regulatory blocks, sanctions, increased backing for Taiwan, and maritime challenges in the South China Sea, Beijing will rely on its heavy economic leverage to chip away at U.S. alliances.
  • A White House showdown with the World Trade Organization could grind the body’s dispute settlement process to a halt, forcing countries back to a less predictable bilateral track to sort out their trade frictions.
  • As Iranian oil exports diminish under sanctions, U.S. production is set to increase, and as the global economy experiences more sluggish growth in 2019, Saudi Arabia and Russia will remain highly reactive to global oil markets to prevent a steep price plunge. Global liquefied natural gas markets, meanwhile, will grow more competitive as the United States earns its place among the world’s top LNG exporters in 2019.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 19, 2018 | 20:48 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 27, 2018 | 13:49 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 27, 2018 | 20:43 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 28, 2018 | 15:14 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 28, 2018 | 17:57 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.
Nov 28, 2018 | 19:59 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

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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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.

Nov 28, 2018 | 22:31 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.

Great power competition is only set to intensify in 2019 and Stratfor's Annual Forecast outlines the critical issues for the coming year. ...

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