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An emerging nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula will rise to the top of the United States' agenda this quarter, reducing the priority of less pressing issues as Washington works furiously to avoid -- and prepare for -- the worst.
The United States will maintain its security alliances abroad, but it will also generate enough uncertainty to drive its partners toward unilateral action in managing their own neighborhoods.
Trade will be at the forefront of many leaders' minds this quarter.
If the study of geopolitics focuses on the structural forces shaping the international system, then domestic elections only rarely matter. Leaders tend to bend to their environment, not the other way around. And yet in the final months of 2016 the United States, still the world's only superpower, will choose a president in an election that will shape U.S. foreign policy more than usual.
The Brexit referendum, and the fallout from it, will be among the most heavily scrutinized themes of the next quarter. And though it may have been the most visible confirmation of the European Union's disintegration, the seeds of its departure were sowed years earlier.
It's tempting to blame Syria for all the geopolitical intrigue that will characterize the second quarter of 2016. It is the home of a protracted civil war, the source of Europe's migrant crisis and a major complication in Turkey's struggle with the Kurds. But in truth, Syria is merely a pawn in a larger game played by more powerful countries, each with their own designs in the Middle East.
Russia, not happy with the United States creeping too close in its backyard, is now escalating its presence in Syria and potentially Iraq.
Stratfor said at the beginning of 2015 that this would be the year when Europe would be knocked out of complacency. The third quarter is when the harsh reality of an unraveling eurozone confronts Berlin and the eurozone at large.
The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia.
It has not been an easy year for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Russia is nonetheless in a strong position over Ukraine.
The jihadist war that has defined and confounded U.S. foreign policy for the past decade erupted again in the second quarter. The upheaval from it will not be confined to Iraq; weak governments from Damascus to Sanaa will struggle to quell the jihadists' call to arms.
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