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On GeopoliticsJul 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of China.
China’s Rise as a Global Power Reaches Its Riskiest Point Yet
China is an empire in the modern sense -- a nation strengthened (but also held hostage) by its long supply chains, compelled to ever greater economic and political intercourse to preserve its interests, and increasingly drawn into the security sphere as well. It uses its economic, political and military leverage to expand its own direct sphere of operations, from the South China Sea to India and across Central Asia into Europe. The more engaged it is internationally, the more dependent it is on maintaining and strengthening those connections, which are critical for Chinese economic growth and, by extension, domestic management of its massive, diverse and economically unequal population. 
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AssessmentsJul 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People stand in line to receive grant payments from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Khayelitsha, a township located near Cape Town, on May 4, 2020. 
South Africa's Budget Outlook Paints a Picture of a Lost Decade
South Africa will likely miss its recently adjusted budget targets as the country’s escalating COVID-19 outbreak delays much-needed austerity measures, leaving the South African economy in shambles for at least another five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his pro-business allies in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had planned to rein in government spending and the country's sky-high debt levels over the next three years. But South Africa's likely extended health and economic crisis could make that goal politically untenable, given that any budget cuts and potential layoffs would most acutely affect the ANC's support base of labor unions and their poorer Black constituents. 
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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 20:30 GMT
Russia’s Constitutional Changes Appear Headed for Approval
Preliminary results of Russia’s constitutional referendum suggest the amendments will easily be passed despite opposition groups potentially disputing results, thus setting the Kremlin on a course to prepare its political system for a future without President Vladamir Putin. With 55 percent of votes already counted, Russia’s electoral commission announced July 1 that 76.6 percent of voters have approved the proposed constitutional amendments. A turnout of about 65 percent projects a high level of legitimacy for the vote, which will support the Kremlin’s democratic narrative and limit public backlash. 
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AssessmentsJul 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image depicts waving Chinese and Indian flags overlaying a map of the world.
In India, Anti-China Anger Will Bring Out Modi's Hawkish Side
A surge of anti-China sentiment among Indian lawmakers, business leaders and voters will prompt Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a more aggressive approach against Bejing in the wake of the two countries' recent border clash. This could include a variety of actions ranging from diplomatic moves to economic and trade measures, as well as a continued military build-up against China, which will only further ratchet up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors. 
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SnapshotsJun 30, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
China's Security Law Ushers in a New and Uncertain Era in Hong Kong
The passing of China's new Hong Kong national security law marks the start of an uncertain and potentially volatile phase in the city's ongoing political crisis, as pro-democracy forces square-off with newly empowered city authorities backed by Beijing, increasing the risk of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that could also impact foreign institutions. Whether the next period sees tumultuous protests or a stifling of the pro-democracy camp will now depend on how Hong Kong authorities choose to apply their new sweeping powers and how the prosecution of such crimes proceed in the court system. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, for its part, will work to balance the need to maintain public furor against Beijing's ongoing erosion of the city's autonomy with the need to also save its strength for September legislative council elections, where it hopes to gain ground and challenge Beijing-aligned authorities.
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AssessmentsJun 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Syrian refugees walk outside a tent at a camp near the Iraqi Kurdish town of Bardarash on Oct. 18, 2019.
COVID-19 Cash Shortages Will Cripple Global Humanitarian Efforts
Reductions in funding for multilateral aid due to the economic fallout from COVID-19 are impacting the fight against the epidemic in conflict zones such as Yemen, raising the prospect of migration flows and renewed fighting, while increasing pressure on private aid organizations to fund humanitarian programs. Funding for multilateral humanitarian aid is dwindling as donor countries increasingly turn inward to solve their own COVID-19 crises at home. Donor countries are providing pandemic relief in various ways, including debt relief, financial swaps and bilateral aid. But global economic contractions, estimated to hover around 7 percent this year, are reducing aid contributions to the United Nations and other institutions, creating severe systemic funding gaps. 
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SnapshotsJun 29, 2020 | 16:05 GMT
French Local Elections Deal a Blow to Macron's Political Prospects
A little more than three years after taking office, French President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique En Marche (LREM) party has failed to win support at the municipal level, where much of French politics takes place. The second round of municipal elections on June 28 resulted in big wins for opposition parties, which suggests France's political system is becoming increasingly fragmented and that the country's traditional parties are struggling to compete with their emerging rivals. Very low voter turnout (around 41 percent) also suggests many French voters are discontent with their current political options, which could result in the rise of anti-establishment parties and the emergence of new protest movements like the yellow vests.
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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SnapshotsJun 24, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Seeking a Political Win, Trump Takes Aim at Immigration Visas
After weeks of speculation, U.S. President Donald Trump finally issued a presidential proclamation on June 22 outlining visa changes that will significantly impede the ability of U.S. tech companies and universities to attract international talent and investment. Should they become permanent, the changes could place the United States' competitive advantage as a business hub in jeopardy by making U.S. visa programs more difficult for foreigners to access. 
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AssessmentsJun 23, 2020 | 18:03 GMT
A worker goes down a construction ladder at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia on Dec. 26, 2019.
Egypt's Losing Battle on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
The failure of last week's negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam means that the initial filling of the $4 billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile will likely occur without an agreement between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. Egypt will attempt, and likely fail, to bring international pressure to bear on Ethiopia in order to ensure the giant new dam doesn't affect the flow of the Nile Basin river system, which is Cairo's main source of water. But while Egypt's technical coordination on the project is unavoidable, Cairo's waning influence over North Africa's water distribution will make its overall position on the Nile less secure over time.
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SnapshotsJun 23, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Details of China's Hong Kong Security Law Confirm Critics' Fears
The Chinese central government is adopting a more rapid and aggressive approach to its proposed national security law in Hong Kong that will erode the city's autonomy from the mainland. On June 20, Chinese state-run media released new details about Beijing's proposed Hong Kong national security legislation following the conclusion of a National People's Congress Standing Committee session. The Standing Committee will now hold a June 28-30 special meeting, raising the possibility of the law's passage before the July 1 anniversary of the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong.  As written, the current draft law grants Beijing a greater supervisory role over national security inside of Hong Kong with measures that were on the more assertive end of the spectrum of potential options.The tough penalties for convictions will also have a chilling effect on unrest in Hong Kong by allowing pro-Beijing forces inside the city to more easily crack down on
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AssessmentsJun 18, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Nuclear-capable ballistic missiles are displayed during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, on Oct. 1, 2019.
With U.S.-Russia Talks Ahead, New START’s Future Hangs in the Balance
The United States is seeking to buy time in upcoming arms control discussions with Russia, and could agree to a brief extension of New START in an effort to draw China into a longer-term discussion about its potential inclusion in the treaty. Washington may now be more willing to preserve core New START elements that restrict the number of strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems that each signatory can have. The White House’s arms control negotiator, Marshall Billingslea, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov are slated to finally meet in Vienna on June 22 to discuss the future of New START, which came into force in 2011 and is now set to expire in February 2021 unless both parties agree to a five-year extension provided within the treaty itself. Recent leaks from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have suggested that a shorter extension (i.e. less than the five
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SnapshotsJun 17, 2020 | 16:31 GMT
Russia Extends a Rare Lifeline to Its Struggling Defense Sector
The Russian government's $3.6 billion bailout plan for the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) may provide some relief for the struggling state-owned defense giant, but it won't fix the perennial low revenues and high development costs that have left Russia's defense sector straddled with debt. Sources quoted by Vedomosti suggested that the company's 400 billion ruble ($5.7 billion) debt will largely be covered by the direct capitalization of the company, as well as a restructuring of its remaining 150 ruble ($2.1 billion) debt over a 15-year period. This will allow the state-owned defense industry conglomerate, which includes critical aerospace producers such as Mikoyan and Sukhoi, to continue its operations despite its mounting debt and losses in recent years. The Kremlin, however, will likely be less forthcoming with such massive bailouts to the country's private defense companies, which are also struggling with similar financial issues.
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