The world in 2017

By Janice Roberts

africaglobe1smallGeopolitical Analysis Platform, Stratfor, says economic frustration, a China in transition and a U.S. focus on pulling back from overseas obligations this year, will have an enduring impact on the global economy and international system.

According to Stratfor’s 2017 Annual Forecast, demographic shifts, the return of inflation, trade relationships and a modest recovery for crude oil prices are key factors that will shape the world this year.

“These long-arching trends tend to quietly build over decades and then noisily make their appearance as the politics catch up. The longer economic pain persists, the more intense the political response,” says Stratfor Vice President of Global Analysis Reva Goujon.

“2017 will be a year of heavy consequence. In this prolonged period of economic stress, nationalism builds up, nativism resurges and barriers are resurrected.”

In its previous annual forecast, Stratfor stated “the defining events of 2016 will raise apprehension around the world, leading into what will likely be an even more tumultuous 2017 as an array of developing conflicts comes into sharper focus.”

Key predictions in Stratfor’s 2017 Annual Forecast include:

  • Elections in France, Germany and potentially Italy will pose an existential challenge to the Eurozone.
  • European divisions and a more pliant U.S. presidency will crack a united Western front on sanctions against Russia.
  • S.-China frictions will escalate and the reverberations of their trade spat will draw the United States deeper into the Pacific theatre as Beijing pulls its own trade and security levers in retaliation.
  • The framework of the Iranian nuclear deal will hold, but an overall deterioration in U.S.-Iranian relations will work in Moscow’s favour.
  • Turkish-Iranian competition will escalate and Saudi Arabia will play a more interventionist role in the oil markets.
  • The degradation of Islamic State will drive a rise in insurgent and terrorist activity while Al Qaeda quietly rebuilds.
  • North American integration will endure in spite of U.S. efforts to renegotiate parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • With nationalism on the rise in much of the developed world, global trade initiatives will fragment and export-dependent countries will seek out less ambitious trade pacts in smaller groupings.

Stratfor’s 2016 Annual Forecast predicted the growth of nationalism and fragmentation of the European Union; Turkey’s military advance into northern Syria; the continuation of the U.S.-Russia standoff in Syria without major strategic concessions; and the absence of any coordinated move to cut global oil production until just before the end of the year.

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