Stratfor Global Intelligence
Global private intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting, published its Decade Forecast last month. The intelligence company, founded in 1996, has produced a rolling forecast every five years since 1996 (1996, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015). The company provides geopolitical intelligence and consulting for a vast array of clientele.
Stratfor Intelligence Methodology
Stratfor utilizes a relatively simple methodology to gather and analyze data to make accurate projections and forecasts. Utilizing seven analysts, Stratfor employs four steps to produce their forecasts and projections.
- Monitor: Stratfor personnel around the world collect open-source information.
- Filter: Specialists identify information of potential geopolitical significance.
- Analyze: Experts assess information through the framework of geopolitics.
- Distribute: Communications professionals publish reports and tailor analysis for clients.
Overall, Stratfor has done a remarkable job making accurate forecasts regarding geopolitical issues. The intelligence firm accurately predicted the inability of Europe to survive economic crises, China's decline, and the course of the U.S. - jihadist war. On the contrary, the firm missed 9/11 and did not anticipate the scope of the American response. It should be noted that the firm does not make attempt to create forecasts for everything. Instead it focuses on major trends in the world.
The Next Decade (2015-2025)
RUSSIA WILL COLLAPSE
Stratfor claims it is "unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form." Russia has failed to transform itself from incredible dependence on energy revenue to a self-sustaining economy. At current, the economy is especially vulnerable to fluctuating energy prices and has been impacted horribly from the latest crash in oil prices. Coupled with the growing Ukrainian crisis and the consequential sanctions levied on the nation from the West, Russia will face foreboding challenges that will more than likely lead to a collapse of the country. Stratfor further claims "fragmentation of Russia" will lead to a power vacuum that will create the greatest crisis of the next decade.
"We expect Moscow's authority to weaken substantially, leading to the formal and informal fragmentation of Russia" the report states, adding that "It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form."
THE UNITED STATES MILITARY WILL BE FORCED TO SECURE RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR ARSENAL
As a result of the collapse of the Russian Federation, Stratfor warns the United States military will be forced to secure the countries nuclear arsenal because their arsenal infrastructure decentralized and spread across a vast geographical area. Should the the Russian Federation collapse as predicted by Stratfor, the ensuing power vacuum will require the prompt response of the United States to avoid allowing the weapons to get into the wrong hands.
"Washington is the only power able to address the issue, but it will not be able to seize control of the vast numbers of sites militarily and guarantee that no missile is fired in the process," the Decade Forecast states. "The United States will either have to invent a military solution that is difficult to conceive of now, accept the threat of rogue launches, or try to create a stable and economically viable government in the regions involved to neutralize the missiles over time."
UNITED STATES POWER WILL DECLINE
Although Stratfor forecasts the US as remaining a "major economic, political and military power in the world," the country will be forced to be less engaged in geopolitical events than in the past. "Its low rate of exports, its increasing energy self-reliance and its experiences over the last decade will cause it to be increasingly cautious about economic and military involvement in the world. It has learned what happens to heavy exporters when customers cannot or will not buy their products."
Stratfor continues, "It will be a disorderly world, with a changing guard in many regions. The one constant will be the counted and maturing power of the United States - a power that will be much less visible and that will be utilized far less in the next decade."
16 EMERGING ECONOMIES WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF CHINA
China has developed into a world-power by gobbling up entry-level manufacturing jobs. Collectively, the 16 emerging economies boast a population of 1.15 billion. Stratfor claims the following emerging economies bill be the "new Chinas": Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
JAPAN WILL BE ASIA'S RISING NAVAL POWER
"Japan has the resources to build a significantly larger navy and a more substantial naval tradition. In addition, Japan is heavily dependent on imports of raw materials from Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf. Right now it depends on the United States to guarantee access. But given that we are forecasting more cautious U.S. involvement in foreign ventures and that the United States is not dependent on imports, the reliability of the United States is in question. Therefore, the Japanese will increase their naval power in the coming years."
CHINA WILL FACE MAJOR CHALLENGES
Stratfor claims China will cease to be a "high-growth, low-wage economy" and will face a slowing economy that will force the country to restructure, economically. As a result, China will face "political and social consequences"
"Beijing's growing dictatorial tendencies and an anti-corruption campaign, which is actually Beijing's assertion of its power over all of China, provide an outline of what China would like to see in the next decade. China is following a hybrid path that will centralize political and economic powers, assert Party primacy over the military, and consolidate previously fragmented industries like coal and steel amid the gradual and tepid implementation of market-oriented reforms in state-owned enterprises and in the banking sector. It is highly likely that a dictatorial state coupled with more modest economic expectations will result. However, there is a less likely but still conceivable outcome in which political interests along the coast rebel against Beijing's policy of transferring wealth to the interior to contain political unrest. This is not an unknown pattern in China, and, though we do not see this as the most likely course, it should be kept in mind. Our forecast is the imposition of a communist dictatorship, a high degree of economic and political centralization and increased nationalism."
THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL BECOME FRAGMENTED
Europe's challenges over the years are duly noted. Going into the next decade, the European Union will face increasing challenges that will lead to a restructure of the continent. Given the rise in nationalism and the rising popularity of separatist parties will lead to fragmentation of the union.
"What will define Europe in the next decade is the re-emergence of the nation-state as the primary political vehicle of the continent. Indeed the number of nation-states will likely increase as various movements favoring secession, or the dissolution of states into constituent parts, increase their power. This will be particularly noticeable during the next few years, as economic and political pressures intensify amid Europe's crisis."
"The European Union might survive in some sense, but European economic, political and military relations will be governed primarily by bilateral or limited multilateral relationships that will be small in scope and not binding," the report states. "Some states might maintain a residual membership in a highly modified European Union, but this will not define Europe."