The Turkish Enigma

By George Friedman In my "Net Assessment of the World," I argued that four major segments of the European and Asian landmass were in crisis: Europe, Russia, the Middle East (from the Levant to Iran) and China. Each crisis was different; each was at a different stage of development. Collectively the crises threatened to destabilize … Continue reading The Turkish Enigma

An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

By George Friedman A desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that … Continue reading An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

Beyond the Greek Impasse

By George Friedman The Greek situation — having perhaps outlived the term "crisis," now that it has taken so long to unfold — appears to have finally reached its terminal point. This is, of course, an illusion: It has been at its terminal point for a long time. The terminal point is the juncture where neither … Continue reading Beyond the Greek Impasse

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

By George Friedman Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to … Continue reading The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

Germany Emerges

By George Friedman German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece … Continue reading Germany Emerges

Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

By Sim Tack Last week, the Cuban government declared that for the United States and Cuba to normalize relations, the United States would have to return the territory occupied by a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Washington clearly responded that returning the base is not on the table right now. This response makes sense, since … Continue reading Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

By George Friedman For the past two weeks, I have focused on the growing fragmentation of Europe. Two weeks ago, the murders in Paris prompted me to write about the fault line between Europe and the Islamic world. Last week, I wrote about the nationalism that is rising in individual European countries after the European Central … Continue reading The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

By George Friedman 'Tis the season to make lists, and a list shall be made. We tend to see each year as extraordinary, and in some senses, each year is. But in a broader sense, 2014 was merely another year in a long chain of human triumph and misery. Wars have been waged, marvelous things … Continue reading George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

By George Friedman Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to an exchange of prisoners being held on espionage charges. In addition, Washington and Havana agreed to hold discussions with the goal of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. No agreement was reached on ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba, … Continue reading The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Viewing Russia from the inside

By George Friedman Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn't rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the … Continue reading Viewing Russia from the inside

What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

By George Friedman Twenty-five years ago, a crowd filled with an uneasy mixture of joy and rage tore down the Berlin Wall. There was joy for the end of Germany's partition and the end of tyranny. There was rage against generations of fear. One fear was of communist oppression. The other fear was of the threat … Continue reading What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1

by Ralph Benko AEI’s James Pethokoukis and National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru — among many others — appear to have fallen victim to what I have called “the Eichengreen Fallacy,” the demonstrably incorrect proposition that the gold standard caused the Great Depression.  This fallacy is at the root of much confusion in the discourse. Both these … Continue reading The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1

Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy

By George Friedman U.S. President Barack Obama has come under intense criticism for his foreign policy, along with many other things. This is not unprecedented. Former President George W. Bush was similarly attacked. Stratfor has always maintained that the behavior of nations has much to do with the impersonal forces driving it, and little to … Continue reading Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy

The Similarities Between Germany and China

By George Friedman I returned last weekend from a monthlong trip to both East Asia and Europe. I discovered three things: First, the Europeans were obsessed with Germany and concerned about Russia. Second, the Asians were obsessed with China and concerned about Japan. Third, visiting seven countries from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 29 … Continue reading The Similarities Between Germany and China

Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

By Adriano Bosoni and Mark Fleming-Williams The European Court of Justice announced Sept. 22 that hearings in the case against the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond-buying scheme known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) will begin Oct. 14. Though the process is likely to be lengthy, with a judgment not due until mid-2015, the ruling will … Continue reading Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

The OECD released its first recommendations for a co-ordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project designed to create a single set of international tax rules to end the erosion of tax bases and the artificial shifting of profits to jurisdictions to avoid paying … Continue reading OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

By George Friedman The idea of Scottish independence has moved from the implausible to the very possible. Whether or not it actually happens, the idea that the union of England and Scotland, which has existed for more than 300 years, could be dissolved has enormous implications in its own right, and significant implications for Europe and … Continue reading The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

By George Friedman U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that he had no strategy as yet toward the Islamic State but that he would present a plan on Wednesday. It is important for a president to know when he has no strategy. It is not necessarily wise to announce it, as friends will be frightened … Continue reading The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

By George Friedman The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the … Continue reading Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

Terrorism as Theater

By Robert D. Kaplan The beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was much more than an altogether gruesome and tragic affair: rather, it was a very sophisticated and professional film production deliberately punctuated with powerful symbols. Foley was dressed in an orange jumpsuit reminiscent of the Muslim prisoners … Continue reading Terrorism as Theater

Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?

By George FriedmanRussia and Ukraine continue to confront each other along their border. Iraq has splintered, leading to unabated internal warfare. And the situation in Gaza remains dire. These events should be enough to constitute the sum total of our global crises, but they're not. On top of everything, the German economy contracted by 0.2 percent … Continue reading Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?

Turkey’s Geographical Ambition

By Robert D. Kaplan and Reva Bhalla At a time when Europe and other parts of the world are governed by forgettable mediocrities, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister for a decade now, seethes with ambition. Perhaps the only other leader of a major world nation who emanates such a dynamic force field around him … Continue reading Turkey’s Geographical Ambition

Can Putin Survive?

By George Friedman There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events. Ukraine and … Continue reading Can Putin Survive?

Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

By George Friedman I am writing this from Budapest, the city in which I was born. I went to the United States so young that all my memories of Hungary were acquired later in life or through my family, whose memories bridged both world wars and the Cold War, all with their attendant horrors. My … Continue reading Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan

By George Friedman I arrive in Azerbaijan as the country celebrates Victory Day, the day successor states of the former Soviet Union celebrate the defeat of Germany in World War II. No one knows how many Soviet citizens died in that war -- perhaps 22 million. The number is staggering and represents both the incompetence … Continue reading Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan

Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape

By George Friedman I will be leaving this week to visit a string of countries that are now on the front line between Russia and the European Peninsula: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Azerbaijan. A tour like that allows you to look at the details of history. But it is impossible to understand those … Continue reading Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape

The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

By George Friedman The United States announced new sanctions on seven Russian government officials April 28. A long-used tactic, sanctions can yield unpredictable effects or have no effect at all, depending upon how they are crafted. It is commonly assumed that sanctions are applied when a target country's actions are deemed unacceptable. The sanctioning nation … Continue reading The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II

By Mark Galeotti Are Russia and the West about to revisit the ritualized competition of the Cold War? Not according to Mark Galeotti. A more useful analogy is the Great Game, that freewheeling 19th century struggle between Great Britain and Russia over Central Asia. Suddenly the talk is of a new Cold War between Russia and the … Continue reading Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II

U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

By George Friedman Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive … Continue reading U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

by Ralph Benko Should Puerto Rico explore following Crimea into the Russian Federation? Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. … Continue reading A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

By George Friedman During the Cold War, U.S. secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone's head to … Continue reading Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

Big Government Really Is Over

by Ralph Benko Crimea. Venice. Scotland. Quebec. Catalonia. Colorado. Crimea’s vote, a popular vote of no confidence in Kiev, to leave Ukraine (and rejoin Russia) is in some ways unique. In o ther ways it appears part of an emerging, worldwide, trend.Venice voted last week, in a nonbinding referendum, to secede from Italy.  89% in favor: a popular vote … Continue reading Big Government Really Is Over

Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History

By Ralph Benko With his thoughtful restructuring of America’s military, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel — a Republican — has cemented Obama’s signature  legacy: restoring America to a peacetime footing. Obama’s bringing  American troops home from two wars, and, now, reducing the military to a strong, but proportionate, peacetime footing, was not easy. Doing so … Continue reading Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History

The Asian Status Quo

By Robert D. Kaplan and Matt Gertken Arguably the greatest book on political realism in the 20th century was University of Chicago Professor Hans J. Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, published in 1948. In that seminal work, Morgenthau defines the status quo as "the maintenance of the distribution of power … Continue reading The Asian Status Quo

The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

By George Friedman Last week, several events took place that were important to their respective regions and potentially to the world. Russian government officials suggested turning Ukraine into a federation, following weeks of renewed demonstrations in Kiev. The Venezuelan government was confronted with violent and deadly protests. Kazakhstan experienced a financial crisis that could have destabilized … Continue reading The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

By George Friedman The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world -- a shift that followed intense German interest in … Continue reading New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

Extreme volatility during the global financial crisis complicated economic forecasting, leading to large errors that underline the need for better modelling methods and new approaches for making and presenting projections, according to an OECD report. OECD forecasts during and after the financial crisis: a post-mortem says that the Organisation’s economic projections under-predicted the depth of the collapse … Continue reading OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

Why so much anarchy?

By Robert D. Kaplan Twenty years ago, in February 1994, I published a lengthy cover story in The Atlantic Monthly, "The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Overpopulation, Tribalism, and Disease are Rapidly Destroying the Social Fabric of Our Planet." I argued that the combination of resource depletion (like water), demographic youth bulges and the proliferation … Continue reading Why so much anarchy?

A More Assertive German Foreign Policy

By George Friedman and Marc Lanthemann The Ukrainian crisis is important in itself, but the behavior it has elicited from Germany is perhaps more important. Berlin directly challenged Ukraine's elected president for refusing to tighten relations with the European Union and for mistreating Ukrainians who protested his decision. In challenging President Viktor Yanukovich, Berlin also … Continue reading A More Assertive German Foreign Policy

Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests

By George Friedman A few months ago, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was expected to sign some agreements that could eventually integrate Ukraine with the European Union economically. Ultimately, Yanukovich refused to sign the agreements, a decision thousands of his countrymen immediately protested. The demonstrations later evolved, as they often do. Protesters started calling for political … Continue reading Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests