AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Jan 6, 2014) - Geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor today released its 2014 Annual Forecast, outlining key trends and regional dynamics expected to shape the global geopolitical landscape in the coming year. The emerging détente between the United States and Iran -- a trend Stratfor anticipated more than a decade ago when the U.S. first entered Iraq -- and the resulting shift in the balance of power in the Middle East is the top geopolitical development Stratfor will be tracking in 2014.
"While negotiations between Washington and Tehran will face major hurdles, we're reasonably optimistic that the developing rapprochement between the United States and Iran will endure," said Reva Bhalla, Stratfor's vice president of global analysis. "A comprehensive settlement, however, will take more than 12 months to develop, which is understandable given 34 years of hostile relations and the struggles both sides will face in selling this negotiation to dissenters at home."
Among other regional trends in its 2014 Annual Forecast, Stratfor projects:
- Russia will focus on reinforcing the gains it has made over the past decade in neutralizing and reorienting peripheral states -- from the Caucasus to Central and Eastern Europe -- toward Moscow. Moldova and Georgia will likely meet the same fate as Ukraine as Russia applies economic, security and political pressure in attempt to prevent them from following through with EU agreements.
- Europe will likely survive another year of stagnant economic growth and high unemployment, but the political and social pressures developing on the Continent will hinder the very structural reforms needed to manage the crisis in the longer run. The underlying stresses of the economic crisis will be made visible in the gradual strengthening of nationalist and anti-establishment parties.
- China will experience similar frustration trying to balance deep reforms against growing social and political constraints. The country will gradually shift away from the Party's slower, consensus-based decision-making to a more decisive strongman model under President Xi Jinping.
- Libya, Nigeria and Colombia will produce compelling news for commodity investors in 2014. Colombia will likely reach a peace settlement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), thereby ending the Western Hemisphere's longest-running insurgency. Nigeria faces an especially violent year ahead of political party leadership elections, and instability in Libya will persist as Tripoli continues to struggle in asserting its authority over a fragmented tribal and militia landscape.
"By and large, 2014 will be a year of careful deliberation and preparation by the world's great powers, in which accommodation will more likely prevail over confrontation in their interactions," said George Friedman, Stratfor's founder and chairman.
"By contrast, the countries lying in between these great powers will be on edge as they try to adapt to their shifting geopolitical environment while lacking the influence to play a decisive role in the very issues redefining their regions of the world."
A video preview with additional details and summary of Stratfor's 2014 Annual Forecast can be found on the company's website at www.stratfor.com/video/2014-annual-forecast-preview.
The company's full Annual Forecast is available online to Stratfor subscribers.
Stratfor is a leading geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world. By placing global events in a geopolitical framework, the company helps customers and subscribers anticipate opportunities and better understand the broader impact of regional and international developments. Full analysis on global events and more details on the company can be found on Stratfor's website at www.stratfor.com.