Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stratfor’s 2014 Forecasts Short on Geopolitics

The Stratfor 2014 forecasts missed out completely on the two easily greatest sequences of geopolitical events of the year in the Russia-Ukraine military conflict and the expansion of the war in Syria to Iraq. To quote:

“Germany and the European Union will try to maintain some influence in Ukraine through their support of opposition leaders like Vitali Klitschko, but Russia will maintain the upper hand in Ukraine overall.”

To call that an understatement would be the understatement of the year.

“Syria will remain the main proxy battlefield between Iran and Saudi Arabia.”


“A large and capable jihadist presence in Syria will encourage the slow rise of an indigenous jihadist movement in Lebanon.”

But not a mention of Iraq. In fact, Iraq only appears in the context of Turkey’s maneuverings.

And then there was India:

“As the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party square off in their decades long rivalry, the national elections are likely to illustrate the rising clout and popularity of local parties on the national level, reflecting growing frustration with the traditional duopoly of India's national politics.”

Well, the Indian electorate did demonstrate its “frustration with the traditional duopoly,” just not in the way that Stratfor envisioned.

In all fairness, nobody that I’m aware of predicted anything like the first two sequences—discontinuities are hard to foresee—and most people were surprised by the magnitude of the BJP’s victory under Narendra Modi.

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