Stratfor's Decade Forecast: 2015-2025 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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You can sign up on http://www.stratfor.com/ and peruse it or just click below for an attached PDF. I have uploaded it here, http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fi ... 1040075359

The world has been restructuring itself since 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and the subprime financial crisis struck. Three patterns have emerged. First, the European Union entered a crisis it could not solve and which has increased in intensity. We predict that the European Union will never return to its previous unity, and if it survives it will operate in a more limited and fragmented way in the next decade. We do not expect the free trade zone to continue to operate without increasing protectionism. We expect Germany to suffer severe economic reversals in the next decade and Poland to increase its regional power as a result.


This is very important because it represents the resurgence of the Intermarium concept by Pilduski, mimicking the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (that should be noted, had a constitution very similar to the early United States). Whereas the Germans have been extremely half-hearted with their leadership of the EU, especially concerning Russia, Poland due to historical circumstance has obviously no such qualms about rising to a leadership position that will be tolerated and encouraged by the United States.


The current confrontation with Russia over Ukraine will remain a centerpiece of the international system over the next few years, but we do not think the Russian Federation can exist in its current form for the entire decade. Its overwhelming dependence on energy exports and the unreliability of expectations on pricing make it impossible for Moscow to sustain its institutional relations across the wide swathe of the Russian federation. We expect Moscow’s authority to weaken substantially, leading to the formal and informal fragmentation of Russia. The security of Russia’s nuclear arsenal will become a prime concern as this process accelerates later in the decade.


ImageKudos to Rei, ahead of everyone else.

This is probably the centerpiece of the entire report, and deserves expansion.

We have entered a period in which the decline of the nation-states created by Europe in North Africa and the Middle East is accelerating. Power is no longer held by the state in many countries, having devolved to armed factions that canneither defeat others nor be defeated. This has initiated a period of intense internal fighting. The United States is prepared to mitigate the situation with air power and limited forces on the ground but will not be able or willing to impose a settlement. Turkey, whose southern border is made vulnerable by this fighting, will be slowly drawn into the fighting. By the end of this decade, Turkey will emerge as the major regional power,and Turkish-Iranian competition will increase as a result


Sultan Erdogans buffoonery has lead me to believe the exact opposite, with its not so blatant assistance for JaN and other Syrian foreign fighters, rather than being a stabilizing force, it seems to be for some absurd reason interested in increasing the instability in the region. I think in order for Turkey to ascend to any sort of regional position, AKP and Erdogan need to go and someone with a less myopic foreign policy comes to the fore.

China has completed its cycle as a highgrowth, low-wage country and has entered a new phase that is the new normal. This phase includes much slower growth and an increasingly powerful dictatorship to contain the divergent forces created by slow growth. China will continue to be a major economic force but will not be the dynamic engine of global growth it once was. That role will be taken by a new group of highly dispersed countries we call the Post- China 16, which includes much of Southeast Asia, East Africa and parts of Latin America. China will not be an aggressive military force either. Japan remains the most likely contender for the dominant position in East Asia, both because of its geography and its needs as a massive importer.


Probably the part of the article I disagree with most. The 7.4% growth figure, though the lowest in decades for China, is by no means indicative of "low" or slow growth. Nevertheless Stratfor is correct in its assessment of low-wage manufacturing jobs going to the "Post-China 16". China not being a relatively aggressive military force is spot on, it neither possess the blue-water naval capacity to secure its vulnerable sea routes, nor is its overland Silk Road foray into Central Asia anywhere near completion. For now it wisely seems to be happy to piggyback on the USNs continued naval supremacy.

German Decline

Germany has emerged from this mass of nationstates as the most economically and politically influential. Yet Germany is also extremely vulnerable. It is the world’s fourth-largest economic power, but it has achieved that status by depending on exports. Export powers have a built-in vulnerability:They depend on their customers’ desire and ability to buy their products. In other words, Germany’s economy is hostage to the economic well-being and competitive environment in which it operates. There are multiple forces working against Germany in this regard. First, Europe’s increasing
nationalism will lead to protectionist capital and labor markets. Weaker countries are likely to adopt various sorts of capital controls, while stronger countries will limit the movement of foreigners -- including the citizens of other EU countries -- across their borders. We forecast that existing protectionist policies inside the European Union, particularly on agriculture, will be supplemented in coming years by trade barriers created by the weaker Southern European economies that need to rebuild their economic base after the current depression. On a global basis, we can expect European exports to face increased competition and highly variable demand in the uncertain environment. Therefore, our forecast is that Germany will begin an extended economic decline that will lead to a domestic social and political crisis and that will reduce Germany’s influence in Europe during the next 10 years.

At the center of economic growth and increasing political influence will be Poland. Poland has maintained one of the most impressive growth profiles outside of Germany and Austria. In addition, though its population is likely to contract, the contraction will most probably be far less than in other European countries. As Germany undergoes wrenching shifts in economy and population, Poland will diversify its own trade relationships to emerge as the dominant power on the strategic Northern European Plain. Moreover, we expect Poland to be the leader of an anti-Russia coalition that would,
significantly, include Romania during the first half of this decade. In the second half of the decade,this alliance will play a major role in reshaping the Russian borderlands and retrieving lost territories
through informal and formal means. Eventually as Moscow weakens, this alliance will become the dominant influence not only in Belarus and Ukraine, but also farther east. This will further enhance Poland’s and its allies’ economic and political position.

Poland will benefit from having a strategic partnership with the United States. Whenever a leading global power enters into a relationship with a strategic partner, it is in the global power’s interest to make the partner as economically vigorous as possible, both to stabilize its society and to make it capable of building a military force. Poland will be in that position with the United States, as will romania. Washington has made its interest in the region obvious.



So, a repeat of the Marshall plan is in order. This makes complete sense when Stratfor points out the overriding "automatic" American imperative.

For a century, the United States has been concerned about the emergence of a hegemon in Europe, and in particular of either an accommodation between Germany and Russia or a conquest of one by the other. That combination, more than any other, might be able to muster a force – between German capital and technology and Russian resources and manpower – capable of threatening American interests.

Therefore, in World War I, World War II and the Cold War, the United States was instrumental in preventing this from occurring.


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Friedman goes into it more in-depth here. Perhaps more importantly, a recent op-ed from the Moscow times ties in the debacle at Delbatsevo into the wider chessboard, and its implications for Russia

The disintegration of the Russian Federation

Centrepiece of the article, imo

It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form. Russia’s failure to transform its energy revenue into a selfsustaining economy makes it vulnerable to price fluctuations. It has no defense against these market forces. Given the organization of the federation, with revenue flowing to Moscow before being distributed directly or via regional governments, the flow of resources will also vary dramatically. This will lead to a repeat of the Soviet Union’s experience in the 1980s and Russia’s in the 1990s, in which Moscow’s ability to support the national infrastructure declined. In this case, it will cause regions to fend for themselves by forming informal and formal autonomous entities. The economic ties binding the Russian periphery to Moscow will fray.Historically, the Russians solved such problems via the secret police – the KGB and its successor, the Federal Security Services. But just as in the 1980s, the secret police will not be able to contain the centrifugal forces pulling regions away from Moscow this decade. In this case, the FSB’s power is weakened by its leadership’s involvement in the national economy. As the economy falters, so does the FSB’s strength.Without the FSB inspiring genuine terror, the fragmentation of the Russian Federation will not be preventable.


I somewhat disagree that the FSB and OMOH can cease to provide terror, and that these instititutions will be affected by a depressed Russian economy. The "Praetorian Guard" are ultimately the least affected by economic turmoil because of their position.

To Russia’s west, Poland, Hungary and Romania will seek to recover regions lost to the Russians at various points. They will work to bring Belarus and Ukraine into this fold. In the south, the Russians’ ability to continue controlling the North Caucasus will evaporate, and Central Asia will destabilize. In the northwest, the Karelian region will seek to rejoin Finland. In the Far East, the Maritime regions more closely linked to China,Japan and the United States than to Moscow will move independently. Other areas outside of Moscow will not necessarily seek autonomy but will have it thrust upon them. This is the point: There will not be an uprising against Moscow, but Moscow’s withering ability to support and control the Russian Federation will leave a vacuum. What will exist in this vacuum will be theindividual fragments of the Russian Federation. This will create the greatest crisis of the next decade. Russia is the site of a massive nuclear strike force distributed throughout the hinterlands. The decline of Moscow’s power will open the question of who controls those missiles and how their non-use can be guaranteed. This will be a major test for the United States.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.


Lukashenkos disturbing warning is perhaps a sign of things to come? Tying the Belarussian ruble to the dollar rather than the Russian ruble perhaps is also another precursor.

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. It is difficult to imagine how this problem will play out. However, given our forecast on the fragmentation of Russia, it
follows that this issue will have to be addressed, likely in the next decade.

The issue in the first half of the decade will be how far the alliance stretching between the Baltic and Black seas will extend. Logically, it should reach Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. Whether
or not it does depends on what we have forecast for the Middle East and Turkey.


What is left unsaid is the potential of leveraging various jihadis and mujahideens against the Central Asian states that still look towards Moscow for support. It's a risky prospect since China will gradually have more and more interest in the region, but it remains to be seen if Sino-Russian relations regarding Central Asia can be complimentary or if they are predicated on being competitive.

Powerplays in the Far East

China cannot easily turn nationalism into active aggression. China’s geography makes such actions on land difficult, if not impossible. The only exception might be an attempt to take control
of Russia’s maritime interests if we are correct and Russia fragments. Here, Japan likely would challenge China
. China is building a large number of ships but has little experience in naval warfare
and lacks the experienced fleet commanders needed to challenge more experienced navies, including the United States’. 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. Fighting over the minor islands producing low-cost and unprofitable energy will not be the primary issue in the region. Rather, an old three-player game will emerge. Russia, the declining power, will increasingly lose the ability to protect its maritime interests. The Chinese and the Japanese will both be interested in acquiring these and in preventing each other from having them. We forecast this as the central, unsettled issue in the region as Russia declines and Sino-Japanese competition increases


Very interesting imo. The resurgence of Japan is of particular interest (and leveraging its power against Russia rather than China), a positive development in that it is not burdenened by its post-war guilt to the degree that Germany is (where it actually hampers German independence).

America

Though most of the paragraphs on America are congratulatory (arguably to the point of masturbatory joy) the important theme seems to be the challenge of managing Russian decline, rather than any fears about a Chinese rise.

In the world wars, the United States came in late, and though it absorbed fewer casualties than Other countries, it nevertheless suffered more than was comfortable for it. In the Cold War,the United States intervened early and, at least in Europe, had no casualties. Based on this, the United States has a core policy imperative that is almost automatic: When a potential European hegemon arises, the United States will act early, as in the Cold War, in building alliances and deploying sufficient force in primarily defensive positions

This is happening now against Russia. Though we forecast the decline of Russia, Russia poses danger in the short term, particularly with its back against the wall economically. Moreover, whatever we
forecast, the United States cannot be certain that Russia will decline and indeed, if it launches a successful expansionary policy (politically,economically or militarily), it may not decline.Therefore, the United States will take measures according to its imperative. It will try to build an alliance system outside of NATO, from the Baltics to Bulgaria, encompassing as many nations as possible. It will try to involve Turkey in the alliance and have it reach to Azerbaijan. It will deploy forces, proportional to the threat, in those countries.

This will be the primary focus in the early part of the decade. In the second part, Washington will focus on trying to assure that Russia’s decline does not result in nuclear disaster. The United States will not become involved in trying to solve Europe’s problems, it will not have a war with China, and its involvement in the Middle East will be minimal. It will conduct global counterterrorism operations but will do so with the full knowledge that those operations will be only partially effective at best.


It's apparent that Friedman thinks that within certain American circles "shock therapy" was never enough, and that inevitably a German-Russian consensus would be reached and that in order for American hegemony to be assured, this has to be eliminated with a finality that involves the dissolution of the Russian federation in its current form. Like before, the unsaid statement is to what degree the United States will go to tie Russia down in a "string of Afghanistans/Vietnams" and the relevance of Central Asia to all of this.

Finally, there is one relevant point they about America made.

The Americans will have an emerging problem. The United States has 50-year cycles that end with significant economic or social problems. One cycle began in 1932 with the election of Franklin Roosevelt and ended with the presidency of Jimmy Carter. It began with a need to rebuild demand for products from idle factories and ended in vast overconsumption, underinvestment and with double-digit inflation and unemployment. Ronald Reagan’s presidency laid the groundwork for restructuring American industry through a change in the tax code and by shifting the focus from the urban industrial
worker to the suburban professional and entrepreneur. We are now about 15 years from the end of this cycle, and the next crisis will make itself felt in the second half of the next decade. It is already
visible. It is the crisis of themiddle class. The problem is not inequality; the problem is the ability of the middle class to live a middle class life. Currently, the median household income in the United States is about $50,000. Depending on the state you live in, this is actually about $40,000. That allows the literal middle to buy a modest home and live frugally outside major metropolitan areas. For the lower middle class,the 25th percentile, this is almost impossible.There are two causes. One is the rise of the single-parent household. Having two households is twice as expensive. The other problem is that the same incentives that led to the badly needed re-engineering of the American corporation and vastly improved productivity also limited job security and income for the middle class. This is not a political crisis yet. It will become one toward the end of the next decade, but it will not be addressed until the elections of 2028 and 2032. It is a normal, cyclical crisis, but painfulnonetheless.


Thoughts?
#14530524
Sounds someone is ringing Russia's death kneel a bit soon. How often do ethnically homogeneous states fracture, really?

As for the Moscow Times op-end:

Moscow Times wrote:Of course, it was Moscow, and not the separatists, that decided to continue the war. It is anyone's guess as to why Putin took such a dismissive attitude toward his own long hours of diplomatic work.
So rather than the logical conclusion - that the rebels have field autonomy and are capable of presenting Putin with a fait accompli should they accomplish massive military gains - they just assume that Putin is completely off his rocker?
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ThereBeDragons wrote:Sounds someone is ringing Russia's death kneel a bit soon. How often do ethnically homogeneous states fracture, really?


Glad you raised that point, while taken as a whole the Russian state is relatively homogenous ethnically, the massive landmass and location of urban centres means that the majority of ethnic Russians are distributed West of the Urals. On paper while there exists a Russian majority, the demographic trends point to the erosion of this majority in specific areas.

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2010 data that provides the regional breakdown for the percentage of people in an province that identify as ethnically Russian

Now, pay attention to specific regions that have lower concentrations of ethnically Russian peoples

Here we have population growth figures per provinces

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And finally death figures

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There is definitely a correlation with "healthier" demographic statistics in regions that have a smaller % of the population identifying as ethnic Russians. Problematic regions from a glance look to be the Far East, the Caucasus, and surprisingly , Khantia-Mansia, Yakutia, Yamalia, Nentisia - Uralic and Siberian regions. Also added to that are the Tuvan areas which geographically border Central Asia.

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The demographic feature of the "Russian cross" is exclusively a problem for Slavic peoples. As an effort to combat it, there is a significant pressure on Moscow to import migrant workers from central asian republics into the Muscovy heartland, ignoring entirely the ethnically Chinese presence in the far East for the time being. This is a short term solution that has problematic long-term issues for the ethnic homogeneity of the Russian federation, in addition to not tackling the root cause of the "Russian cross"

Russia today obviously is not in mortal danger - she has sufficient foreign reserves and a surplus built up through the good years to sustain herself for a few more - the problem will arise when the surplus is exhausted and she is faced with the prospect of "more Ukraines" or a resumption of military activity. Assuming at that stage she is locked out of international financial markets there she will inevitably have to make the hard decisions of who gets financial assistance. As it stands, Russia is already suffering from its economic isolation to the point where it is cutting aid for its "near abroad".

Fifty-eight-year-old Veronica Zinici, a pensioner from the separatist territory of Transdnestr, recently traveled to the Moldovan capital Chișinau to seek medical treatment. She also brought with her a tale of hardship.

Zinici told EurasiaNet.org that she stopped receiving Russian-supplied monthly pension-supplements of 200 rubles ($3.16) last summer. With lower pensions and "considerably higher" prices for food, utilities and medicine, life in the breakaway, pro-Russian territory is becoming increasingly hard. "Luckily, we're living in a village and we have vegetables, [and] fruits [planted] around the house and we can survive with that," she said.

Zinici's story is far from an exception for Transdnestr these days. The region is home to a few hundred thousand residents, most of them ethnic Russians and Ukrainians. It secured de-facto independence from Moldova in 1992, when local separatists, backed by Russian military units, beat back the Moldovan army. Since then, the territory's survival has depended on the presence of Russian peacekeeping troops and on Kremlin subsidies.

Now, as Russia wrestles with its own economic woes, the Russian government's ability to underwrite Transdnestr — along with other client entities, such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia — is coming under increasing pressure. Russian budgetary cuts already have been announced.

Many believe that Russia has no choice but to decrease its payouts to the breakaways. In late January, the pro-Kremlin Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that Moscow refused to extend Transdnestr $100 million in assistance. It cited an anonymous source in Transdnestr's de-facto legislative body, the Supreme Soviet.

The Russian government has not confirmed the report. Some Moldovan experts, meanwhile, deem it credible. Moscow traditionally has provided more than 70 percent of Transdnestr's budget, according to estimates.

"Judging by the difficult economic situation and the continuous deterioration of [conditions in] the Transdnestrian region, especially after the crisis from Ukraine and the collapse of the Russian ruble, the information seems plausible," commented Ion Tornea, an economic analyst at Chisinau's Institute for Development and Social Initiatives, an independent think-tank.

"The Russian Federation is in a multilateral crisis and it can't allow money to be flung around left and right," said Oazu Nantoi, director of the Institute for Public Policy in Chisinau.

A senior Transdnestrian politician maintains that Moscow still is committed to helping the region — just not to the extent that it once did. These days, gas is no longer supplied for free and pensioners cannot travel for free on public transportation, noted Dmitry Soin, a member of the region's de-facto Supreme Soviet. Public-sector salaries were slashed by up to 20 percent last summer, and pension-supplements stopped
.

Soin warned that the loss of Russian aid on top of these cutbacks could "lead the unrecognized republic to an economic disaster." Tiraspol already faces a $404 million (4.48 million Transdnestrian rubles) budget deficit, based on its draft budget for 2015.

Transdnestrian leaders are leaving no stone unturned in the search for new revenue streams. As of March, separatist officials will require cars registered outside of Transdnestr to possess a "green card" when entering the territory. As a sign of the need for cash, the fee-based cards will apply first to cars from the European Union. In the Transdnestrian capital Tiraspol, reports are circulating that new taxes will be imposed on "those who do not study and do not work in Transdnestrian institutions," according to a family whose son goes to high school in Moldovan-controlled territory. The reports could not be independently confirmed.

In a February 12 interview with the Russian state news agency TASS, Transdnestr's de-facto leader, Yevgeny Shevchuk, acknowledged that "the prognosis for our economy for the first half-year [of 2015] is negative." Industries have suffered losses and, in some cases, stopped production, he added. Local exports to the Russian Federation were 3.5 times lower in January than for the same period in 2014, according to data from the de-facto Transdnestrian government. Trade with Ukraine and Moldova proper is also lagging.

Shevchuk claimed that residents understand that a "re-planning" of Russia's budget is underway. He offered reassurances that "humanitarian projects" would continue, but did not elaborate.

The European Union could be a source of economic relief, some believe; Shevchuk claimed that 30 percent of Transdnestrn exports already go to the EU. Boosting EU trade turnover, however, would seem to require a policy realignment. The EU has lifted duties on goods from the territory, but the deal expires in January 2016. So far, Transdnestr has refused to join the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, signed last year between the EU and Moldova.

"If by the end of the year, Transdnestr has not reoriented toward Europe," thus preserving those duty-exemptions, it "would be a severe blow for textile, metallurgical and other industries from the republic," predicted Soin.

The de-facto government in Tiraspol doesn not hide the fact that it has a problem on its hands. It has announced an open competition to develop a five-year "anti-crisis" plan. The winner will receive a cash award worth $45,000, TASS reported.


If at this very moment Russia is drawing back support for its "near abroad" it is not unrealistic to assume in the future, should economic conditions persist, that this extend logically to territories within the Russian federation that are deemed of lesser importance to Moscow. It is also likely that in times of renewed economic hardship, ethnic Russians will find objectionable Government aid going to non-ethnic Russians.

So rather than the logical conclusion - that the rebels have field autonomy and are capable of presenting Putin with a fait accompli should they accomplish massive military gains - they just assume that Putin is completely off his rocker?


I really find it hard to believe that the rebels have great degrees of autonomy, I still think it is more logical to assume that the Russians are instrumental in providing leadership both in political and military spheres to the LPR and DPR, the thought that these organizations have organic military leadership structures (and political ones) that are not tied to the Russian chain of command in some way is silly.We all know where the logistic aid and heavier combined arms aid (artillery, vehicles, etcetera) comes from to prosecute stuff like Delbatsevo.

Perhaps the article is a bit premature in proclaiming Minsk II dead, but the price for Putin achieving a federalization of Ukraine could be very, very expensive if he cannot control DPR and LPR eagerly rushing to claim 50 or a 100 metres more of worthless dirt.
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This is really wonderful. Seriously, it is absolutely a great thing to see this forecast. From the moment that they started by talking about a Polish leadership bid in the EU, I just knew it meant that these guys really are on the same page as me. And on the Russian Federation, again fantastic. Point by point. I am not alone!

Bridgeburner wrote:Image Kudos to Rei, ahead of everyone else.

#14530589
As it states on the second page of the report, Stratfor continues to view the US as the world's pre-eminent power and from that it holds the American position by default; it's essentially a mouthpiece for American exceptionalism in the twenty-first century. It's no surprise that they would cheer on the destruction of both Germany and Russia and moreover any alliance between those two countries (or any major powers that could band together on the Eurasian continent). Europe, Russia and China are all displayed as decaying powers in that report, I don't think there's much behind that. Analysts in the Anglo-Saxon world also have a habit of making superficial assessments of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which cannot be put down solely to temporary matters like falling oil revenues. Russia has problems, but it always has problems. In the absence of more significant developments, I don't think there's going to be another spectacular Soviet-esque collapse there.

George Friedman repeatedly predicted about five years ago that a 'a great Turkish power' would come about (he also made a number of other basically ridiculous predictions of World War III being between Poland and Turkey; perhaps he's envisioning a modern-day John III Sobieski annihilating and running the Turks out of Europe). The last four years in Syria and Turkey's pathetic failure in the Levant seem to have utterly shattered that vision and rendered it irrelevant, its relations with the rest of the region are overwhelmingly negative (with Egypt especially given the AKP's support for the expunged Muslim Brotherhood; Saudi Arabia and Iran given the competition between all of those powers) and I find it puzzling that Stratfor would continue to say that Turkey will outshine the rest of the region - it's still based upon the line that Turkey is the 'centre of gravity of the Islamic world' given the supposed precedent of the Ottoman Empire and how that is going to be replicated, which doesn't seem to hold water.

With regards to Europe, its best interest is not for Turkey to be the leading power in the Islamic world given its proximity (although it is in the interest of the US as a competitor to Europe to keep Europe weak and divided, Stratfor mentions "Turkey will increase its presence in the Balkans as the only remaining power able to do so" - how well is that prospect going to go down with Southeastern European countries?), but perhaps it's in Europe's best interest to build a strong relationship with Iran and essentially, if Europe cannot dominate West Asia, have Iran dominate West Asia. An article at the Gatestone Institute discussed a book about the "100-year old love affair [between Germany and Iran]". Given Turkey's total lack of influence anywhere and as you mention the buffoonery of Erdoğan, there is no reason to believe that Turkey will outshine Iran as West Asia's most prominent power, because despite its isolation, Iran's influence is increasing in Iraq, it has an alliance with Assad and ties with Hezbollah.

Bridgeburner wrote:Though most of the paragraphs on America are congratulatory (arguably to the point of masturbatory joy)

Yes. The suggestion that the US' "uninterrupted expansion of economy and power", that "will continue unabated", is doubtful. The United States' economic power relative to the rest of the world has been continually decreasing since the end of the Second World War. Stratfor calls the Great Depression a "minor blip", and I'll just have to say in turn that the United States' reign of unfettered unipolarity is instead the minor blip in history. I think that soon, there will be many great regional powers, just as there always has been, and no one overarching hyper-power. Since the demographic challenges of Europe were mentioned in the report, I'll extrapolate that theme to the US and note that consistently high migration rates into the US (its rapidly altering ethnic composition) and intercommunal tensions show no signs of abating. This has the potential to dislodge any traditional values that America may have had, but as always the Americans have their wide-eyed optimism and 'everything is possible' and 'this is a young country with a bright future' attitude about them.

Bridgeburner wrote:the important theme seems to be the challenge of managing Russian decline, rather than any fears about a Chinese rise.

It seems that the Americans don't believe that China is a credible threat. The recurring line of thought in the US is that China is a country only interested in trade, it has no ambition, and so long as the shipping lines are kept open, there will be no trouble whatsoever. Stratfor makes no attempt to analyse the effects of China's nationalism (expressed by its emerging middle classes), either.

The rising power of Poland is an interesting prospect. Yet it doesn't mention countries with a lot of potential like Iran, India, Brazil, or Argentina. The projections that it makes for the next ten years, based on the past five, seem to me to be too wild and too optimistic from an American point of view (and indeed, there's not much hope in predicting what will happen in the next ten years - not very many believed in the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1980!).

It suggests that the insularism of the US is its greatest asset, but doesn't mention that Europe can also insulate itself if it wants to do that and where it does mention it, it's treated as a negative feature that is going to lead to the unwinding of Europe because of Germany's reliance on exports or whatever. This is a double standard, quite plainly. The report expects that the US will not be directly involved in the dismantling of Russia, but the US will be prepared to throw armaments at Europe in exchange for lots of cash - as in the case of Italy, where the government is in the process of splashing out billions on ninety (semi-faulty) F-35 warplanes to presumably defend itself from its aggressive non-NATO neighbours of San Marino and the Vatican, whilst simultaneously gutting public services in the name of economic austerity. At the very least, Europe should be able to produce its own military equipment, and not be reliant on the US.

'Europe Rediscovers Nationalism', January 11, 2015 wrote:At the core of these problems is growing resistance to globalization, understood as the free movement of goods, services and, most important, people. From the Italian shoemaker who cannot compete with cheap Chinese imports to the British factory worker who believes that Polish immigrants are threatening his job, many Europeans believe globalization is a menace to their way of life. The fact that the European Union was built on many of the principles of globalization explains why the bloc is becoming increasingly fragmented and why the promise of a "United States of Europe" probably will never be achieved.

Yes - and Europe clearly cannot try to set the example for the rest of the world by leading the way in the process of globalisation if it wants to continue to exist and preserve itself. 'Europe as a market' was never going to work by itself - as we have seen, economic unification doesn't lead to political unification. Massive violence against an external enemy will probably be the only way to politically unify Europe.
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Noob wrote:As it states on the second page of the report, Stratfor continues to view the US as the world's pre-eminent power and from that it holds the American position by default; it's essentially a mouthpiece for American exceptionalism in the twenty-first century. It's no surprise that they would cheer on the destruction of both Germany and Russia and moreover any alliance between those two countries (or any major powers that could band together on the Eurasian continent).


I liked how it is described as an automatic response, because it really is. America didn't rise to hegemon status on the basis of sheer luck (though the Pacific + Atlantic really helped), and it has essentially reached a cross-party consensus on foreign policy with regards to maintaining this status. The isolationist "Ron Paul" wing of the country has ceased being relevant since about the point where Woodrow Wilson was re-elected.

Europe, Russia and China are all displayed as decaying powers in that report, I don't think there's much behind that.


I agree with you on China, and Europe - to a degree. France and Germany are negatively impacted by the Russian trade war, as is Eastern Europe, but the latters anti-Russian geopolitical imperatives trump any short-term economic problems. As others have mentioned, whilst Russian sanctions are harmful in the short-term, in the longer term it results on less dependence and promotes diversification. After all, you can only pull the energy hostage card once.

Other developing economies (and middle classes) will soon rise to the task of spurring on the growth of European manufacturing and provide a market for their goods.(South America, South East Asia, India etc) However, as we have seen with Germany and the EU, economic power is quite hard to translate into independent political power - we see for example in the matter of sanctions the EU acting against its collective self-interest because the main European defense organization(NATO) is fundamentally non-European, and its goals run roughshod over EU financial interests at every turn.

For that reason, whilst Germany will continue to remain an economic power, flexing its political muscles over the continent will be much harder because it runs into resistance against American strategic imperatives, and also because of historical circumstances (and contemporary jealousy) the prospect of a political/military European alliance being lead by Germany is a hard pill for a lot of other parties to swallow. It's why we see Merkel in this undoubtedly frustrating position where extra-national (Eastern)European security concerns trump her German economic ones.

I find it far more likely that Poland will come to the fore as a proactive leader. Not only, does its geographic, political and historical position necessitate co-operation with smaller Eastern-European states, but the fact that it will never grow to challenge American interests is important. With regards to Ukraine, Polands action in assisting the UA has already cemented itself as a far more proactive leader in the eyes of Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and most importantly, NATO. Within the teetering EU bureaucracy shot through with Euroskepticism, Poland has the opportunity to recreate its intermarium on relevant bilateral/multilateral terms independent of the EU - or part of a far less centralized one.

All indicators do point, however, to Russia being in a state of terminal decline (which I may add, will not be fixed unless addressed by a revolutionary-nationalist Russian state, as "liberalization" of Russia is simply another by-word for breaking it into a subservient client-state), demographically and economically It's economic status as a gigantic resource mine will not change until there are serious changes within the Russian economy, changes that would require the Russian state to manage the task of existence to see the fruit of them. This does not necessarily mean Russia will collapse on its own - it just means that it is in an extremely vulnerable position (which contextualizes Putins aggression as not negotiating from a position of strength - but one of weakness) that will have to face hard choices when it is inevitably "attacked"* on all sides.

*not conventional, but ironically, an extension of hybrid war that takes place within capital markets, OPEC boardrooms, American NGOs and Islamist madrassas.

Analysts in the Anglo-Saxon world also have a habit of making superficial assessments of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which cannot be put down solely to temporary matters like falling oil revenues


I really find Yegor Gaidars(who is decidely not Anglo-Saxon) oil+grain theory compelling enough to regard it as the best explanation of the collapse of the USSR. It remains extremely relevant to a post-Soviet Russian economy that still has not fundamentally transitioned from role of raw materials/energy exporter, because, as in 1989, the Russian federation is STILL vulnerable to the same market forces that tore down the USSR.. Russia may not be spending money on grain anymore, but it still requires hard currency to reinforce its geopolitical imperatives in its own "near abroad", in the Artic Ocean and to service its eventual inverted demographic pyramid.

It's honestly disturbing as to how accurate it is.

There were several factors which pushed me to write this book. The first was the rise in oil prices, which in real terms have started to approach the level of the late Brezhnev period

....

Imperial ambitions based on such unstable resources were not exclusive to the Soviet Union. The “resource curse” was well-analyzed by the School of Salamanca in the experience of Spain of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The influence of the inflows of gold and the silver from America to Spain are comparable to the impact of oil and gas revenues to the Soviet Union (see figure 5). The Spanish empire, without losing a single battle on the ground for fifty years, managed to lose all of its possessions in Europe outside of the Pyrenees, including Portugal, and came very close to losing Aragon and Catalonia as well. In 1989, also without losing on the battlefield for fifty years, the Soviet Union lost control over Eastern Europe.


Most importantly

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soviet leadership, however, was not intellectually prepared to heed lessons from the School of Salamanca. The shortest quotation about the intellectual capacity of the Soviet leadership came from the Politburo minutes: “Mr. Zasiadko has stopped binge drinking. Resolution: nominate Mr. Zasiadko as a minister to Ukraine.” While intellectual capacity was not the strongest quality of the Soviet leadership, they still understood the need to manipulate the oil market. Excerpts from Politburo materials indicate that the head of the Committee for State Security (KGB), Yury Andropov, facilitated contacts between the KGB and the Arab terrorists, who sought assistance for terrorist attacks on oil fields in order to keep energy prices high.[5] The general resolution was that the Soviet Union should support the Arab terrorists in this battle.[6] Yet one of the Soviet leadership’s biggest blunders was to spend a significant amount of additional oil revenues to start the war in Afghanistan. The war radically changed the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. In 1974, Saudi Arabia decided to impose an embargo on oil supplies to the United States. But in 1979 the Saudis became interested in American protection because they understood that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a first step toward–or at least an attempt to gain–control over the Middle Eastern oil fields. The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to September 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices, and Saudi Arabia quickly regained its share in the world market. During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold*, while oil prices collapsed by approximately the same amount in real terms. As a result, the Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive. The Soviet leadership was confronted with a difficult decision on how to adjust. There were three options–or a combination of three options–available to the Soviet leadership. First, dissolve the Eastern European empire and effectively stop barter trade in oil and gas with the Socialist bloc countries, and start charging hard currency for the hydrocarbons. This choice, however, involved convincing the Soviet leadership in 1985 to negate completely the results of World War II. In reality, the leader who proposed this idea at the CPSU Central Committee meeting at that time risked losing his position as general secretary. Second, drastically reduce Soviet food imports by $20 billion, the amount the Soviet Union lost when oil prices collapsed. But in practical terms, this option meant the introduction of food rationing at rates similar to those used during World War II. The Soviet leadership understood the consequences: the Soviet system would not survive for even one month. This idea was never seriously discussed. Third, implement radical cuts in the military-industrial complex. With this option, however, the Soviet leadership risked serious conflict with regional and industrial elites, since a large number of Soviet cities depended solely on the military-industrial complex. This choice was also never seriously considered. Unable to realize any of the above solutions, the Soviet leadership decided to adopt a policy of effectively disregarding the problem in hopes that it would somehow wither away. Instead of implementing actual reforms, the Soviet Union started to borrow money from abroad while its international credit rating was still strong. It borrowed heavily from 1985 to 1988, but in 1989 the Soviet economy stalled completely. The Search for Loans The money was suddenly gone. The Soviet Union tried to create a consortium of 300 banks to provide a large loan for the Soviet Union in 1989, but was informed that only five of them would participate and, as a result, the loan would be twenty times smaller than needed. The Soviet Union then received a final warning from the Deutsche Bank and from its international partners that the funds would never come from commercial sources. Instead, if the Soviet Union urgently needed the money, it would have to start negotiations directly with Western governments about so-called politically motivated credits. In 1985 the idea that the Soviet Union would begin bargaining for money in exchange for political concessions would have sounded absolutely preposterous to the Soviet leadership. In 1989 it became a reality


*Image

Honestly, that article has been instrumental in me understanding why the United States made the deal with the devil(Saudi Arabia) not just once, but even through 9/11 and to the point of Iraq and Syria. It's no mere coincidence that oil prices have fallen this drastically when Russian aggression has increased. The ability for the Saudis to leverage their oil production against anyone deemed to be against American interests is extremely disturbing. And America, having transcending into the role of a the largest energy producer, is immune to the total chaos that can be wreaked from the Saudi position. In this regard, tacitly supporting and assisting Saudi(and Israeli) regional interests yields the United States a very, very big stick on a global scale.

Lets take a look

Image Donbass war began in Mar-April.


And for historical reference, this crude theory from Slate

Image



George Friedman repeatedly predicted about five years ago that a 'a great Turkish power' would come about (he also made a number of other basically ridiculous predictions of World War III being between Poland and Turkey; perhaps he's envisioning a modern-day John III Sobieski annihilating and running the Turks out of Europe).


Perhaps not Turks but Western European Muslims !


The last four years in Syria and Turkey's pathetic failure in the Levant seem to have utterly shattered that vision and rendered it irrelevant, its relations with the rest of the region are overwhelmingly negative (with Egypt especially given the AKP's support for the expunged Muslim Brotherhood; Saudi Arabia and Iran given the competition between all of those powers) and I find it puzzling that Stratfor would continue to say that Turkey will outshine the rest of the region - it's still based upon the line that Turkey is the 'centre of gravity of the Islamic world' given the supposed precedent of the Ottoman Empire and how that is going to be replicated, which doesn't seem to hold water.


Agreed here completely with the stance on the AKP. Rather than any positive developments it appears Erdogans Turkey wants to slide into reactionary, retrograde muck.

With regards to Europe, its best interest is not for Turkey to be the leading power in the Islamic world given its proximity (although it is in the interest of the US as a competitor to Europe to keep Europe weak and divided, Stratfor mentions "Turkey will increase its presence in the Balkans as the only remaining power able to do so" - how well is that prospect going to go down with Southeastern European countries?),


If that promotes unity amongst the squabbling Balkan republics due to external threats it can only be a positive development for the region.

but perhaps it's in Europe's best interest to build a strong relationship with Iran and essentially, if Europe cannot dominate West Asia, have Iran dominate West Asia. An article at the Gatestone Institute discussed a book about the "100-year old love affair [between Germany and Iran]". Given Turkey's total lack of influence anywhere and as you mention the buffoonery of Erdoğan, there is no reason to believe that Turkey will outshine Iran as West Asia's most prominent power, because despite its isolation, Iran's influence is increasing in Iraq, it has an alliance with Assad and ties with Hezbollah.


Great article. It really shows how Germany by circumstance and history simply cannot exist in its current form as a "leader but not-leader". It's interests and desires run completely contrary to American ones., and German ones, at their heart, are fundamentally for European regional and cultural independence, despite the current regimes subservient attitude towards America, this shines through.

Yes. The suggestion that the US' "uninterrupted expansion of economy and power", that "will continue unabated", is doubtful. The United States' economic power relative to the rest of the world has been continually decreasing since the end of the Second World War. Stratfor calls the Great Depression a "minor blip", and I'll just have to say in turn that the United States' reign of unfettered unipolarity is instead the minor blip in history.


I really don't disagree with Stratfor, believe me, I don't welcome what they say and find nothing redeeming about a peaceful, unipolar world, but at the end of the day in a global economy reliant on petrochemicals and now, free and secure international trade, America has positioned herself so that not only does she hold the lions share of financial,cultural and intellectual capital, but what portions of the global economy she does not politically control she can influence to her desire should she want. The manipulation of the oil market is simply another way of waging war.

Sure, American economic power solely may be decreasing, but consider for the second the disturbing lack of political independence shown from American "client-states".

I think that soon, there will be many great regional powers, just as there always has been, and no one overarching hyper-power.


Consider this, a system of regional powers is always subject to meddling and interference from the United States betwixt the Pacific/Atlantic. By her very geographic location, America is a "hyper-Britain", and whilst regional powers can influence their region, they cannot extend influence as of now into American core interests. The only one that managed that was the Soviet Union, and for a brief moment, Imperial Japan. The emergence of regional powers simply means they have to find a way of making sure they don't step out of line with the American vision, or risk being reduced to a Russia.

Since the demographic challenges of Europe were mentioned in the report, I'll extrapolate that theme to the US and note that consistently high migration rates into the US (its rapidly altering ethnic composition) and intercommunal tensions show no signs of abating. This has the potential to dislodge any traditional values that America may have had, but as always the Americans have their wide-eyed optimism and 'everything is possible' and 'this is a young country with a bright future' attitude about them.


Do you expect anything less from liberals who deny the relevance of ethnicity and race? The fact they seek to scientifically expunge this doesn't change on the ground realities. For what its worth though, I think Mexican and Latin-American integration will work with the United States due to Christian and Catholic values that may reinforce its "mission of liberalism".

It seems that the Americans don't believe that China is a credible threat. The recurring line of thought in the US is that China is a country only interested in trade, it has no ambition, and so long as the shipping lines are kept open, there will be no trouble whatsoever. Stratfor makes no attempt to analyse the effects of China's nationalism (expressed by its emerging middle classes), either.


I think, at least until every Asian person is living at a comparable level to a Western European or American, there should be no shortsighted stupidity by China or any other Asian power regarding upsetting the current order of American hyperpolarity. It is only when Americans deny the fundamental right of Asian peoples to match the American level of living should policy reorient violently out to the "American island".

In this regard I finally get what Reis position to Russia is - an Asian power, either China or Japan, needs to secure the energy-rich Siberian Far East and Artic-access to ensure energy security from American meddling 30 to 50 years down the line. Either that or technological development rendering petrochemicals obsolete. This, in conjunction with the "overland" non-maritime Silk Road project connecting Europe to East Asia also means economic partnership that cuts the Ocean and the American carrier battle groups out of the picture, rendering a major part of American gunboat diplomacy with regards to trade impotent.

At great harm to herself, America can effectively choke off the Chinese economy by strangling its access to energy at any point in the South China Sea or Indian Ocean. In this context the "scramble for Russia" is important to America too should East Asian economies ever gain energy independence. When, as stratfor hints at, manufacturing diversifies out of China into other poorer nations,there will be an influx of American capital into their countries too. Today,yes, the Chinese and American economies are complimentary and need each other, but the trend is not always going to hold and they will undoubtedly end up competing over the Global South at some point, assuming China doesn't take an autarkic policy of being reliant solely on internal growth.

The hope eventually being that we see Chinese, Indian or Japanese carrier battle groups parading down the American West Coast, rather than having to deal with the distaste of American warships treating the Pacific and South East Asian seas as their personal bath-tubs. But only a fool would want to engage America from a position of weakness, or even parity. The odds are stacked in her favor for now.

The rising power of Poland is an interesting prospect. Yet it doesn't mention countries with a lot of potential like Iran, India, Brazil, or Argentina.


I'll admit to ignorance on Iran, Brazil and Argentina but for the time being, Indian relevance outside of South Asian geopolitics is minimal, both as part of Indian policy of deliberate non-entanglement and in ability. It has to focus on "setting its internals" in order, and the hope is that Modi will be the Deng Xiaoping of India. Unlike the long-term CPC plans or the bipartisan Democrat/Republican consensus on important policy, Indian politics is very myopic and short-sighted with regards to national planning. Until the fundamental situation on the ground changes in India, and it will take time, its regional aspirations need to take a back-seat outside of letting the Americans do the hard yards.

The projections that it makes for the next ten years, based on the past five, seem to me to be too wild and too optimistic from an American point of view (and indeed, there's not much hope in predicting what will happen in the next ten years - not very many believed in the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1980!).


This is true, nevertheless I find them interesting. I find the stuff said about Turkey to be ludicrous and the stuff said about China to undervalue the importance of the CPCs ability to deal with structural issues.

It suggests that the insularism of the US is its greatest asset, but doesn't mention that Europe can also insulate itself if it wants to do that and where it does mention it, it's treated as a negative feature that is going to lead to the unwinding of Europe because of Germany's reliance on exports or whatever. This is a double standard, quite plainly.


Well it is a double standard really, because America can afford to fiddle with oil markets and remain secure, and it also can afford to fiddle with "hotspots" like Ukraine and not have to deal with any of the political and economic fallout. As contrasted with the nations on the Eurasian landmass, America is quite exceptional due to geographic realities (rather than they have us believe, political, social or cultural ones)

The report expects that the US will not be directly involved in the dismantling of Russia, but the US will be prepared to throw armaments at Europe in exchange for lots of cash - as in the case of Italy, where the government is in the process of splashing out billions on ninety (semi-faulty) F-35 warplanes to presumably defend itself from its aggressive non-NATO neighbours of San Marino and the Vatican, whilst simultaneously gutting public services in the name of economic austerity. At the very least, Europe should be able to produce its own military equipment, and not be reliant on the US.


To be fair, I think the US is going to be directly involved in the same way Russian "green men" were involved or the Afghan mujahideen were involved. As for the bolded, yes, it is completely detestable and signifies really how often European nations act against their own interests. With that said, 5th gen fighters are a complete clusterfuck, if you think the F-35-2 is bad look at the PAK FA.

Yes - and Europe clearly cannot try to set the example for the rest of the world by leading the way in the process of globalisation if it wants to continue to exist and preserve itself. 'Europe as a market' was never going to work by itself - as we have seen, economic unification doesn't lead to political unification. Massive violence against an external enemy will probably be the only way to politically unify Europe.


The enemy does not necessarily have to be external, and neither do I think will it be. Ethnic demographic trends within Europe, unlike America, I believe will polarize and be catalysts for wider change. There really exists a potential for a co-operative European association based not values of commerce or trade but spiritual ones, but the path to that is, as you state, one that will have to be painful before Europeans can even consider throwing the shackles of American liberalism off their necks.
#14530637
I disagree with the idea about the disintegration of Russia. The only reason the USSR collapsed was because the CPSU in the 1980s was completely disoriented and had people like Gorbachev offering democratic reforms without any careful planning. Likewise liberals such as Yeltsin took advantage of the whole situation.

Today the leadership in the Kremlin are well aware of the potential for the Russian Federation to collapse and they do not want a repeat of 1991. That would spell absolute disaster for Russia and would herald in the end of Russia reducing it to a small state in the east of Europe. They are not just going to let that happen. Remember the Soviet leadership during the 1980s allowed a lot of what happened to happen. They did very little to try and stop any of it. There are no immediate signs that any regions of Russia are going to get independence. The North Caucasus had the pontential to separate in the 1990s but since around 2007 things have gradually calmed down. I do not see them gaining independence. In other regions separatist sentiment is negligible.

Energy will not be a cause of Russia splitting up. That will simply not be a great enough cause for such an event. If anything I can only see Russia's borders expanding over the next decade.

I am actually quite surprised they can make this prediction with such confidence.
#14530898
Political Interest wrote:I disagree with the idea about the disintegration of Russia. The only reason the USSR collapsed was because the CPSU in the 1980s was completely disoriented and had people like Gorbachev offering democratic reforms without any careful planning. Likewise liberals such as Yeltsin took advantage of the whole situation.

Today the leadership in the Kremlin are well aware of the potential for the Russian Federation to collapse and they do not want a repeat of 1991. That would spell absolute disaster for Russia and would herald in the end of Russia reducing it to a small state in the east of Europe. They are not just going to let that happen. Remember the Soviet leadership during the 1980s allowed a lot of what happened to happen. They did very little to try and stop any of it. There are no immediate signs that any regions of Russia are going to get independence. The North Caucasus had the pontential to separate in the 1990s but since around 2007 things have gradually calmed down. I do not see them gaining independence. In other regions separatist sentiment is negligible.

Energy will not be a cause of Russia splitting up. That will simply not be a great enough cause for such an event. If anything I can only see Russia's borders expanding over the next decade.

I am actually quite surprised they can make this prediction with such confidence.


It is a case of wishful thinking; more of a roadmap to what the 'George Friedmans' want and strive to produce, than actual facts. Without even a judgement on Putin and his policies, Gorbachev and Yeltsin were political adventurers to the edge of being treasonous to the future of Russia and the Russian people. I hope that the worst for Russia is over, however I think that there is more to come.
#14531612
stratfor wrote:We have entered a period in which the decline of the nation-states created by Europe in North Africa and the Middle East is accelerating. Power is no longer held by the state in many countries, having devolved to armed factions that can neither defeat others nor be defeated. This has initiated a period of intense internal fighting. The United States is prepared to mitigate the situation with air power and limited forces on the ground but will not be able or willing to impose a settlement. Turkey, whose southern border is made vulnerable by this fighting, will be slowly drawn into the fighting. By the end of this decade, Turkey will emerge as the major regional power,and Turkish-Iranian competition will increase as a result

This is pathetic. The middle east is completely up for grabs now but the great imperium of our time doesn't have the balls to get stuck in and enlarge its domain. It is up to the amateurs now to carve off chunks for themselves. In two words "Crusader States". Up till now I had been thinking of mustering a force to take over the Western Sahara which is a easy claim for being mostly worthless sand, empty of people and not convincingly claimed by anyone. Thanks to ISIS I am starting to look at least to the ashes of Syria for carving out a new state. It will take some blood and guts but all the better experience for that. Who is with me?!
#14532936
Without the FSB inspiring genuine terror

I'm learning something new about my country.

FSB and OMOH

and Cossacks! How could you forget the Cossacks? facepalm.jpg

To Russia’s west, Poland, Hungary and Romania will seek to recover regions lost to the Russians at various points. They will work to bring Belarus and Ukraine into this fold.
I have two news for you: one is bad and one is good.
Bad news are about belorussians: a)they prefer to speak about money, not ideology; b)they do read agreements before signing them.
Magical words like "democracy" "freedom" "europe" won't work, because these totalitarian belarussians will read the agreement first and will ask about money next. They will ask: guys, we need quotas and preferences for our goods, no-no-no, these are too small. You know, we do love democracy, so we need such a big quota for food exports. And we love freedom and have a big plant that produces tractors. Of course you want to buy all our tractors because we do love freedom and you are our friends. Don't be shy, our dear friends, prepare your wallets

The good news are about Ukraine. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stupid totalitarian eastern ukrainians, who are just like belarussians. These idiots love to work on factories and don't understand why they will benefit from being jobless and free. But, there are almost 20 millions or natural democrats in central and western ukraine, and they are ready to join EU! These wonderful people are already standing on EU border and tell you: we are ready for welfare. Prepare your wallets, friends.

I doubt the eastern ukrainians will miss them, because they were explained for 20 years why they are drunk, lazy, stupid untermensh who speak a wrong language.

Btw, lady and gentlemen, have you read the ukrainian euroassociation agreement? Please explain me which part of the argeement is the biggest one.

In the south, the Russians’ ability to continue controlling the North Caucasus will evaporate, and...
and what? Most russians want to remove the North Caucasus from Russia. It would be awesome if this region will join EU too.

In the northwest, the Karelian region will seek to rejoin Finland.
Karelia is not going to secede from Russia. Why should we(I live in Karelia)? Finns will have a giant hole in their eastern border and a giant hole in their budget(you know, we are friends and do love democracy. prepare your wallets).

In the Far East, the Maritime regions more closely linked to China,Japan and the United States than to Moscow will move independently.
Frankly speaking, there are some regions with relatively strong separatist movements, but they are not located in the Far East.

Let's take Tuva republic for example. It's like Ukraine, but it is Tuva. In 1990s, Tuva nationalists forced many russians to leave Tuva. Now they are free, but have no doctors and no teachers. Instead, they have illiteracy, default(Tuva republic is bankrupt) and epidemy of tuberculosis and syphilis. But there are good news about Tuva: Tuva ethnical leaders possess very powerful spiritual powers. President Mergen Oorjak is seeking spiritual contact with universe. His press-secretary Rita Sambu claimed she is "ситха"(sith in english), she can fly and can see human aura(darth wader cannot fly, loser). Also, they have a real holy Lama from Tibet: Lopsan Tubten. Lama "lives with two or three 'clean' boys". I think lama eurointegrates these boys.

Tuvans want to be independent, but there is a small problem... You know what I'm talking about

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