North Korea and Russia dominated foreign policy headlines in 2017, and a Texas-based geopolitical intelligence firm is indicating international decision makers should continue to keep an eye on those countries in the new year.
That’s part of a handful of predictions that Austin-based Stratfor is making in its Forecast for Geopolitical Risks for 2018.
“Obviously North Korea is going to be front and center in 2018,” she says, “and really that’s a function of the timeline which is rapidly shortening for the United States in particular when it comes to the decision on whether or not to launch a preventative strike against North Korea to try to decapitate its nuclear program.”
Goujon says the most pressing issue with North Korea is time.
“That window is rapidly closing,” she says, “and we’re just not seeing enough time for that political decision, when you see such immense ramifications that need to be considered, which include plunging the globe back into global recession.”
That’s why Goujon says it’s more likely that, in the year ahead, the U.S. will have to resign itself to the instability of a nuclear North Korea with a viable nuclear deterrent.
That’s not the only foreboding prediction for next year, though.
“You’re already seeing this trend where Russia and China are collaborating a lot more these days than they are competing,” Goujon says. “And that does pose an emerging strategic threat to the United States. And even as a function of the North Korean crisis, you can see the chain of events there. Because as the U.S. has to shift to a policy of containment, it obviously has to build up its ballistic missile defenses in the area. That in turn undermines the nuclear shields of China and Russia. Meanwhile, you have these 20th century arms pacts degrading between the U.S. and Russia. And so, all in all, you have this very unstable paradigm in play. And China and Russia are working together in a whole host of spheres.”
Written by Jen Rice.