Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


What New Threats and Conflicts Will Emerge in 2014?

by Micah Zenko
October 16, 2013

Child with Mortar Shell in Aleppo Issa, 10 years old, carries a mortar shell in a weapons factory of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Syria on September 7, 2013 (Khatib/Courtesy Reuters).


In August 2009, President Obama declared in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars: “One of the best ways to lead our troops wisely is to prevent the conflicts that cost American blood and treasure tomorrow.” As I previously noted, the U.S. military has a terrible record of predicting the locations and types of conflicts that it will face. For the past five years, in an effort to assist policymakers in anticipating and planning for thirty contingencies that threaten U.S. national interests, we at the Center for Preventive Action have conducted a Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS). Each year the PPS evaluates ongoing and potential violent conflicts based on the impact they could have on U.S. interests and their likelihood of occurring in the coming year.

Starting last year, we harnessed social media to help identify the thirty contingencies through crowdsourcing suggestions. What threats and conflicts are you worried will erupt or escalate in 2014? Please write your suggestions in the comments section below. Keep them short and to the point, but feel free to explain why the contingency is important. Compelling suggestions will be included in this year’s survey, which will be published in December. Last year, for example, an individual suggested “widespread unrest in Zimbabwe surrounding the electoral process and/or the death of Robert Mugabe,” which was included in the PPS.

Post a Comment 52 Comments

  • Posted by Aziz Ur Rehman Niazi

    Afghanistan and Pakistan situation will be worst

    at the end of mission of foreign forces their will be no substitute force and result will be chaos and anarchy


    after american forces pakistan will try hard to influence mighty groups to compete with india result will be worst situation in pakafghan

  • Posted by Eytan Sosnovich

    Iraq. Sunni militancy in Syria is already spilling over, and Iraq has served as an entry point for jihadists to engage in the Syria conflict, both for Shi’ites and Sunnis alike. The US decision not to intervene in Syria ensures that the conflict will continue making the Iraq entry point valuable for all parties involved. Factor in US interests in propping up the post war government, and the Kurdish issue and you have a tinderbox for conflict in 2014.

  • Posted by Arthur Sauerbraun

    Id say there are several. Ukraine/Russia depending on is Ukraine is accepted into EU. Russia/Georgia may once again happen depending on Georgia’s NATO entrance. Russia/US/Canada over Arctic natural gas reserves

    I believe Turkey may have an issue as they are being surrounded by hostile regimes and are put in a tough position as militant groups spill over the bordors.

    Now that US has agreed to help Japan in the China/Japan Senakaku Islands dispute the conflict may escalate past simple claims into military skirmishes.

  • Posted by carbonman

    In 2014 lot of tension will build in the Indian Ocean, mainly between India & China. Indian Naval expansion of 2 more fleets & the attempt to control Maldives thru soft power would add a new dimension to the already fragile Indo-Chinese relations.

  • Posted by brian

    I think sudan – south sudan confli ct will escalate in 2014 because the major power not seems to care about this case yet. As always, oil conflict can be serious problem

  • Posted by M. Wagner

    Probable US debt downgrade in early 2014 will prompt China to push for an international reserve currency, instead of merely speaking about it in their state media. If Chinese strategists are as smart as we fear they are, the onset of damage to the economy (however slight or strong to the US economy will suffer following downgrade and the market’s perception of serious efforts at replacing the dollar as the international reserve) will be the perfect time for China to flex it’s muscles over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. China may also seek to reassert control over Taiwan if the US backs down from the Senkaku challenge. China will dominate Asia by the end of 2014, and the chances of a conflict opening between the US and China are much higher than they will have been in recent memory, even beyond the downed US spycraft. To thwart, the US must immediately resume the Pivot, and even then, I doubt China’s assertion of control over the Senkakus will be met with force, but more brazen attempts at reasserting control over Taiwan will probably result in “The Big One.”

  • Posted by Beth None

    Type your comment in here…I believe ISIS will continue to force themselves upon MENA. Theyl strive to take choice land + install themselves in moderate communities. It is conceivable that a signif conflict btwn ISIS +Syrian Kurds could arise that will draw n Iraqi Kurdistan. End result will be sovereign statehood for Kurds. Last, minor battles for Antarctic involving China may erupt.

  • Posted by S. Young

    1. Iran non-event: Calmer before the more distant storm. Iranian election, US political infighting, and Putin-Assad synergy buys Iran several pivotal years it needs. Israel is kept busy by real proximate threats in Lebanon, Syria, the Sinai (and possibly Jordan) which have the added benefit of distracting from the degradation of US-Israeli strategic planning. IR VP Jahangiri recently hinted at another player in the game, suggesting less bombs now, more bombs later.

    2. African AQAM/African-linked terrorism moves to the front burner. The ongoing rampage of Boko Haram and the refusal of al Shabaab to realize they have been “defeated” according to Western pundits will continue. Incidents such as the Michael Adebolajo attack and the In Amenas Gas Plant event are only precursors to one or more attacks that will challenge the domestic-international pigeonholing of policymakers and illustrate the continuum of a growing terrorist threat spectrum on a continent all-to-often exploited by East and West alike.

  • Posted by Ali Shah

    Would it not be better if in order to predict & thus prevent future conflicts, we switch from the geographically reductionist to an ideologically driven perspective, while not entirely jettisoning the latter but making use of both, not least as we are willy nilly part of a multi-centric globalized & still further globalizing landscape(s). With such an inclusive lens, the emerging state-based challenge from what Azar Gat has aptly called Authoritarian Capitalists to post-state Islamically driven terrorism seem to qualify as the gravest perils that we in the 21st century have to confront with and find solutions about.

  • Posted by Nini Hala

    India- China
    South China Sea
    US – Iran
    Muslims anywhere

  • Posted by Eric Jackson

    The Nagorno-Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Aliyev regimes continues to grow defense budget and import advanced arms

  • Posted by Tanveer Aslam

    I think most important issue of next decade would be KASHMIR ISSUE. Draw-down of US from Afghanistan and terrorist narrative of jihad in Afghanistan finishing, would automatically allow shifting these terrorists to older narrative of Jihad against India(with or without connivance of Pakistan by Al-Qaeda & Co). Now India has brought it self closer to US while Pakistan has once again been abandoned by US, much for Chinese good. Now China for teaching a lesson to India might tacitly support these newly shifted elements in Kashmir. This would be worst for Pakistan as well because of no support from US it will be at the mercy of so called Islamic terrorists. India would be a loser as well due to its Pakistan-centric approach it would focus to destabilize Pakistan which in effect would allow China to dominate region. Only antidote to this nightmare would be settlement of KASHMIR ISSUE ON PRIORITY AND TO SATISFACTION OF KASHMIRI PEOPLE so as to serve platform for better relation between these to allies of US as has been advocated by seasoned academia of both India and Pakistan. A lot of books are coming up on the balancing of relations between India and Pakistan and settlement of Kashmir issue but unfortunately India is absorbed in its domestic elections etc which is wasting lot of time.

  • Posted by Hunter Kramer

    1. Unrest in Yemen and Sudan will degenerate into full blown chaos. See demographics.
    2. The West Bank will see renewed conflict as the E1 plan displaces people and Abbas and the PA lose control over as they have already lost sway over the refugee camps.
    3. Neglect and mismanagement will usher in an escalation of DR Congo and the CAR. Don’t be surprised if Chaf joins the party.

  • Posted by michele

    I think in west Africa, expecially Kenia, the conflict will rise for ethnic and religious cleveages. The islamist groups endourses the fight

  • Posted by Lindsay

    American political dysfunction is going to continue or worsen at least through the midterm elections in November, hampering our ability to act abroad and undermining our moral and political authority. It’s not going to be the cause of any one particular international crisis, but it’s going to be a drag and a distraction for our actions in all areas of foreign policy.

  • Posted by Harry J. Kazianis

    There is one possible conflict that does not get enough attention in the wider press that must be considered: China and Japan’s clash over islands in the East China Sea. Brewing since 2010, such a clash could include the world’s number two and three economies with the potential to draw in the United States. Why this is not front page news more is troubling!

  • Posted by tony

    Central African Republic and Sudan-South Sudan

  • Posted by Adrian

    The growing number of Islamic extremist elements in Africa has the potential to cause many problems both regionally and globally. As with Afghanistan, we may see some groups expand their capabilities within some African states where no central government has extensive geopolitical power. As we have already seen with the attack on the mall in Kenya, these attacks may have the potential to get more severe as time goes on.

  • Posted by ne


  • Posted by Phillip Bolster

    Threat – Chinese weapons development

    DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile

    One missile capable of destroying an aircraft carrier.

    I am not saying China is a comparable military force, they are not even close but this weapon was developed because the US has 10+ carrier groups and more on stand by and China have a floating joke of a carrier which will take years to even train up on and is merely symbolic.

    A proven long range 1 shot 1 kill anti-carrier missile which would force US carriers away is a game changer and they know it.

    There are many parts to the DF-21 chain which need to operate seamlessly for it to be a functioning carrier denial threat and it is not known whether they are at that point yet although it is unlikely. It has been in development for decades.

    Therefore it is a strategic imperative the US invent develop and field an appropriate solution to this problem WITHOUT pushing both countries into a space arms race. Laser technology may provide an avenue here and I’m sure DARPA are on it.

    The DF-21 and associated systems and corollaries (sats and anti sat weapons) is a strategic threat deserved of further analysis I think. Open source data says China have 80-100 units. If they greatly increased this number then one would have to assume their ability to overwhelm any carrier groups in the straights or SCS if it ever came to a shooting war, a far off concept, but still instructive in its war game theory, which this weapon alters significantly, if it is in fact a credible carrier-killer and therefore an effective area denial system.

    China is on a peaceful rise and this weapon system is to be expected given how over-matched they are blue sea-wise but it is still important to meet this development head on if there is to be a true pivot towards Asia and a healthy balance of power.

  • Posted by Oscar Estefanell

    Chinese military expansion and Iranian nuclear program

  • Posted by Phillip Bolster

    Europe v US on NSA big data surveillance.

  • Posted by Dirga

    I think separatism conflict are going to emerge, especially in southeast asia. in thailand, filipina, indonesia, cambodia and so on..

  • Posted by Andrew Wojtanik

    An interesting project. This spring, in honor of college basketball’s March Madness, I posted to my blog “Notes on the Periphery” a fun riff on the same concept: forming a “bracket” of the top 64 most likely conflicts to erupt or worsen over the coming year (excluded obvious ones like Syria and Afghanistan): http://noteontheperiphery.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/march-madness-at-notes-on-the-periphery-part-5-full-bracket/

    Here you will find short descriptions of the 64 cases–from Latin America to Asia to the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa. The top picks (#1 seeds)? Al Qaeda in Iraq, Boko Haram/Ansaru in Northern Nigeria, drug war in Mexico, and TTP in Pakistan.

    Of course, the proposition that the U.S. has poor predictive capability is on point – in January 2012, few predicted that Mali would lose 2/3 of its territory to Tuareg/Islamist rebels by March. And few cared to pay attention to the Central African Republic until March of this year. What will be the coming year’s Mali or CAR? We can only guess.

  • Posted by Henderson

    Political and economic crsis in Venezuela caused by devaluation of currency.

  • Posted by Jonah

    I think that, going forward, we will see continued activity of AQIM/Al Qaeda offshoots in the Sahel region. While peacekeepers will prop up stability in Mali, extremists from Algeria and Libya will continue to pour into the region, just as AQIM forces are pushed out of Mali, probably north and eastward. Next up: Niger (already incredibly fragile, vast sahara country, barely functioning state), with potential spillovers into northern Nigeria. Imagine a link-up between Al Qaeda affiliates and home-grown radical group Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. That’s a scary thought.

    Keeping with Africa, I think that Sudan-South Sudan will procede in periodical flare ups if they are unable to work out oil-sharing agreement and movement of goods across border. A “soft-border” deal seems unlikely, increasingly the possibility of border conflicts and perhaps a return to full-scale war. There’s only so long that SPLA will tolerate Khartoum dropping bombs on border villages. Many of those on the northern side are loyal to SPLA and want to join S Sudan.

    Finally, don’t count Al Shabaab out. As their military and political power in Somalia recedes (which it will), expect more attacks deeper into the East African heartland (Uganda, Tanzania) as well as fanning the flames of religious strife in Kenya.

  • Posted by udhai

    relation b/w India& Pakistan…..with Pakistan shifting its stance towards China rather than U.S.
    What will be interesting here is to see the stance of US if Pakistan in this conflicts take the help of China( which it surely will if dere is a war b/w India & Pakistan) ……..Because earlier b/w d two nations US used to support Pakistan like in d time of Nixon and others …….BUT now it may have to support India because of its policy of restoring regional power balance in Asia( Asian Pivot Policy)…… which will take d conflict to (India+USA) vs (Pakistan+China)

  • Posted by James Schumaker

    One can reasonably predict which existing crises will probably get worse: it’s where the crazy people are in power or vying for power: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, North Africa, The Horn of Africa, North Korea, The next big crisis to erupt, however, will most likely emerge unexpectedly in an area that we are not focusing on at present. One possibility is an economic crisis affecting North America, the EU and Russia that causes global chaos, and perhaps the fall of many key governments. Another possibility might be a violent revolution in Saudi Arabia or some other major U.S. ally that would destroy the regional power balance.

  • Posted by Waleed Muhammad

    Hopefully the threat of peace and stability.

  • Posted by Carrie Cohen

    There is a menacing undercurrent in Spain, France and Turkey.

  • Posted by Ogona

    2014 for africa won’t be an easy one. This is because: corruption, most african countries will have elections coming up.
    But the most sensitive part of it all come 2014 will be the middle east. It will continue to be unstable and volatile. With the saudies loosing hope in america, egypt finding its balance and isreal increasing being isolated by its strongest allies…

  • Posted by Timothy Edigue

    The United nation should be more proactive in handling protests so that it doesn’t escalate into a revolution that will cause the death of many. The United nation should draft in her charter a serious sanction on any nation who rises against another nation without following due process of negotiations first. Threat of war and attack should be the last resort if all peace talk fails.

  • Posted by Morten Hagen

    In general I am concerned about keeping China’s rise peaceful and checking any excesses of the Communist Party and the continued rise of the People’s Liberation Army. I’m also concerned about Russia under Putin and the prominent position of the security forces in that country’s development priorities.

    I also agree with Jonah above addressing AQIM and other terrorist and rebel movements in Africa. In that sense I am looking at it from a COIN perspective. African leadership and elite groups need to be reminded about the risks involved in unchecked greed and corruption, coupled with a general lack of adequate protection for human life and property, and a lack of efforts to create jobs and income opportunities for the poor, many of them young, restless, and aggressive. If African elites fail to live up to their R2P, the international community may have to resort to various forms of interventions to protect their populations from increased lawlessness descending into anarchy, and the likelihood of continued spread of armed terrorist and rebel movements eventually threatening international peace and security.

  • Posted by Tania Bucsa

    Syrians will be forced to flee their homes in 2014 as the conflict there escalates..”disgraceful humanitarian calamity”.

  • Posted by Daiki Tsuboi

    China and surrounding nations
    China is now adopting agressive attitudes toward surrounding countries. China has occupied many territories of Southeast Asian nations and arrogantly claims that they are China’s. China is also trying to invade Japan’s Senkaku Islands, which China claims as their territories calling them Diaoyu Island.
    It is quite important for the United States to secure rule of law and peaceful order in that region without allowing the invasion of China.
    The US should exert military force if China tries to occupy territories by force to teach Chinese that China will be exterminated if it tries to invade other countries and use force.

  • Posted by David Steele

    I believe the hottest region will continue to be the Middle East due to a number of factors: the citizen-led protest movements throughout the Arab world, the tension between democratic movements and autocratic regimes, the Sunni-Shia divide, the Syrian war continuing, with the opposition splintering and the conflict spilling over into neighboring countries (both refugees and violence), and the increasing draw of religious extremism among Sunni, Shiia, Jewish, and some Christian sects. The most critical countries i believe will be Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt. Turkey could also be drawn into this conflict (perhaps bringing NATO with it)

    The second most critical region I think will be Afghanistan/Pakistan due to the departure (or at least very significant reduction) of Western presence in Afghanistan, the internal dysfunction within both Afghan and Pakistani governments, the high level of distrust created by the drone program in Pakistan, the continuing strength of Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates in both countries despite the deaths of many in leadership capacity, the lack of trust between Afghan and Pakistani Governments and populations, and the internal ethnic and religious divides (e.g. Sunni/Shia as well as extremist/moderate)

    Third, I would point to northern Africa. The lack of stable governments in many regions, autocratic oppressive regimes in other places, widespread corruption as well as poverty and unemployment, ethnic and religious divides (Christian/Muslim as well as moderate/extremist Sunni Muslims). Some countries i would list as focal launching points for violence; others as more likely the target, though undoubtedly with destabilizing elements within their own populations. Somalia and Algeria i would list as launching points, with Kenya, Uganda and Mali as likely targets. In some cases, long-standing internal conflicts will continue to fester, with possible escalation. These include Sudan/South Sudan, Nigeria, Libya, DRC and CAR.

    The last region of concern is East Asia. Despite China’s rising status as a world power, I don’t see China as a significant problem. I think there is greater potential for developing a partnership with China in dealing more effectively with other countries which are either locked into ideological, authoritarian rule, like North Korea, or beset by increasing religious and ethnic tensions, like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and increasingly in parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

    Finally, I think one of the greatest threats will be a worldwide reaction to the NSA leaks. This has largely been dealt with as a balancing act between security and privacy. However, I believe the much overlooked result is going to be a decrease in trust and confidence of not only the US Government, but of Americans in general, including US-based NGOs attempting to work on peacebuilding and development. When this distrust is added to that precipitated by perceived violations of national sovereignty and dysfunctional US economic policy, the effects could erode American capacity to broker conflicts (who will trust communicating with the US?), or to provide security and stability. Even if other governments conduct their own espionage, and even if many know more than they have admitted about US surveillance, populations around the world have been shocked and appalled. This is going to effect the attitudes of their politicians and the willingness of many civilian populations to work with US Government or US citizens.

  • Posted by Emilie B.

    The islamist threat has been so far ignored in the Democratic Republic of Congo because islam is not a part of society. But since the eastern part of the country is one of the most important non-state area in the world, is the theatre a chaotic civil war, and since the Shaababs are starting to settle in this area, I believe this could be an issue that has to be taken into account.

  • Posted by kamran

    One of the most important conflict refer to US-Iran and israeil-Iran. because iran has a big destructive role in middel east,anf so if it could reach to atomic bomb,the worl will face with big conflicts.

  • Posted by shakeela leghari

    I think decreasing value of dollar will be a big challenge for america in 2014.

  • Posted by Azza bendary

    I think the the increasing draw of Islamist extremist element is the greatest threat especially the “Moslim brotherhood” groups who’s influence was spread all over the Middle East countries. These groups owned money and communications that could affect the authority and democracy of these countries.

  • Posted by Benevolence

    The death of Mugabe is definetly on the cards and this will most definetly destabilize Zimbabwe which in turn will cause problems in the SADC region due to its landlocked position. Problems in Zimbabwe will affect a lot of countries that sorround it.

  • Posted by Sharie Blanton Rogers

    Haiti + Dominican Republic



    All other counties on the tail end of the various GDP/GNP and poverty lists. Pay now or pay later. When will US Foriegn policy learn this lesson?

  • Posted by Sumol67

    Spain vs Catalunia’s and worsening conflict in mid East, Eastern DRC, Libya, Sudan (Abye/Nuba) and Pakistan

  • Posted by Gideon Wambua

    Kenya isa country teetering on the verge of collapse. The sitting President (Uhuru Kenyatta)and the Deputy President are both facing trial at the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity. If they are convicted, the US will have to step in to arrest the two or at least ensure smooth transition to the next administration. Chaos might erupt because of tribalism which is becoming rampant by the day.

  • Posted by Graham Miller

    Somalia will increamature be a source of trouble across East Africa with Libyan weaponry and veterans from recent conflicts
    China will keep pushing weaker neighbours, esp Philippines and Vietnam to assert sovereignty over S.E. Asia
    China won’t give an inch of ground to Japan and will take advantage of weakness in the US during budget negotiations to appear a mature, reliable partner in Africa and South East Asia
    Extremist forces in Pakistan could cause big problems in Pakistan/India relations with implications beyond their boundaries

  • Posted by Rodrigo Chavez Fierro

    Mexico´s druglords.

  • Posted by Juan Gasparola

    1) Península de Sinaí.
    2) Región Xinginag (China)
    3) Cirenaica (Libia)

  • Posted by Phillip Bolster

    DIY Terrorist Drone Attack

    Public access to relatively cheap drones which can carry payloads of up to 4 kilograms could give a terrorist a very bad idea.

    And with GPS autopilot drone operating systems cheaply available and small in size (size of a Euro coin) the would-be terrorist could just program such an attack.

    Fortunately at this moment the ‘lift’ capability of publicly available Quad Rotor Drones is limited to approx 10 lbs so such a delivery method would require relatively hard to acquire concentrated explosive such as PETN which would complicate such an effort.

    But with companies such as exist on the Internet selling 6 rotor Drone systems built to handle 7.5 lb video camera payloads for $20,000 I think it’s time somebody brought this up.

    This would eventually lead to some sort of vetting and registration idea which would track the sale of publicly available payload capable drones.

    These systems allow for a whole new paradigm in film making
    but to a determined terrorist they offer right now and will continue to offer an increasingly attractive delivery system and with advances in ‘touch the map’ GPS enabled flight control software and increasing range this potential terrorism tool deserves attention.


    (I’m sure this company acts responsibly this is just an example of a system which can lift 7.5 lbs and is available online)

    Another route of course would be to DIY a drone and increase lift capability and range and use bespoke software. There are many avenues a terrorist could go down limited only by tens of thousands of dollars and some software and mechanical engineering expertise.

    Never good to publish such ideas but anyone likely to go down such a route has thought of this already as drones have been on the open market for a few years already but it’s the recent accessibility in terms of cost and the unchecked nature of the open drone market allowing people to purchase relatively powerful systems over the net without vetting which gave me pause for thought some time ago and so I thought I’d post this here under Emerging Threats.

  • Posted by Roland von Ciel

    Nicely staged photo

  • Posted by Phillip Bolster

    Threat to Civilians everywhere in 2014: Total Surveillance

    NSA – Total Information Awareness

    Sen. Udall

    “Is it the goal of the N.S.A. to collect the phone records of all Americans?”

    Gen. Alexander

    “Yes, I believe it is in the nation’s best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox that we could search when the nation needs to do it. Yes.”

    Is this an emerging threat? Yes it is a threat to freedom and privacy everywhere – all carried out under the never-ceasing scaremongering device of 9/11.

    What is more perilous than having all the information, the power to process it and the greedy imagination of man to manipulate it for his own interest?

    Interview with James Bamford – from 11 mins


    NSA programs etc


    NSA overreach is a misguided abuse of the ill gotten power of men. Men who would not give up their power after the cold war ended. Men who made a monster who did not know how to stop growing. Men who only know military and Intelligence community lives and forget about the real world outside and the privacies, freedoms and concerns of those they swore to serve a long time ago. Men with too much power who believe in an all encompassing ‘Trust-Us’ mantra about anything they do as if they are gods and we could never understand what they do to protect us all from the never ceasing onslaught of terrorists who supposedly threaten the very existence of the USA on the map as if more people aren’t killed by falling appliances in their homes each year then by terrorism in the US.

    The NSA is a quickly emerging threat and needs to be met by those unafraid to talk out loud about their incredible overreach such as James Risen and James Bamford and by those who write for think tanks suspiciously similar to this one : )

    January 1, 2006, President Bush

    “This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America. And I repeat, limited.”

    B S

  • Posted by Natalie Fair-Albright

    Nigeria’s problems will escalate and threaten the oil industry. Northern Africa from Western Sahara (is it a country or not) to Niger’s minerals, to Chad. South Sudan is already in trouble as is Libya. Tunisia is barely holding on. Egypt will continue to have turmoil if a military man is elected.

    Central African Republic is in trouble already. There could be a push for Cameroon to divide along English/French lines. Zimbabwe will have an inside power struggle to fill the void when Mugabe dies.

    Europe will see an increase in unrest due to unemployment rates and income inequality. Desperate people take desperate measures. This will occur primarily in Eastern Europe. The influx of illegal immigrants will also strain Europe’s resources, particularly Italy and Spain. I could see a violent backlash against these immigrants.

    Putin will continue to run a strong man government but will not want to upset the international balance yet. His dealings with his neighbors will be more subtle.

    China may try for several island that Japan claims to test US and Japan’s resolve but I think they also will take a diplomatic rather than military approach. I do see an increase in China’s Tibet and Uigher issues. I also see China increasing its presence in developing nations to extract their natural resources. While the US has been spending heavily on military, the Chinese have been solidifying there hold on natural resources around the world, partially by ingratiating themselves with local populations by building schools, medical facilities, and other infrastructure.

    Southeast Asia is erupting in violence and protest. The people are rising up against dictators and corruption. They want a voice. This is partially set off by income and opportunity inequality.

    India may once again erupt in religious violence as it did in the past. Pakistan’s ISI may encourage violence within India to destabilize their neighbor. Ethnic violence is also a threat.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan violence will increase as NATO troops draw down. Afghanistan will be divided by the drug lords of the opium and the Taliban types. Chaos will ensue. Pakistan created a monster when they created the Taliban. That monster will now come back to haunt them.

    North Korea is always a threat. Who knows what would happen if their leader suddenly died? The vacuum could bring another Korean War.

    Mexico could end up in a civil war like state between the drug cartels and others. The drug cartels could be joined by those who feel they have been marginalized; again income inequality and ethnic exclusion.

    The Middle East is terribly volatile. If the Palestinian/Israeli problem could be settled. It would go a long way toward calming SOME of the radical elements in the Middle East. This long standing issue is being used to sow rage. Israel needs to pull out the illegal settlements and abide by the UN Resolutions that are already standing. This would create a viable Palestinian State. A lot of economic aid would need to be used to create jobs. People with jobs and opportunity have hope and are not nearly as likely to turn to violence. They also need help creating a police force that can deal with those that espouse violence. Peace must be taught in schools, in the media so that a mentality of violence can be turned around.

    Iraq is devolving into civil war along ethnic and religious lines. It will continue to be a violent place until they can have a less corrupt leadership.

    The violence in Syria will spill over to their neighbors. Turkish Kurds may try to seize the opportunity to carve out their own country between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The violence is already sucking in Lebanon. Jordan has too many refugees and their own unemployment rate has skyrocketed. Jordan may also become destabilized along ethnic and refugee lines as income inequality takes its toll. They will blame the king who could be deposed.

    Fundamental Islamist; leaders who are twisting Islam and the idea of Jihad for their own purposes; wherever they are found in the world will remain a growing and pervasive threat.

  • Posted by Carlo H-Banki

    On the eve of September 11 and after hearing the President’s speech to the Nation on ISIL/ISIS, I can’t help but take stock of the world which once again is on the cusp of many little wars. Will it lead to a Nuclear war…I don’t think so! Whatever calamity befalls the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the United States it’s due to our own doings!

    Europe through NATO will face a game of chess with Russia and the Baltic states; Syria with Assad will continue to rule albeit through despair and backdoor deals. Iraq will continue to be propped up through puppet regimes with American-Iranian influence. ISIS will go underground and Afghanistan will once again be neglected. What about Iran’s nuclear plans and Israel’s concerns? Or China, Japan and North Korea they will also make the news but for now… most will sit back and see how far Putin will go and how long Assad and ISIS will last.

    It’s throwback to the Roman Empire where you had marauding armies at the far eastern gates of Rome and had the unusual bed fellows such as the Romans and the Visigoths fighting Attila the Hun. Today we have Putin and ISIS although not fair to compare Putin to the viciousness of ISIS, but bragging about Nukes makes it just as bad if not worst! U.S. / NATO and of course the strange coalition with Iran and Assad against Putin and ISIS…will it be like the Battle of Chalons?

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required