Based on the principle that transformative world events are not random, but are in fact predictable, Stratfor develops decade, annual and quarterly forecasts. These forecasts are built upon Stratfor’s geopolitical methodology, our framework for identifying and forecasting the fundamental trends shaping the international system. Below are the global trends highlighted in Stratfor’s forecast for the third-quarter of 2017. The complete forecast is available at Stratfor Worldview. The US Exits Stage Left? When world leaders gather in Germany for the approaching G-20 summit, they will no doubt make a slew of assertions – some alarmist, others justified – about a US retreat from the global stage. Talk of leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping stepping in to fill the void and uphold global governance on major issues such as free trade, climate change, and security can be expected. But there is an underlying reality to that narrative that should be kept in mind. Simply put, those hoping to fill the United States’ shoes in leading the world still have their own existential threats to contend with at home. Germany and France are buying valuable time with their electorates to try to repair the European Union and make an example of the United Kingdom’s departure, but the bloc’s members still have vastly different visions of what European integration should look like and how nationalism might fit in. China, meanwhile, is not a globalist power with a model of governance to offer the world; it is a fiercely nationalist power with global clout, caught between the compulsion to operate as a market economy and the imperative to centralize political power under the ruling Communist Party. None of these countries come close to matching the US military footprint or the country’s ability to shoulder the burden that comes with superpower status.
In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to be choosing the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more. Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main “threat” to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as “Islamophobia”. Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain. While most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely sent the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as “peaceful”, but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against the Jews and the West. London, June 5, 2017. A minute of silence is held at Potters Field Park, next to the City Hall, to pay tribute to the victims of the London Bridge jihadist attack three days before. Those who came have brought flowers, candles and signs bearing the usual words: “unity”, “peace” and “love”. Faces are sad but no trace of anger is visible. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, gives a speech emphasizing against all evidence that the killers’ ideas have nothing to do with Islam.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the world’s policeman. Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were in and which were out as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U. S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the chief global cop. In fact, American neoconservatives continued to fanaticize about the United States leading the world into a post-Cold War new American century. The United States under Donald Trump now resembles a disabled policeman who was forced to retire on disability after being injured, not in the line of duty, but by engaging in self-destructive piques of bravado. The United States has abandoned internationalism as witnessed by Washington’s withdrawal from the free trade Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris climate agreement. The United Kingdom’s decision to depart the European Union in the Brexit referendum has put the final nail in the coffin of Britain’s status as a minor superpower. Until another nation steps forward to claim the title of chief world cop, the world will be subjected, as coined by the New Testament’s Book of Matthew, to wars and rumors of wars.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
China’s Belt and Road Forum, hosted with great fanfare, signals the priority of this flagship connectivity initiative while also underlining its credentials as the new ‘shaper’ of global trends and norms. Exhorting all countries to participate, Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested that ‘what we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence.’ But India, an emerging economy that shares a contested border with China, worries about containment and new pathways for aggression from Pakistan. Other nations wonder if hegemonistic designs are hidden behind the rationality of connectivity and trade. The policy initiative aims to enhance China’s centrality in the global economic unilateral approach in how the project is conceived and implemented so far belies the rhetoric of multilateralism emanating from Beijing. Taking inspiration from the ancient Silk Road trading route, China’s One Belt One Road initiative, or OBOR, hopes to link more than 65 countries, encompassing up to 40 percent of global GDP. Xi’s signature foreign paradigm – linking China to Asia, Europe and Africa via an ambitious network of ports, roads, rail and other infrastructure projects. Beginning in China’s Fujian province, the projected Maritime Silk Route passes through the Malacca Strait to the Indian Ocean, moving along the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, ending in Venice.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 25, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… ‘This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force ‘bringing good’ runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their ‘coalition’ proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided ‘coverage’ of Syria.’ ~ John Pilger
Though European leaders and their US-based counterparts have vehemently denied their existence, a leaked report from the Swedish police confirms that there are at least 23 Muslim-controlled ‘No-Go Zones’ and some 60 ‘vulnerable areas’ where non-muslim citizens of the country can no longer visit safely. As noted in the RT video below, the areas are plagued with violence, sexual assaults and gun crimes, and things have gotten so bad that police and emergency services personnel refuse to enter. According to the Swedish National Police Commissioner: We see developments in our country which are not always going in the right direction… We have more than 60 vulnerable areas in and around major cities in Sweden.. and we see criminality there and we need to turn around these developments in those areas… and we need the assistance of other parts of our society.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 23rd, 2017.
It turns out that the Grenfall tower fire may have been caused by Europe’s Global Warming regulations. To fight CO2 climate change, the EU Energy efficiency directive was passed into British law by the Blair Government back in 2010. The directive imposed energy efficiency to be applied to buildings. They were directed to place cladding on the outside of the building which the poor blamed the rich to make the building look better. The wrapping of buildings in the cladding has been done all over the UK and Europe.
Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later. The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.
Less than a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that ‘Europe must take its fate into its own hands,’ Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble implored US President Donald Trump to reconsider his ‘America First’ policy, claiming that a pullback by the US would risk the destruction of ‘our liberal world order’ by ceding influence to the Chinese and the Russians. Trump’s hostility toward his European partners has strained relations between the US and its Continental allies. Since taking office, Trump has insulted fellow G-7 and NATO leaders, pulled out of the Paris Accord and attempted to ban travelers and refugees from six Muslim majority countries. Though Trump has treated at least one NATO leader with respect: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, whom he honored with a Rose Garden press conference.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.
If ISIS is retreating in Mosul, it is rapidly advancing in Manchester. The Caliphate is winning its war in Europe. Six months ago in Britain, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the ultra-pacifist Labour party leader who blamed the “war on terror” for the recent attacks in Manchester and London, would have been unthinkable. As the Caliphate razed to the ground everything in its path, Europe reacted as if that were just the result of regrettable manners that should not concern her. The Islamists, however, had other plans. “Why, in August 2015, did ISIS need to blow up and destroy that temple of Baalshamin? Because it was a temple where pagans before Islam came to adore mendacious idols? No, it was because that monument was venerated by contemporary Westerners, whose culture includes an educated love for ‘historical monuments’ and a great curiosity for the beliefs of other people and other times. And Islamists want to show that Muslims have a culture that is different from ours, a culture that is unique to them”. – Paul Veyne, archeologist. The Islamic State is crumbling — if too slowly. More than two years have passed since French President Franois Hollande promised, “We will bomb Raqqa“. Sooner or later, ISIS will probably be reduced to a small enclave with no territorial continuity, and its chief, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, will be eliminated. It would, nevertheless, be most dangerous to dismiss these three years as a short parenthesis: Nazism did not last as long: “just” 12 years in power and five at war with the rest of Europe. The physical and cultural consequences of the Nazi tyranny are, unfortunately, still visible in Europe. The same will be said of the Islamic State. Three years of terror and conquests are not bad in for a war between the Caliphate vs. everyone else.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Pushing the Global Warming Scam Two of Europe’s greatest contemporary enemies recently got together to compare notes and discuss how they were going to further undermine and destabilize what remains of the Continent’s civilization. Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met on June 17, in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace to discuss the issues which will be raised at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, from July 7-8. The Vatican said that Frau Merkel and the Pope discussed ‘the need for the international community to combat poverty, hunger, terrorism and climate change.’* Ms. Merkel, in an obvious swipe at US President Donald Trump, said that ‘we are a world in which we want to work multilaterally, a world in which we don’t want to build walls but bring down walls.’ The reference to ‘walls,’ of course, was to President Trump’s promise to construct a wall on the Mexican-American border. The pope, too, has been critical of Mr. Trump’s proposed plan. Ms. Merkel also lamented about the Trump Administration’s decision to opt out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Pope Francis urged President Trump to remain in the accord and gave him a copy of his encyclical, ‘Praise Be,’ when they met earlier this spring. The encyclical elevated ‘climate change’ and protection of the environment as ‘moral obligations’ while it criticized ‘perverse’ economic development models that ‘enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor.’
This post was published at Acting-Man on June 21, 2017.
After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House. At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.” Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House. ‘House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. ‘The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.’ And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs… a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Forecast Highlights German general elections scheduled for Sept. 24 don’t present an immediate threat to the eurozone, because moderate forces will remain in power. After the elections, Germany and the rest of the European Union will have to discuss issues that have been postponed, such as measures to strengthen the eurozone. A center-right government would be skeptical of measures to increase risk-sharing in the eurozone, while a center-left one would support measures to increase EU-wide investment. The first quarter of 2017 had the Dutch elections. The second had the French elections. The main political event in Europe during the third quarter will be general elections in Germany. But unlike the previous votes, the German elections scheduled for Sept. 24 do not pose an immediate threat to the political and economic status quo in the eurozone, mainly because German Euroskeptics are weak, and moderate political parties are likely to remain in power. However, the German elections will be just as crucial for the future of the European Union. The next administration in Berlin will play a decisive role in shaping delayed political, economic and institutional decisions in the bloc. The contenders to watch are the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former EU President Martin Schulz. These parties currently govern together in a coalition but will seek alliances with smaller parties after September, making small political forces such as the center-right Free Democratic Party (FDP), the environmentalist Greens, and left-wing The Left party, keys to forming Germany’s next government. The anti-immigration and Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) will probably enter the Bundestag – the lower chamber of the German parliament – for the first time in this election, but the party will likely be excluded from coalition talks.
Authored by Antonius Aquinas, Two of Europe’s greatest contemporary enemies recently got together to compare notes and discuss how they were going to further undermine and destabilize what remains of the Continent’s civilization. Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met on June 17, in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace to discuss the issues which will be raised at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, from July 7-8. The Vatican said that Frau Merkel and the Pope discussed the need ‘for the international community to combat poverty, hunger, terrorism and climate change.’ Ms. Merkel, in an obvious swipe at US President Donald Trump, said that ‘we are a world in which we want to work multilaterally, a world in which we don’t want to build walls but bring down walls.’ The reference to ‘walls,’ of course, was to President Trump’s promise to construct a wall on the Mexican-American border. The pope, too, has been critical of Mr. Trump’s proposed plan. Ms. Merkel also lamented about the Trump Administration’s decision to opt out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Pope Francis urged President Trump to remain in the accord and gave him a copy of his encyclical, ‘Praise Be,’ when they met earlier this spring. The encyclical elevated ‘climate change’ and protection of the environment as ‘moral obligations’ while it criticized ‘perverse’ economic development models that ‘enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
John McCain wants new sanctions against Russia and it is this politicians who are the greatest threat to the world economy. Imposing such sanctions will only backfire for the damage is to European companies, rarely American. McCain is always out to create war for personal retribution for being turned into Vietnam’s version of Tokyo Rose. His latest round of sanctions is to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections which still is not proven, but it put in office Trump, according to McCain who would be much more happy with Hillary. He has never smiled that way looking into the eyes of Donald Trump.
According to the latest Europol report, there were 1,002 arrests made for terrorist offences in the EU last year. Of these, Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes that 718 were related to jihadist terrorism – making three consecutive years of increases. Nevertheless, the majority of the 142 attacks completed, foiled or failed were related to ethno-nationalism and separatism (99). Of these attacks, 47 were classed as ‘completed’. Terrorism claimed the lives of 142 people in the EU in 2016, with an additional 379 people suffering injuries. Nearly all of these fatalities and most of the casualties occurred as a result of jihadist attacks. The exceptions were six victims of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland and the murder of the UK Member of Parliament Jo Cox, a year ago this month.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
The European Commission President JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker, has come out and boldly stated that Poland and Hungary and their refusal to take in a single refugee person under a plan agreed in 2015 to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, said: ‘Those who do not want to accept people with a different skin colour or a different belief come from a world of ideas that I do not consider compatible with the EU’s original mission.’ Juncker further said that if the refugee crisis existed previously and Poland and Hungary refused to accept the refugees, they would have been denied membership.
NATO officials are growing increasingly nervous about the possibility of an invasion of the Baltic states ahead of Russian wargames planned this fall on the border of Belarus and Poland that could involve as many as 100,000 troops. That “anxiety” was on display this week, when US and British troops carried out the first NATO military exercise that involved a simulated defense of the Suwalki Gap, an area in northern Poland on the border with Lithuania that serves as the gateway to the Baltic region. In other words, a drill against a Russian invasion of the Baltics states, and by extension, Europe. *** NATO officials described the area as a ‘choke point’ that, if it were taken by an invading force, could potentially isolate the Baltic states from their NATO allies, according to Reuters. “The gap is vulnerable because of the geography. It’s not inevitable that there’s going to be an attack, of course, but … if that was closed, then you have three allies that are north that are potentially isolated from the rest of the alliance”, said U. S. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. “We have to practice, we have to demonstrate that we can support allies in keeping (the Gap) open, in maintaining that connection,” he said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
After the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to implement new sanctions against Russia over “interference in the 2016 U. S. elections” and curbs President Trump’s power to ease penalties against Moscow in the future – without consultations with US allies in Europe – President Trump has found himself cornered in what appears to be a lose-lose position. On one hand, the bill prompted an unexpectedly angry response by Germany and Austria, both of whom who have invested hundreds of millions into the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea, and who said the bill is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. On Friday, Germany went so far as saying the bill “must not happen” with German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries saying “Berlin would have to think about counter-measures” if Trump – or the House – backed the plan. “If he does, we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.