Most polls show that Venezuela’s government candidate Nicolás Maduro is likely to win Sunday’s elections thanks to an unfair election process in which the government controls an overwhelming share of TV time, but — even if he wins — Maduro’s future is gloomy.
If most polls are right and Maduro wins despite a significant narrowing of his advantage over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in recent days, a lot will depend on his margin of victory, and on whether Capriles concedes as readily as he and other opposition leaders have done in the past. It may not happen quite that way this time.
Judging from what I’m told by well-placed Venezuelans, there are five major scenarios of what may happen after Sunday’s vote to elect late President Hugo Chávez’s successor. Here they are, in no particular order:
Tag Archives: scenarios
In one of the more alarming scenarios, analysts estimate that Iran—using only declared nuclear material and declared sites for uranium enrichment—already has the technical potential to produce nuclear explosive material for its first nuclear weapon in a matter of a few months. What’s worse, if Iran has undeclared sites for uranium enrichment, analysts worry that Iran’s possible timeline for breaking out overtly—or sneaking out covertly—of the international inspections regime and building its first nuclear bomb could further shorten.
The study, entitled “In the Dark: Military Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” concluded that there in fact is “very little” in the way of back-up capability to the electric grid upon which the communications infrastructure is vitally dependent.
The study pointed out that likely scenarios caused by solar storms and EMP forecast a power grid in failure mode for much longer than any backup power source would last, “maybe even a year or more if a significant number of high power transformers are destroyed and would have to be remanufactured.”
As President Barack Obama begins his second term in office, China poses a major policy challenge to the United States largely because of the unpredictable trajectory of both China’s domestic transformation and foreign relations. While there has been much attention paid to China’s rapid economic rise and growing international clout, two other scenarios have been overlooked: domestic revolution and foreign war. While some might view these events as “black swans”—low probability, high-impact developments—the Obama administration should be proactive and think through its policies options should these events unfold.
One of the instruments for doing so is history, as discussed. But there also is a perceptible universal trend to events that cuts across borders. Last fall, we told you about the 11 indicators of energy and geopolitics (here are the original 10; here is the 11th, added in November). Now, we present 14 rules governing geopolitical events. These rules do not divine the future. Rather they allow you, generally speaking, to separate yourself from the unruly, conjectural maw of global opinion-makers and decipher for yourself what is going on, and the probable scenario or scenarios to unfold next. Neither are they complete—please send along your own rules (email@example.com) and we will publish the best.
This is the first of two posts. The second, derived from the rules here, will be published later this week and include our forecasts of global events for 2013.
The rules of global events
1. Muddle-along rule
The projection of the future of the South China Sea is structured along six key determinants of stability. The six drivers are first, the presence of a hegemonic power that has the capacity and incentive to create a stable order, second, the equal distribution of military power and avoidance of overly aggressive behavior, third, the adherence to international norms of peaceful settlement of disputes, fourth, a preference to maintain international economic ties and development, fifth, the presence of institutions to regularize dialogue and cooperation, and sixth, united domestic entities that prefer win-win and peaceful solutions.
So, what does the future hold for the South China Sea? Do the six factors correspond to the current situation? There are three possible scenarios; the apocalypse scenario, the dream scenario and the status-quo scenario.
1. There is no hedemonic power that is willing to create a stable order. The US is in decline. US leadership is sleeping.
2. There is no avoidance of overly aggressive behavior by China.
3. China appears to want only bilateral talks with individual countries. This is a divide and conquer strategy. No regional solution appears in the horizon.
4. China has already used economic strategies to punish Japan and Philippines.
5. Institutions for dialog exist, but they are not being used effectively.
6. The concept of win-win does not appear in the Chinese language. I’m not making this up.
What are those dire scenarios? The report gives a list of eight “Black Swan” scenarios — a reference to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book “Black Swan,” which posits that history is built on unforeseeable, surprise events.
Global Trends 2030′s potential Black Swans
1. Severe Pandemic
2. Much More Rapid Climate Change
3. Euro/EU collapse
4. A Democratic or Collapsed China
5. A Reformed Iran
6. Nuclear War or WMD/ Cyber Attack
7. Solar Geomagnetic Storms
8. U.S. Disengagement
Yet a growing number of China watchers have been raising the alarm that all is not well in the world’s second-largest economy. Indeed, any discussion of China these days would be far more foresighted to focus on the growing challenges and potential dangers that the new leadership is facing. The implications of China experiencing an unexpected economic crash or major political crisis, let alone a military conflict, should be as much a part of strategic planning as plans based on more optimistic scenarios. Not so long ago, the U.S. government and CIA were caught flat-footed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. To avoid surprise, the following is a short list of things that governments and policy analysts around the world should pay attention to:
A Greek exit from the euro zone could trigger a global economic crisis of dire proportions and must be avoided at all costs, a respected German think tank said in a study published on Wednesday.
Greece’s departure would entail costs for the country, already in its fifth year of recession, totaling 164 billion euros, or 14,300 euros per capita, until 2020, said the study, which ran a cost analysis of various scenarios.
A ‘Grexit’ would create pressure for the other heavily indebted southern European countries – Portugal, Spain and even Italy – to leave the common currency, a development that it said would threaten “a dramatic international recession”.
In reality, they should do the opposite of the think tank’s recommendation. They should push Greece out of the EU. Obviouly this will create a huge crisis and crash. And that is exactly the medicine needed to clean up all the bad ideas, bad decisions and corruption permeating the EU today. Things will get real bad, then they will get better – just like Iceland. The current path is long term suffering with no end in sight – just like Japan.
As the Syrian regime titters on the brink and the gulf states are feverishly preparing to counter Iranian plans to close the Hormuz choke point, we present here a scenario of the upcoming gulf war and its implications for a future superpower clash in the south China sea, as well as the brewing conflict around the Mediterranean gas drills.
What would the Battle of Hormuz look like?
Electronic and Cyber warfare factors
Beta testing for a future conflict in the South China Sea
Brewing Mediterranean storm