In an increasingly polarized World we find ourselves cautious, yet hopeful, deliberative, but also reticent. The events which will shape the upcoming year will revolve around two distinct narratives, in my opinion. The first of these is the administrations calculus concerning the Kim Jong-Un régime in North Korea, and the unforeseen consequences of policy both from former Administrations’ policy toward the régime, as well as the current administrations policy of confrontation toward the régime. Add to that the credible reports of illicit financing which the régime has procured through investments in bitcoin, as so-called cryptocurrency, and you have the makings of what could turn into a very serious year on the Korean Peninsula. The United States finds itself in a tough situation concerning the DPRK where it has to protect it’s allies and interest, while balancing provocative acts from the DPRK, while the DPRK pursues a crash program that is intended to end with their country armed with a nuclear tipped missile that can reach the United States. There’s not much as notes of optimism go in the press concerning this crisis and it seems that this pessimism is certainly warranted. However, as recent history has shown if there is anyone who can solve the current nuclear impasse on the Korean Peninsula it arguably is this Administration. Through some fit of fortune they have somehow always found a way. It has been like that almost from the very beginning, and seems intent on continuing…
As for events in Syria, it is presumed through numbers which I have been able to calculate that Syria can only survive up until the elections conclude in Russia in the middle of April 2018. After this point it is clear that Syria will officially be deemed a failed state by assumed Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is at this point that he will purposefully precipitate the collapse of the political system in Damascus, representing a clean break for Russia, from its entanglement in Syria. If the figures are calculated by one and your aware of the situation on the ground. It should come as no surprise that the régime in Damascus is woefully underfunded getting by on a shoe-string budget provided to it by Russia, Iran, and other proxies. However this too will soon be gone as it has already become clear to the Russian President that he should cut his losses from the Syrian Civil War, and will through a bit of roguery first conceal his true intentions in Syria, convince Iran and other Syrian proxies that Russia is contributing the bulk of funds to Syria for the year, then convince Bashar al-Assad that the best place for him to store his savings from the war is in a Russian state-owned bank, then Vladimir Putin will secure his reelection for another term, then Putin will treacherously steal the Syrian treasury; while fooling Iran and other proxies into contributing the bulk into it, and finally precipitating the collapse of the Syrian government leaving a mess for the United States and the international community to clean up while focusing on his next project for both the near, and long-term. Putin desires only to recover as much in lost assets and cash as he can from the situation at this point. His main motivation in this situation is badly needed money. This is all presumed to happen in the first part of the year, with Russia precipitating Syria’s complete collapse around the 25th of April, or one week and one day after elections are held in Russia.
As for Putin and his adventurism in Ukraine it can only be surmised that the entire enterprise is a fiasco with short-medium(6-12 Months) term consequences for Russia geo-politically, and financially; as well as long-term(12+ Months) consequences for Russia financially, and geo-politically. The short-medium term political consequences consist of a rethink of the baltic strategy. This means no invasion of Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia in early 2018 for the Olympics as had been planned. This could also mean a lessening of bellicose behavior towards the Baltic states, as well as a realignment of troops on their borders. This also means the ceasing of hostilities in Ukraine. Fiscally in the short-medium term the Russian State will almost certainly have to precipitate the collapse of the government in Syria an order to recoup lost monies from Ukraine, Syria, and the lack of additional funding coming from the invasion of the Baltic.
In the long term geo-politically the consequences seem harder to anticipate, however one thing is for certain it will involve further pressure on the North Atlantic alliance in an attempt to recreate the boundaries of Czarist Russia. My best guess is a weakening of the régime in Armenia precipitating fortuitous oil and gas deals for Russian. Or a weakening of NATO’s presence in the Balkans through entreaties to Turkey, and an attempted overthrow of the régime in Kosovo. Putin could also finally turn west and go to Latin America an order to facilitate trade, and oil and gas deals between the two countries. Whatever he chooses he first must precipitate the collapse of the government in Syria and fool Bashar al-Assad beforehand an order to have the necessary funds available to carry out his next move. One note of optimism I can express is that i suspect that Bashar al-Assad has less money than Putin is counting on which could either precipitate erratic thinking on his part, in which case we see him attempting some of the things which he doesn’t have funding for in the Baltic. Or we could see him attempting some of the more long term projects as outlined above. Or we could see him turn inward and abandon any projects for short-medium term and focus on rebuilding Russian capital. Either way it looks like this year is shaping up to be one that Russia wants to make, one way or another, all about itself. Happy New Year and I hope you come to Kevin’s Politic’s Blog for all your Geo-Political Analysis needs.