December 31, 2012

What Will the Coming Year Bring to the World?

The Forecast of the Development of the Situation in the World in 2013

The arrival of the New Year always makes one think about the future. As shows the analysis of the main trends taking place in the world, the future will be characterized by a further struggle of interests of countries (international organizations) - world centers of force, which will be trying to achieve their own geo-political goals, such as:

for the part of the leading countries of the world and international organizations:

  • USA- preserving the role of the United States of America as a leading centre, capable of decisive influence on the main political, economic and security processes in the world;
  • China - consistent strengthening of the economic and military potentials of the country in the aspect of realization of its strategic goals - ensuring China’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific region, and in the future - in the world;
  • European Union- solving the finance-economic problems of the EU, as well as revival of the unity and dynamic development of the organization, its security component included;
  • India- strengthening of the country’s positions in South-Eastern Asia, as well as securing the regional parity with China;
  • Brazil and Argentina- strengthening their regional positions in the region of Latin America with further coming out onto the world level;
  • Russia- reestablishment of the leading role of the Russian Federation at the post-Soviet territories as the basis for strengthening regional and super-regional positions of the country;
  • Turkey – strengthening of its positions in the Black Sea, Caucasus and Middle Eastern regions;
  • Iran - achieving the country’s leadership in the region of the Middle East in consequence of the realization of nuclear-missile programs of the country.

Taking into consideration all the said above, the main world processes will be concentrated in the following three main regions of the world, namely: in the Asian-Pacific and in the South-Eastern Asia; in the regions of the Middle East and Northern Africa; in Europe and at the post-Soviet territories (including Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Caspian region and Central Asia).

In this aspect we should expect the development of the following main trends:

1. Asian-Pacific region and South-Eastern Asia

Taking into consideration the growth of the economic potentials of China and India, in the nearest and in not that near future, the Asian-Pacific region and South-Eastern Asia (henceforth- “super-region”) will keep turning into a world’s new and largest center of business activity. On the one hand, this will stimulate speeding up of the economic development of the “super-region”, on the other hand it will turn it into an object of struggle of the world and regional leading countries’ interests. Against the background of the positive dynamics of the economic processes in Asia, it will inevitably be a new source of tension, conflicts and wars as well as an arena of international confrontation of a global level.

Source Modern Politics Russia. http://modernpolitics.ruFirst of all, this will refer to further sharpening of struggle for influence between the USA and China in the Asian-Pacific region, as well as to the increase of regional contradictions between China and India, and between India and Pakistan in the South-Eastern Asia.

Thus, in 2013 the USA will continue the realization of the strategy of concentrating its prior efforts on defense of the American interests in the APR in the aspect of holding back growing ambitions of China. Within the framework of the mentioned above strategy building up of the military and Navy presence of the USA in the region by the deployment of American military bases in Australia, sending additional military contingents (modern fighters F-22 included) to Japan and South Korea, as well as deployment of AD systems in the region.

Besides, the United States of America will activate the development of relations with countries of the APR which have their own contradictions with China. In this context the main partners of the USA will be Australia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
Source Pakistan Defence

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIAt the same time on the level of strategy, there will continue the USA’s measures for creation, development and adopting military space systems (space shuttles of the new generation included), intercontinental ballistic missile in ordinary equipment, a new generation of fighters F-35, highly accurate weapon systems, founded on new physical principles, and expeditionary forces.

In its turn, China will be maintaining its strategic interests in the Asian-Pacific region and in Eastern Asia by increasing its military capabilities in the “super-region” and building up its finance-economic (investments aspect included) cooperation with partner-countries. China will continue the realization of the programs of building its own aircraft-carrying fleet and nuclear submarines, strengthening its Eastern and Southern fleets of China’s Armed Forces, building up the system of Navy bases in the East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as in the region of the Strait of Malacca - the main way of transportation of energy carriers to China from the Middle East region and Persian Gulf.

At the same time, the USA and China will continue the strategic dialogue by seeking understanding and common opinions on the most important questions of the world and regional security, and opportunities for deepening their cooperation in the economy sphere.

A new source of tension in the APR , able to cause armed conflicts, will be sharpening of contradictions between the countries of the region for access to debatable oil and gas resources on the shelves of the East China and South China Seas. In particular, such contradictions will remain between China and Japan, China and Vietnam, and between China, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Taking into account the urgency of the problems of access to energy resources (especially in the situation of the possible further complication of the situation in the countries of Northern Africa and Middle East - the main suppliers of the APR with energy carriers), the mentioned above problem will be becoming explosive. Concentration of their Navies around debatable island territories by the competing sides testifies to this.

A separate player in the Asian-Pacific region will remain the Russian Federation, which will do its best to realize its own strategy of holding back China, as the latter makes a bigger and bigger threat for Russia in the Far East. Within the framework of this strategy the Russian side will be taking measures for strengthening its military potential in the Far Eastern region of the country, diversification of its economic relations with countries of the APR, and will be building up its cooperation with regional rivals of China, in the military and military-technological spheres included. Despite all the mentioned above, Russia will demonstrate its being interested in the development of finance-economic cooperation with China.

2. Middle East and North Africa


Middle East and North AfricaThe main event of 2013 in the development of the situation in the Middle East may become the overthrow of B. Assad’s regime in Syria as a result of successful actions of rebels, foreign force intervention into the situation in the country or free-will retirement of the Syrian President under the pressure of his surroundings.

A change of the government in Syria will create preconditions for the realization of the USA’s strategic plans concerning the change of the government in Iran, which will lose its main ally in the Middle East. According to the estimations of American experts, judging by the experience of the Syrian conflict, the mentioned above goal can be achieved both, by provoking mass social disturbances in Iran (a catalyst of which may become the events in Syria), and by a direct force operation against IRI at excuse of preventing Iran’s getting nuclear weapon.

World Map: resettlement of Sunni and Shia Muslims

World Map: resettlement Sunni and Shia MuslimsIn the further prospect such a development of events can have a number of regional and world-wide geo-political consequences. Thus, the main of the mentioned above consequences will be a redistribution of the political-religious forces in the region, the leadership going over from the Shiite to Sunni countries and regimes, - from Iran and Syria to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. In its turn, this will lead to strengthening of the positions of the USA in the region and actual losing by Russia its influence in the Middle East.

The Southern energy corridor

The Southern energy corridorAt the same time, removing from power the current Iranian Government, with its aggressive anti-Western positions will help strengthening of both, military and energy security of Europe in the aspect of actual liquidation of the Iranian missile threat, and gaining the ability to connect Iran to European energy projects. In particular, canceling of international sanctions against IRI will widen the abilities for Iranian oil and gas appearing at the world and European markets, and will allow to use Iran’s territory for the realization of the plans of creating “the Southern energy corridor” (which suggests creation of new transport-energy systems from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia bypassing the Russian Federation).

In the whole the mentioned above processes will positively influence the development of the situation in the region. At the same time, sharpening of the crisis in Syria and the armed conflict around Iran will lead to sharpening of the situation in the Middle East.

The regions of compact living of Kurd

The regions of compact living of KurdApart from this, in 2013 in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa there will remain a number of significant problems, such as: instability in Libya as a result of contradictions between different groupings within the current Government of the country, as well as demonstrations of M. Gaddaffi’s supporters; sharpening of the confrontation between the Islamic leaders of Egypt and its liberal-democratic opposition; increasing of political contradictions in Turkey as the elections of 2014 come nearer; continuation of inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in Iraq, as well as further worsening of relations between Baghdad and Kurd autonomy.

Individual problems of regional importance will be a growing scale of armed attacks of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan against the background of international forces being withdrawn from the country, and also the activation of Kurd extremist organizations in the regions of compact living of Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and perhaps in Iran.

3. Europe and Post-Soviet Territories

The development of the situation in Europe and at the post-Soviet territories will have interconnected character and will be determined by increase of contradictions between Western countries and the Russian Federation in key sphere of their relations. The reason for this will be further activation of the policy of Moscow on restoration of its role of a “great world country”, which is considered by the West as a threat to its security (especially in the situation of growing anti-West rhetoric of the Russian side).

The post-Soviet territories

The post-Soviet territoriesWithin the framework of the mentioned above policy the main directions of concentration of Russia’s efforts will remain the following: regaining the Russian control at the post - Soviet territories, strengthening of Russia’s positions in the European energy sector and keeping the military parity with NATO.

In this aspect we should expect further events in Russia, directed to widening the Customs Union and strengthening the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of political, economic, military components of the realization of Moscow’s strategic plans concerning the creation of the Eurasian Union.

In order to achieve its goals, Russia will increase the pressure on Ukraine, which will remain the main object of Moscow’s integration initiatives. Judging by the experience of the previous years, forms of such pressure will be manipulations with gas prices, as well as using methods of an economy war against our country, in particular, by introduction of limits for the import to Russia of Ukrainian chemical, metallurgic and agricultural products.

A similar policy will be led by Russia towards Moldova, taking into account its dependence on Russian energy carriers and being interested in preserving its access to the Russian market. With all the changes in the Georgia’s Government after the parliamentary elections in October of 2012, Russia will try to regain its influence in Tbilisi as well, offering the Georgian side trade-economic preferences (in particular, opening the access to the Russian market for Georgian goods) in exchange for Georgia’s giving up the plans of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the country.

In this regard Russia will pay special attention to advancing its interests in the Central Asia, which will keep a special place in the realization of Russia’s geo-political interests from the point of view of creation of the “barrier” for counteracting against the outflowing of Islamic extremism from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well as strengthening the Collective Security Treaty Organization under the cover of the need in struggle against the Islamic terrorism threat.

In order to maintain its positions in the Black Sea region and at the Caucasus, in 2013 Russia will continue using conflicts around Trans-Dniester, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia, and Nagorny Karabakh for carrying out pressure on Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as preserving Russian military presence at their territories.

Intercontinental ballistic hard-fueled missile “Avangard”?

Intercontinental ballistic hard-fueled missile “Avangard”?At the same time, within the framework of confronting NATO in Europe and counteracting Islamic extremism in the Northern Caucasus, the leaders of Russia will keep a special attention to the questions of increasing the fighting capabilities of the Russian armed forces in the North-Western, Western and South-Western directions. In the course of realization of large scale programs of re-arming the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, in 2013 the preferences in getting new systems of arms (striking ones included) will have the Southern, Western and Northern military districts of the Armed Forces of Russia.

Intercontinental ballistic liquid –fueled missile “Proryv”?

Intercontinental ballistic liquid –fueled missile “Proryv”Besides, in the sphere of supporting the strategic nuclear-missile potential of the Russian Federation, the development and testing of new strategic missile systems (intercontinental ballistic hard-fueled missile “Avangard”(Vanguard) and liquid –fueled “Proryv”(Breakthrough) included.

At the same time, in the European direction Russia will continue taking measures for widening its abilities for appearance at the European energy markets by creation of new transport-energy corridors by-passing Ukraine, the second, third and fourth parts of the “North Stream” gas-pipe, and the “South Stream “ gas transporting system. At this the political importance of the mentioned above projects will keep prevailing above their economic expediency.

The Russian side will be trying to use finance-economic problems of the EU member-countries for establishing its control over the leading branches and objects of their economic complexes by an active investment activity.

A significant problem in the realization of the mentioned above plans of the RF will remain negative trends in the development of the Russian economy, connected with the problem of its critical dependence on export of energy carriers, lagging behind the world’s leading countries in technology, and ineffectiveness of its state system of running the economy. At this, a change of the situation at the European energy market in the aspect of increase of the volumes of gas delivery from other countries and regions will lead to further complication of the situation of “Gazprom”, as one of the bases of the Russian economy.

In its turn, the main directions of the actions of the leaders of the European Union will remain taking consistent steps for coming out from the finance-economic crisis. According to Western experts, such steps can give positive results already in 2013 in the aspect of restoration of certain positive dynamic of the development of the European economy.

The mentioned above will create favorable preconditions also for solving problems within the European Union, in particular - overcoming contradictions among countries-members of the EU which had appeared on the ground of their different opinions on the ways of overcoming the finance-economic crisis in the “Eurozone”. Besides, growth of the economy of European countries will allow them to increase defense expanses, which will help strengthening NATO and strengthening the European component of the defense.

The deployment of the anti-missile systems SM-3 at the territory of Romania and Poland

The deployment of the anti-missile systems SM-3 at the territory of Romania and Poland

Thus, the main efforts of NATO with the USA at head will be made for the realization of the plans of deployment the AD system in Europe, in particular - preparation to the deployment of the anti-missile systems SM-3 at the territory of Romania and Poland. Besides, the 2013 year will have a decisive meaning in the aspect of NATO’s preparations for finishing the military operation in Afghanistan. The process of transformation and reformation of the NATO according to the conception of an “Intelligent Defense” will also get sped up.

At the same time, in order to strengthen defense capabilities of the EU, European countries, with the leading participation of Germany and France, will continue the realization of the common international and security policy, in the first rate, in the spheres of increasing effectiveness of their work and increasing the operative capabilities of the multinational fighting tactical groups, as well as participation in peace-keeping operations in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, anti-pirate operation in the region of African Horn and observation and training missions in a number of other countries (for example, in Georgia and Somali ).

A separate direction of the efforts of the European Union will remain decrease of European countries’ relying on Russian energy carriers, which will keep its strategic importance for the EU. In this aspect within the nearest period of time is possible the beginning of the realization of the “Nabucco” project and other projects within the framework of the “Southern energy corridor”. The European Union will intensify its measures of counteraction to Moscow’s attempts to strengthen its influence at the post-Soviet territories. For this purpose, the EU will continue to actively build up cooperation with countries of the former USSR within the framework of “Eastern Partnership” project, first of all in the aspect of signing agreements on association, creation of free trade zones and simplifying visa regimes with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. All the mentioned above will be a real alternative to the Russian integration projects at the post-Soviet territories.

Besides, an important direction of EU’s cooperation with countries of the Black-Sea-Caucasian and Central Asian regions will be activation of measures for realization of common energy projects on creation of alternative ways of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan’s appearance on the world markets of energy carriers, and helping to regulate the “frozen” conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

A weighty component of the development of the military-political and economic processes in the Central-Eastern Europe will remain also measures of Ukraine’s neighboring countries’ governments for strengthening their regional positions. In the first rate, this regards to Poland, which will continue making efforts for strengthening its role in the region, as well as in NATO and EU. At this Poland will remain a consistent lobbyist of the European integration of the post- Soviet countries, which will answer Ukraine’s interests.

Its own attempts to strengthen its leadership in the Black Sea region and South-Eastern Europe will be making Romania. In this context the first turn goals of Bucharest will include preserving Romania’s role of the main bearer of the interests of NATO and EU in the region, as well as achieving advantages over Ukraine in the realization of the economic projects in the basin of the Danube River.

Despite the USA’s main attention being chained to the Asia-Pacific region, in 2013 the European vector of the foreign policy of Washington will get activated. The main directions of such policy will be deepening of economic relations with EU countries and favoring strengthening of their economic security (by starting the delivery of the American liquated gas to the European market included), and intensification of the cooperation with countries of the CIS. The mentioned above actions of the United States of America will aim at keeping European positions of the USA and holding back the growing influence of Russia in Europe and at the post-Soviet territories.

Additional factors of influence on the situation in the world and in individual regions will be as follows:

  • keeping the positive dynamics of the development of a number of countries of the Middle East, Latin America, North Africa, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Brazil, Argentine, South African Republic included;
  • continuation of active efforts of world leading countries and Northern Europe for exploration of Arctic and getting an access to its natural resources;
  • gradual stabilization of the situation in the Balkan Peninsula within the framework of deepening the processes of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries of the Western Balkans.

At the same time, there will remain a number of challenges and threats of the global and regional scales, the main of which will be:

danger of activation of processes of uncontrolled spread of the weapons of mass destruction and means of its delivery in case of Iran’s making a political decision on creation of a nuclear warhead; possibility of new armed conflicts in countries of Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Asia-Pacific region on the ground of the struggle for the natural resources, as well as of political, clan, inter-religious and inter-national contradictions; increase of threats of large scale natural and technological disasters against the background of global climatic changes; negative consequences of the global finance-economic crisis and possibility of new crisis processes.

On the whole, the mentioned above allows to draw the following conclusions in the context of Ukraine’s national interests:

  • due to the growing competition among the leading countries of the world, in 2013 we should expect that the military–political situation will be getting more complicated and global and regional conflict potentials will be growing;
  • despite the gradual shifting of the centre of international activity in political, economic and security spheres into the Asian-Atlantic region, the Central-Eastern Europe will preserve its key importance at the crossing of the interests of the West (the USA, NATO and EU) and the East (Russia and its allies);
  • within the framework of the struggle of the mentioned above interests, the main role will be played by Ukraine, which will be becoming more and more an object of the geo-political confrontation between Western countries and international organizations and Russia;
  • in this context the main efforts of Russia will be made for “involving” Ukraine into integration structures within the framework of the CIS (in the first rate, into the Customs Union with the prospects of its further joining the Eurasian Union), while those of the West - for favoring the processes of the European integration of Ukraine;
  • the development of the mentioned above trends in the military-political sphere will be accompanied by a number of definite economic processes, which will include gradual overcoming the finance-economic crisis by the EU, against the background of which Russia will keep losing its potential of an exporter of energy carriers, and this will keep weakening the Russian economy;
  • increase of the confrontation between the West and Russia (building up of their military potentials in the European and Black Sea regions included), as well as the conflicts near the Ukrainian borders being unsolved, will be creating challenges and risks to national security of Ukraine in the military sphere.

Proceeding from the said above, the following recommendations can be given as to the strategy of Ukraine’s actions in the nearest future:

  • in the situation of the growing pressure from the Russian Federation the main effort of our state should remain its getting energy independence from Russia as the basis for preserving independence and sovereignty of Ukraine;
  • an urgent necessity for Ukraine is diversification of trade-economic relations and their re-orientation from Russia, which is actually using elements of an economic war against our state, to the European Union, China, countries of the Middle East (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey) and of Latin America (Brazil, Argentine), which have a positive position towards Ukraine and have much larger trade-economic potentials;
  • a greater attention of the USA and EU to the post-Soviet territories creates positive opportunities for the activation of the process of the European integration of Ukraine as a necessary precondition for strengthening its regional positions and securing its economic development;
  • successive realization by Ukraine of the main task of its heading in the OSCE in 2013 - the regulation of the “frozen” conflicts in the countries of the CIS, is possible only at the condition of its tight cooperation with the USA and EU on this question. The reason for this is an active support by Russia to the separatist regimes in Trans-Dniester, Abkhazia, Northern Ossetia and Nagorny Karabakh, which is the main reason for the conflicts their having been unsolved for already about 20 years;
  • Growth of the military tension around Ukraine due to the measures of the USA and NATO for deployment of Missile defense systems in Europe, and Russia’s building up units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Western and South-Western regions of the country (striking systems of weapons included) demand an adequate reaction of our state in the aspect of strengthening the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At this such strengthening is possible only in a tight co-operation with NATO and the European defense component as the largest systems of collective security in the world.