Geopolitical Futures is a publication dedicated to predicting the future course of the international system. In doing so, Geopolitical Futures challenges two assumptions. First, that political leaders decide what they will do and individual actions can’t be predicted. Second, that there is no methodology for predicting non-quantitative events.
The fact is that political leaders’ decisions are not individual decisions made independent of external factors or domestic circumstances. Leaders come to conclusions based on the various pressures that are placed on them by the international system, as well as by internal political considerations. Having been shaped by their struggle to attain power, they follow a rational course of action when in power and, therefore, their decisions are predictable.
The second assumption, that non-quantitative forecasting is impossible, is untrue. Human beings make successful decisions daily based on non-quantitative models. The models are informal. Geopolitical Futures uses a formal methodology known as “Geopolitics,” along with other methods, to model how the international system is working and will evolve over time.
The founder of Geopolitical Futures, George Friedman, who also founded the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, has built a career on successful geopolitical forecasts. Some of the events predicted in his books include a crisis in the EU, the economic decline of China, the re-emergence of Russia, a confrontation over Ukraine, a U.S.-Iranian entente and increasing tensions with Israel. These forecasts were made almost six years ago and have already materialized. There are others that may yet come to fruition. The question “can anyone predict geopolitical trends?” has been answered: the track record shows it.
Geopolitical Futures will continue that forecasting process for the learned public, those who follow and are interested in better understanding international events. It is a publication that will create a set of forecasts – including 25 year and annual projections – and then monitor events and trends daily to see if the forecast is emerging, adjust it as necessary, and reject it should that ever be required. It also identifies new themes that must be modeled. In addition, Geopolitical Futures provides daily analysis and focuses on emerging events that might not have long-term significance, but still matter very much today.
One of the critical tasks of forecasting is to distinguish what matters from what doesn’t. There are a staggering number of political and current events happening each day. Many of them make the headlines but few of them matter very much for the course of the international system. Newspapers and other publications can spend their time on marginal events that matter to very few people. Geopolitical Future’s team, led by George Friedman, will continually highlight what’s important and give you continued insight into why it matters, and what to expect next.
We have two principles: The first is scrupulous objectivity. There are those who say perfect objectivity is impossible. The same can be said for love or a curve ball. That does not relieve you of the responsibility to try to come as close as possible. Our test for achieving this objectivity is simple: can you change your mind? Our staff is hired based on quality of mind, and at the heart of our standard for our analysts is a requirement that they be able to change their minds. Certainly, there is no room for ideology.
Our second principle is respect for our readers. Our readers are people who care deeply about international affairs or foreign policy and already know a great deal. We will respect you in the highest way possible: by writing as clearly as possible and offering to show you things you might not have noticed. Respect for our reader’s intellect is at the core of what we do.
We will publish as much or as little as required. When there is nothing particularly important happening on a given day, we will tell you that and not trouble you by filling in space or making up significant events. When there are significant events or indicators of important new trends, we will keep you constantly updated not only on what is happening, but far more importantly, on what these events mean and what will happen next. We are analysts, and our job is to focus on the future. That’s what you get at Geopolitical Futures.
By Jacob Shapiro
Understanding Geopolitics Starts Here.