The Ottoman Empire

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Sept. 26, 2016 In our 2040 forecast, we identified Turkey as a major emerging power. We believe it will project power southwards into the Middle East, westwards into Europe and northwards into the Black Sea region. However, Turkey is currently mired in problems at home and struggling on the international front. This was the case even before the July 15 coup attempt.

The State of Play in Northern Syria

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Earlier this month, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to try to clear Kurdish forces from the Turkey-Syria border and establish a "safe zone." Here, we outline some of the key events of the past month in the ongoing conflict there.

Venezuela’s Oil Industry Decline by the Numbers

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The United States is the biggest importer of Venezuelan crude oil, and its sanctions will likely hit the industry hard.

Nuclear Weapons Around the World

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The global inventory of nuclear warheads has been decreasing since the mid-1980s. Still, there are thousands of warheads deployed and stockpiled around the world, and only two countries account for 90 percent of them.

Economic Pitfalls and Political Uncertainty in Argentina

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Earlier this month, Argentine President Mauricio Macri lost presidential primary elections to opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez, leaving Macri’s chances of winning reelection in doubt. The result came amid high inflation and a struggling economy, which Macri had tried to address using a series of austerity measures.

In the US, a Farm Bankruptcy Bulge

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Across the U.S. agriculture industry, Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings for farms have increased 24 percent over the past year.

Public Confidence in India’s Prime Minister

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Nov. 17, 2017 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revolutionary vision for his country’s future bears little resemblance to its present, yet polls suggest that a strong majority of Indian society may have bought into that vision. According to a Pew survey released this week, 88 percent of Indians hold a favorable view of Modi, and 83 percent are satisfied with the state of the economy. Most notably, 70 percent said they were satisfied with the direction their country is moving in. Just 29 percent felt this way in 2013 – the year before Modi took office – which means there has been a seismic shift in public sentiment in India.

Modi’s vision can be boiled down to three elements: strengthening the central government, strengthening the military and strengthening Indian society. The third element is in many ways the most daunting. India is a vast collection of religions, ethnicities and languages. Modi doesn’t view this diversity as an advantage. He is a Hindu nationalist, and he wants India to be a nation-state with a uniquely Hindu identity.

Ottoman Empire Borders Versus Modern-Day Borders

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May 3, 2016 This map is designed to show some of the hidden fault lines underlying the states of the Middle East, and the reasons these states, which were held together by foreign powers and domestic tyrants, disintegrated.

The Ottoman Empire lasted for about six centuries before it collapsed after World War I. Towards the waning years of the 17th century, its forces had penetrated as far west as Vienna. Its power and reach were enormous and enduring. The green areas of the map show what remained of the empire in the mid-19th century, after it was long past its prime. Its power had declined, but the extent of its rule, even in decline, bound together a region reaching from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula and to a large part of North Africa.

The Philippines’ Perspective

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Jan. 20, 2017 China is keenly interested in the Philippines because a Chinese-Philippine alliance would solve China’s main strategic weakness – the various choke points around its coast that it cannot currently control. The United States wants to continue to use the Philippines as a key part of its naval strategy in the Pacific, as it has for decades, because the Philippines is highly valuable strategic territory and Philippine alignment with the U.S. is a key part of U.S. naval dominance in the Pacific. The Philippines wants to gain some degree of independence in its foreign policy, and that means not being too dependent on any outside power.

South Korean Exports

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Dec. 21, 2015 South Korea’s economy is exposed to substantial risk due to the economic slowdown in its largest trading partner, China, and some concerns of resulting political instability are beginning to emerge. The country’s economic difficulties can be seen through its export figures. South Korean exports are thought of as a bellwether in the global financial community because they are released consistently at the beginning of the month and because South Korea is a producer of a wide variety of goods. These numbers have been negative all year and year-to-date South Korean exports are down 7.5 percent.

Signs of Instability in Russia

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March 10, 2017 Approximately one year from now, on March 18, 2018, Russia will hold a presidential election against the backdrop of an economic crisis that will continue to plague the country in the coming year. Internal developments are the key issue facing Russia this year, and the countryside will increasingly show signs of crisis.

Russia faces a number of social and economic problems that have resulted in unrest. After oil prices dropped in late 2014, the country began to experience economic and labor protests. Since then, unrest has continued to spread across Russia. Wage arrears (workers owed back pay), which affect both public and private workers, have become increasingly problematic in oil-dependent and single-industry economies throughout Russia’s interior and in port cities. Cuts in social programs that affect payments to veterans and children have also led to public protests.

Venezuelans, Caught in the Crossfire

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As the world chooses sides in the fight between Venezuela’s two presidents, millions of civilians are struggling to survive.