What is Forecasting?
Stratfor draws on a disciplined methodology that is based on a sober, geopolitical understanding of the world. When we combine this methodology with a deep appreciation of history, intelligence collected from around the world and a voracious analytical appetite for new and undiscovered anomalies, our team emerges with an understanding of what must happen, rather than what may. This is forecasting.
Endless scenarios can be found in a number of places, but forecasting through the internalization of constraints takes both guts and discipline. What happens today is important, and we put that into context for our readers. But the ability to tell our subscribers what comes next (a month, a year, and even decades from now) is what truly sets us apart.
Please see some of our forecasting highlights below.
Israel and Iran's Nuclear Threat
August 2012: Stratfor maintained its standing assessment that Israel would not launch a unilateral strike on Iranian nuclear facilities giving a low probability on the likelihood of an attack in August 2012. Despite heightened rhetoric and warnings of an imminent attack in the run up to the U.S. presidential elections and Iranian naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the threat and subsequent market volatility have been proven unfounded.
South African Coal
August 2012: Stratfor accurately forecast that the South African coal sector would remain largely insulated from the labor unrest and violence plaguing the precious metals mining sector in August 2012. Our clients were able to position their investments to capitalize on the turmoil and no major disruptions to coal production or exports occurred.
European Financial Crisis as Political Crisis
July 2012: While the financial markets were in a frenzy over the Greek bailout, Stratfor stressed that the financial crisis was a political crisis at its core that would test the German-French relationship.
Syria Becomes a Regional Catalyst
February 2012: As the Syrian crisis evolved from a rebel insurgency to a civil war, Stratfor early on predicted the rise of jihadism in the rebel landscape and a gradual spillover in Iraq that would deepen regional sectarianism and put Iran on the defensive.
Turkish Intervention in Syria
January 2012: Stratfor wrote that “Despite its rhetoric, Turkey will not undertake significant overt military action in Syria unless the United States leads the intervention -- a scenario Stratfor regards as improbable .” Indeed, Turkey chose not to escalate a conflict even when one of its planes was believed to be shot down by the Syrians.
The Egyptian Military's Power
January 2011: Stratfor maintained that the military was the force to watch in Egypt. At a time when many believed a true revolution was underway, Stratfor wrote: “The important thing to remember is that the Egyptian military, since the founding of the modern republic in 1952, has been the guarantor of regime stability. Over the past several decades, the military has allowed former military commanders to form civilian institutions to take the lead in matters of political governance but never has relinquished its rights to the state.”
European Financial Crisis and Greece, Ireland
June 2009: Stratfor accurately forecast that Greece would likely be the first debt-ridden European country to melt down and seek a bailout in the wake of the financial crisis. We also correctly predicted Ireland would be the second.
NATO and the Taliban Negotiate
May 2008: Stratfor investigated the possibility of NATO forces negotiating with the Afghan Taliban. Discussed only behind closed doors at NATO at the time, the policy option didn’t emerge from official sources until Jan. 2010.
Iran's "Green Revolution"
January 2008: Stratfor wrote about divisions among conservatives in Iran’s power circles and identified the elections as a crucial catalyst for these events, more than a year before those divisions became evident to the world during the so-called "Green Revolution" after the June 2009 presidential elections, Stratfor accurately predicted the failure of the uprising.
Turkey's Emergence to Regional Power
July 2007: Stratfor predicted that Turkey would emerge from its post-Ottoman period of introspection and move to reclaim its role as a regional power – a trend demonstrated by Turkey’s 2010 challenge to Israel over that country’s blockade of the Gaza flotilla.
Russia's Resurgence and the Russo-Georgian War
January 2007: Stratfor predicted Russia's resurgence as a major geopolitical power and identified Georgia as a key battleground, more than a year ahead of the Russo-Georgian war in Aug. 2008.
The Devolution of al Qaeda
January 2005: Stratfor began to identify and track the declining influence of al Qaeda as a group and noticed the beginning of a trend in which al Qaeda's main influence was to inspire spin-off groups that are now spread around the world, from Indonesia to Yemen.
European Financial Crisis Coming
January 2002: Stratfor recognized the makings of the European financial crisis and wrote, "The euro's toughest tests will come when recession grips part or all of the eurozone. Europe lacks the economic synchronization of a single country.... What's good for Germany may not be good for Greece.”