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Themes

Themes are core Stratfor narratives -- longer-term trend lines that are both encompassing and enduring.

The United States cannot involve itself in every situation that impinges on its power; doing so would exhaust its resources and leave it vulnerable to challenges from potential rivals.
Mexico's proximity to the United States has given it a rich, powerful and stalwart trading partner right across its northern border. But this has made Mexico dependent on the United States — vulnerable, in other words, to changes in U.S. policy.
Buffered by vast major oceans, integrated by extensive river networks, blessed with arable lands and awash in natural resources, the United States is uniquely suited to capitalize on its geographic advantages — and to project the power those advantages confer.
Economies that rely too heavily on commodities are hostages to the marketplace.
Immigration presents leaders a difficult dilemma: How do you weigh the stewardship of your own people against the moral imperative — and in some cases the economic need — to allow foreign peoples to cross your borders?
The oil market, having been wrecked by overproduction in 2015, is slowly but surely beginning to recover.
It is little surprise, then, that globalization is now an object of contempt in the countries that were once its biggest advocates — countries that have begun to elect leaders who promise to right the wrongs globalization has wrought.
Economies with fewer but more expensive workers tend to resist stimulation, and as economic growth slows, only the governments with innovative spirit, and the political will, to adapt to the times will able to do more with less.
Over the next two decades, robotics, 3-D printing, automation, the Internet of Things and other related technologies will radically change the way economies behave — just as the advent of manufacturing did centuries ago.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union understood the opportunities space creates, so they tried to best each other as much outside the planet as inside it.
Fundamental differences among Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Europe have always prevented wholesale cooperation on the Continent, and the creation of the European Union never really reconciled those differences.
Though the Middle East has never been a picture of stability, the region has had at least a semblance of order for the past hundred or so years, held together as it was by authoritarian regimes that for all their failings managed to keep the region from devolving into outright chaos.
The monarchies and military dictatorships of the modern Middle East are under threat from a potent combination of Islam and democracy.
The terms of the contract are simple: Governments give their constituents a high quality of life, and their constituents give their governments their absolute loyalty.
Sanctions and negotiations have failed to dissuade Pyongyang from abandoning this strategy, so world powers have only two options for coping with North Korea: militarily intervene before it acquires a weapon or begin to shape defense strategies based on the assumption that it will inevitably acquire one.
The jihadist movement may be dominated by just two groups, al Qaeda and the Islamic State, but they have ideological differences that cannot be reconciled.
As a global power, Russia is a shadow of its former self, but that won’t stop Moscow from using every means at its disposal — its military, security services, financial tools, cultural ties, propaganda, political connections and cyber-capabilities — to defend itself from what it sees as Western encroachment on its border, on its borderlands, on its interests around the world.
As Russian leaders try to prevent their country from collapsing altogether, Russia will cease to be the nominal democracy it is now and become an outright autocracy.
The Caucasus, Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Central Asia are just as important now as they were during the Cold War — and for nearly the same reasons.
Moscow has expanded its trade ties throughout the Asia-Pacific region, particularly with China, South Korea and Japan. But those ties come at a price: Moscow has begun to involve itself in the affairs of others, jumping into contentious regional issues to gain influence and to challenge the United States.
China cannot evolve economically without also evolving politically.
Standing in the way of Japan's awakening are unprecedented economic and demographic problems, the solutions to which will require but radical changes to the country’s technological, political, social and economic structures — changes that will difficult to accept, let alone implement
China’s rivals are doing all they can to contain its expansion, in part by leveraging economic cooperation with Beijing and in part by forging alliances with outside powers such as the United States, Japan and Australia.
Few countries are better positioned to capitalize on the opportunities created by China’s economic transition than the 10 states that constitute the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Central Asia has throughout history been an arena in which greater powers have vied for influence and, in more recent years, competed for natural resources.
Militancy is fact of life in South Asia. Taliban insurgents, Islamic State jihadists, Baloch rebels and Kashmiri separatists all operate there, and they are able to do so because South Asian governments simply cannot control the farthest reaches of their territories — or the porous borders that define them.
The world’s largest democracy is not only a nuclear power but also one of its fastest growing economies, one that is supported by a massive labor pool flush with tech-savvy and English-speaking workers. And though this has created pockets of prosperity throughout the country, it ignores India’s boasts high rates of poverty and corruption and inadequate infrastructure — problems that are difficult to solve with a political system as diffused, disruptive and bureaucratic as India’s.
Even when it is not formally in control — as it has been off and on for nearly half the country’s history — the military has still been singularly influential in Pakistan’s political affairs, endowed as it is with the power to make or break the heads of the civilian government.
East Africa is a potential success story on a continent that tells too few of them.
No longer beholden to the politics of colonialism or of the Cold War, Sub-Saharan Africa now has more suitors than it once did. These suitors, most notably China, Japan, India, Turkey, see the region as a commodity rich, economically dynamic destination for investment opportunity.
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