The private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, has made its annual forecast for what 2016 might bring – and some of its predictions are unsettling.
"With old geopolitical realities resurfacing across Eurasia and commodity prices stuck in a slump, 2016 is shaping up to be an unsettling year for much of the world," the firm said in an overview of the report.
The overview went on to describe some of the geopolitical and economic conditions, as they exist today.
This still image from undated video released by Islamic State militants on Oct. 3, 2014, purports to show the militant known as Jihadi John. A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, according to American officials. Whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages was not known, officials said. (AP Photo/File)
"The U.S. and Russia are still locked in an intractable standoff. Nationalism is resurfacing in Europe. The price of oil and other commodities are low. Chinese consumption is falling. And countries around the world are more resolved than ever before to intensify their military campaigns against the Islamic State," it stated.
The way in which all of these "connected" trends play out, the firm added, will determine how "tumultuous" the next year will be.
The forecast predicts that Turkey will begin to flex its militaristic muscle more, moving into Northern Syria and trying to occupy parts of Iraq in an effort to weaken the Islamic State. Russia, it predicts, will try to gain leverage with the U.S. as both countries try to advance their interests in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. But the U.S. will give little, using counterterrorism operations to deny the Kremlin the leverage it seeks, while strengthening relations with European partners.
The firm also predicts that as terrorist organizations try to expand more into the Western world, European nations will embrace a sense of nationalism, minimizing free movement between European Union countries.
Meanwhile, rising commodity prices and interest rates will create problems in Latin America, where Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff faces threats of impeachment and where Venezuela could elect a new, reform-oriented president, giving way to challenges for that country's United Socialist Party of Venezuela and risking possible default on the Latin American country's foreign debt, according to the analysis.
The events of the "unsettling year" will bring about "an even more tumultuous 2017," the forecast predicts.
Read more about the report here.