The past year brought a slew of major geopolitical shifts: the entrenchment and expansion of Islamic State; a newly assertive Russian foreign policy in the Middle East; a long-anticipated nuclear deal between Iran and the West; yet another rescue of an insolvent Greece by the troika; a series of new bottoms in global oil prices; and the first rumblings of US-China superpower conflict in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Before embarking on the new forecast series, we’ll revisit some of the major flashpoints of 2015.
‘Rough Waters for the Euro Zone’
The global financial crisis of 2008-9 strained the Greek government’s ability to service its mountain of debt, triggering a multiyear sovereign debt crisis and financial bailouts that nearly brought the bloc to its knees. As 2015 dawned, the left-wing Syriza party seemed poised to form a government after a hung parliament though much of 2014. To many at the time, a Syriza majority meant a final showdown between Brussels and Athens, one that might see Greece leaving the euro zone for good.
Geopoliticalmonitor.com predicted that Greece would remain in the euro zone one way or another, either via a last-minute swell of support for the pro-bailout coalition or an overly timid Syriza government that was ultimately more interested in securing a better austerity deal for Greece than following up with an in-out ultimatum.