The center for preventive action provided an overview of the likely events of next year. One of the most broadly approves of the parties to the election campaign of President Obama was his oft-repeated promise to carry out "the unity of the nation at home" during his second term.
This objective is pursued by many presidents before their re-election, but most often this is prevented by unforeseen circumstances in the world. In the middle East as risky as is the stock of Syrian chemical weapons; in Asia, China's territorial disputes with US ally under the agreement is becoming more intense; in North Africa, growth and cooperation inspired by al-Qaida extremists can create a haven for international terrorism. President Obama and his new administration on foreign policy can't plan for, prevent or deter all the crises that the United States may face in 2013. If you are coming to a small reduction in defense spending and foreign policy the budget they need to keep the focus of possible events, which require vigilance from senior politicians. Review priorities from preventive Center for preventive action aims to identify likely contingencies and rank them as to their potential impact on U.S. interests and their likelihood of occurrence in 2013.
Longstanding readers of our annual reviews will notice a change in our methodology. The first time we used for review of crowdsourcing (engaging the public through the Internet) to identify 30 possible unexpected events that have been reflected in this review. Using social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc.) we have received hundreds of assumptions from all participants via the Internet, which allowed to bypass the filter of the media, typically tending to focus only on topics of the day. For example, if you relied on the media to anticipate the recent unrest in Mali, you would have missed the wildness of widespread discontent over the corrupt and incompetent government in Bamako before the recent uprising and revolution.
Compared to the overview 2012 the most visible change this year is the addition of ranking on probability. Earlier, we asked respondents to rank thirty possible events on the basis of their potential effects; however, due to the integration of the likelihood the politicians now have a full range of the most pressing strategic priorities. We introduced this additional rating with full awareness that international crises are notoriously difficult to predict. Even the intelligence Agency of the USA with a total annual budget of $75 billion was seized by surprise the most important geopolitical event of the past decade: the Arab spring. Although the Director of national intelligence James Clapper gave to intelligence agencies the status of a B+ or A - for the Arab spring, many rightly would call such a low rating.
We have received expert assessment outside of the intelligence agencies, interviewing more than 1,500 U.S. civil servants, University scientists and analysts-forecasters to rank the likelihood and potential impact of thirty possible events obtained by the preliminary crowdsourcing.
Many of the probable level I events (e.g., high preventive priorities), which appeared in the review last year, still remain, indicating that their stubbornness. For example, the prospect of a major military incident with China involving U.S. forces and allies has not disappeared over the past twelve months. Rather, because of the increased tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu, the threat has only intensified, with weak signs of improvement on the horizon. At the same time other level I events are expected in 2013. For example, there are signs of action against the Iranian nuclear crisis by military or diplomatic means.
In the survey of 2012 also highlighted the possibility of a wide outbreak of civil violence in Syria." Unfortunately, today this scenario has become a reality, and instability in Syria, apparently, far from complete. In this regard, the intensification of the Syrian civil war was the only probable event of this year's survey, which simultaneously has a high probability and high potential impact on U.S. interests. Another alarming aspect of the Syrian crisis – the possibility of acquiring chemical weapons by non-state actors – has also received a level I ranking. Warning President Obama that the use of such weapons would cross a "red line" shows that the United States could be dragged into a deep and protracted conflict.
But not all level I events still remain. A severe North Korean crisis, for example, dropped to level II (i.e., preemptive priorities, the average level). The country has seen a change of leader, Kim Jong-UN is less need to assert themselves in front of the defense Ministry of the country through provocations against South Korea. Other events have moved to level II. Constant terrorist activity of Boko Haram and harsh responses from the Nigerian security forces have raised the possibility that Nigeria could face increased political instability.
Events with the lowest priority are level III. These range from the outbreak of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh prior to the resumption of violence in connection with elections in Kenya. We understand that politicians can safely ignore possible events that are low priority. However, the possible consequences of events of level III – the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan – show why it should not do. In the Sudanese civil war killed nearly two million people, and its resolution was a diplomatic triumph of the United States. Although there is not compromised the basic interests of the United States, the resumption of war would destroy the diplomatic win and probably would lead to further humanitarian disaster.
Because the review itself is limited to thirty possible events, we also asked respondents to add potential crises that we might have missed. Here are some notable offers: — the outbreak of a third Palestinian intifada — wide riots in China caused by dissatisfaction with economic prospects and political reforms — the escalation of us-Iranian military conflict in the Persian Gulf crisis on the Sino-Indian border — the emergence of instability and violence in Ethiopia in connection with the election, unrest in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro and/or loss of legal capacity by Raul Castro — wide political unrest in Venezuela after the death or loss of legal capacity of Hugo Chavez
The review shows that there is no shortage of crises for the consideration of the Obama administration. Even if the President tries to deal with its internal priorities, he cannot ignore the warning signs from abroad on emergency situations.
Authors: Micah Zenko is fellow of the center for preventive action at the Council on foreign relations. Andrew Miller participated in the projects of the Agency for international development in Iraq and Afghanistan and is an analyst of the center for preventive action Council on foreign relations.
Tags: assessment , crisis , forecasts