30 possible global crises of 2013



Center for Preventive Action provided an overview of the likely events of the next year

One of the most widely sides of approved election of President Obama was his oft-repeated promise to carry out "national unity at home" in his second term. This goal is posed by many presidents before their re-election, but most of this is prevented by unforeseen circumstances in the world. In the Middle East in a precarious state of the stock of Syrian chemical weapons in Asia, China's territorial disputes with U.S. ally in the contract becomes more intense, and in North Africa, growth and cooperation of Al-Qaeda-inspired extremists can create a haven for international terrorism. President Obama and his new administration's foreign policy can not plan, to prevent or contain all the crises that the United States might face in 2013.

With the upcoming slight reduction in spending on defense and foreign policy budget they will need to keep the focus of possible events that require alertness of the governing politicians. Overview of prevention priorities of the Centre for preventive action designed to identify possible contingencies and rank them according to how their potential impact on U.S. interests, and on the likelihood of their occurrence in 2013.

Long-term readers of our annual reviews will notice changes in our methodology. The first time we used to review crowdsourcing (public involvement through the Internet; approx. Mixednews.ru) to identify 30 possible unforeseen events, which are reflected in this review. Using social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc.), we have received hundreds of suggestions from all participants via the Internet, allowing the media to bypass filters, usually seeking to focus attention only on the topics of the day. For example, if you rely on the media to anticipate the recent unrest in Mali, you would have missed the seething discontent wide corrupt and incompetent government in Bamako before the recent uprising and revolution.

Compared to the 2012 survey of the most noticeable change this year is the addition of ranking probability. Earlier, we asked respondents to rank the thirty possible events based on their potential impact, but by integrating the probability of the politicians now have the full range of the most pressing strategic priorities. We have introduced this additional rating in the full knowledge that the international crisis, as it is known, it is difficult to predict. Even the U.S. intelligence community 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 the intelligence community status of B + or A-for the Arab Spring, many would call a fairly low estimate.

We received expert opinions outside of the intelligence community, interviewing more than 1,500 U.S. government officials, university researchers, forecasters and analysts to rank the likelihood and potential impact of thirty possible events obtained by the preliminary crowdsourcing.

Many of the likely level events I (for example, high priority preventive), which appeared in the survey last year, still remain, indicating that their obstinacy. 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 increased tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku / Diaoyu, the threat has only intensified, with weak signs of improvement on the horizon. At the same time, other events of the level I expected in 2013. For example, there are signs of action against the Iranian nuclear crisis, military or diplomatic means.

In a review of 2012 also highlighted the possibility of "unleashing a broad civil violence in Syria." Unfortunately, this scenario has become a reality, and instability in Syria, apparently, is far from complete. In this regard, the intensification of Syrian civil war was the only plausible view event of the year, which at the same time has a high probability and high potential impact on U.S. interests. Another troubling aspect of the Syrian crisis — the possibility of acquiring chemical weapons by non-state actors — I also gained a level in the ranking. President Obama's warning that the use of such weapons may cross the "red line" shows that the United States could be drawn into a deep and protracted conflict.

But not all events of level I still remain. Severe North Korean crisis, for example, has fallen to a level II (ie, preventive priorities average). There was a change of leader Kim Jong-un is less need to assert themselves in front of the defense department of the country through provocations against South Korea. Also other events shifted to the level II. Constant terrorist activities of Boko Haram and hard answers from the Nigerian security forces have increased the likelihood that Nigeria could face increased political instability.

Events with the lowest priority are to level III. They range from the outbreak of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh before the resumption of violence in connection with the elections in Kenya. We understand that politicians can safely ignore the possible events are a low priority. However, the possible effects of level events III — the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan — show why it should not do. In Sudan's civil war killed about two million people, and its resolution was a diplomatic triumph for the United States. While there is not jeopardized the fundamental interests of the United States, the resumption of war would destroy the diplomatic win and probably would have led to a further humanitarian catastrophe.

Since the review is limited to thirty possible events, we also asked respondents to add the possible crises that we have missed. Here are some notable deals:

— the outbreak of a third Palestinian intifada

— broad popular unrest in China, caused discontent economic prospects and political reforms

— escalation of US-Iranian military conflict in the Persian Gulf

— crisis in the Sino-Indian border

— appearance of instability and violence in Ethiopia in connection with the election

— unrest in Cuba after Fidel Castro's death and / or loss of legal capacity by Raul Castro

— broad political unrest in Venezuela after the death or loss of capacity Hugo Chavez

A review, there is no shortage of crises for consideration by the Obama administration. Even if the president will try to do their own internal priorities, it can not ignore the warning signs from abroad for emergency situations.

Authors: Micah Zenko — the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Andrew Miller has been involved with the Agency for International Development in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is the center of the analyst preventive action by the Council on Foreign Relations.

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