Looking Forward To 2015 Foreign Policy Landscape

While the U.S. and NATO officially closed down the operational command in Afghanistan, symbolically ending the 13-year war, threats from Taliban forces remain. In fact, the last year has witnessed some of the most intense battles since the start of the war, notes The Wall Street Journal.

And the forecast is not particularly bright in Afghanistan.

“I hope I’m wrong, but I fear 2015 will be a lot bloodier,” one Afghan official told The Journal.

“Presidents propose action, and then reality intervenes. This cycle holds special irony in the case of President Obama. A year ago, it looked like he might end two of the longest wars in U.S. history by the time he left office. As of today, President Obama has involved the United States in five evolving conflicts, and there is little prospect any of them will be over by the time the next president is inaugurated, unless the United States chooses to disengage and lose,” wrote Center for Strategic and International Studies scholar Anthony Cordesman recently, according to Politico.

According to the Preventive Priorities Survey 2015, which was conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action, foreign policy experts cited Iraq as the conflict that holds the highest probability of worsening in 2015 with an armed confrontation in the South China Sea also topping its list of concerns.

The experts also viewed the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and an intensification of Israeli-Palestinian tensions, as issues that will continue to pose problems in 2015.

The Brookings Institution’s African Growth Initiative examines what 2015 holds for Africa from elections to the development agenda.

Other Commentary

Jonathan Eyal writes in the Straits Times that 2014 was a year marked by fundamental strategic shifts in the global order with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the decline of the United States, but he says 2015 may look very different.

“Tensions have lingered for years, but it was in 2014 that the eerie calm was shattered, and great-power politics came back with a vengeance. The most spectacular example of this is, of course, Russia, which stormed back on to Europe’s strategic stage with its military intervention in Ukraine,” he writes.

Looking ahead, he contends the “main imponderable for 2015 is whether China and a number of other key developing nations would seize the opportunity provided by Russia to advance claims for spheres of influence of their own, or to make common cause with Russia against the West.”

Paul Craig Roberts opines that the next year holds the potential for real conflict with Russia because of the way Washington has handled foreign policy in 2014.

“Washington’s reckless aggressive policy against Russia has resurrected the nuclear arms race.  Russia is developing two new ICBM systems and in 2016 will deploy a weapons system designed to negate the US anti-ballistic missile system. In short, the evil warmongers that rule in Washington have set the world on the path to nuclear Armageddon,” argues Roberts.

The Atlantic predicts which global conflicts will emerge in 2015.


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