Reconciliation between Washington and Tehran could remake Mideast relations
Predicting which geopolitical events and trends will shape the coming year is a pastime as speculative as it is irresistible.
There is plenty to anticipate: China and Japan may become more aggressive and provocative over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, contributing to instability in East Asia. Radical fundamentalists will wage war from new bases in Mali, Libya and Syria. Turkey may become more polarized and fail to recover the promising role it played in regional politics until a couple of years ago. Nationalist and far-right political parties will gain strength in Europe. President Barack Obama’s decision to approve or reject the massive Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico will profoundly affect global energy markets. If King Saud dies — he will turn 90 this year — Saudi Arabia will be racked by an intense struggle over succession and the direction of the kingdom.