America Transitions, Europe Fissures and Putin Becomes the Winner?

Judging from the current situation, in 2017, European nations and the United States will expend more energy domestically, perhaps objectively giving Russia room to breathe.

In Europe, with Brexit and looming elections in Germany, France and Italy, plus the refugee issue and economic decline, it feels as if the EU has not even the time to care for itself. In the U.S., Trump is about to enter the White House, and because of his close relations with Russian President Putin, it is conjectured that this will aid the amelioration of Russian relations with the EU and the U.S.

Will the united front of Western nations against Russia start to break? Although such an event could not take place within one short year, 2017 will certainly be a pivotal one. Western media holds that the EU is destined to fail, and Russia will use such an opportunity to strengthen itself.

According to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Stratfor is a private American company specializing in intelligence gathering and espionage work. Its analysts are geopolitical experts, and its forecasts normally command significant attention. Many refer to the company as the “shadow CIA” because it regularly provides its clients with detailed information about the global strategic situation.

Stratfor publishes an annual prediction report for the upcoming year, and its 2017 forecast focused mainly on the U.S. under the Trump administration. Trump’s capture of the White House and his close relationship with Russian President Putin have this year’s report contrasting markedly with those of previous years.

The “shadow CIA” stated that with the help of President Trump, Russia’s position in Eurasia will improve. In a recent report on Russia, Stratfor states, “Over the past year, mounting tensions have exposed the cracks in the united Western front against Russia.” The most prominent example of internal conflict in Europe was Brexit. This top geopolitical firm is worried about this year’s major upcoming elections in Europe, including those in Germany and France, and possibly Italy, stating that they “could further widen the divides in the Continental bloc and challenge the future of European integration.” The report also expressed concern over the rising influence of European far-right political parties.

The report notes that the EU’s problems will further intensify. “The question for 2017 is to what degree these elections expedite its dissolution. Whether moderates or extremists claim victory in 2017, Europe will still be hurtling toward a breakup into regional blocs,” the report says.

The report states that the EU crisis will be exploited by Russia through product sanctions and prohibitions of EU products. Russia will have in Trump a sort of passive “friend,” since he is the only one with the power to reign in Russia. Moscow’s growing influence will further advance its already close relations with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, all becoming powerful allies. There will also be other countries to join in, and as Russia negotiates with the West, it will brandish its peace building role in the Middle East. It appears possible to bring the Syrian conflict to an end, but Russia will still maintain close relations with Iran, while the latter’s relations with the United States deteriorate over the issue of the nuclear accord.

Although Stratfor does not guarantee that its predictions will play out as written, it is possible that an inexperienced president in charge of the world’s most powerful country and the strife in the EU may offer Russia a lucky chance.

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