ECA NovNext year will be defined by a ‘global unravelling’, according to the ninth annual Strategic Outlook from security intelligence experts Dragonfly, with a likely security crisis over Taiwan, escalating tensions between China and the US, and a prolonged conflict in Ukraine. Together they paint a picture of an increasingly volatile world that is seeing the erosion of its existing systems of global cooperation and governance.

These are just three of the 520 thematic and regional forecasts from Dragonfly’s Strategic Outlook. It also provides senior leaders and risk specialists with detailed scenarios with warning indicators for 15 geopolitical flashpoints, key monitoring points and dates, and interactive risk dashboards to inform executive business decisions.

The Strategic Outlook has a strong track record, demonstrated in last year’s forecast which warned that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was high nearly three months before it occurred, against the common grain of thinking at the time. This allowed some clients to have adequate time to plan evacuations and take action pre-invasion.

Dragonfly’s specialists assess that the geopolitical risk of greatest consequence to the global order in 2023 is the prospect of a security crisis in the Taiwan Strait. Although an invasion is highly unlikely, a security crisis such as a naval blockade is increasingly probable. This would cause numerous supply chain and inflationary pressures that would further the global unravelling, and potentially turn it into a near virtual collapse of the global order.

Some of the other key trends and forecasts that Dragonfly project and assess for 2023 include:

  • Vladimir Putin’s unpopular mobilisation is likely to fail to reverse Russia’s fortunes in the Ukraine conflict, and why the likely consequence is to prolong the conflict indefinitely, while simultaneously escalating the diplomatic and economic pressure on Europe and Ukraine.
  • US-China relations are likely to deteriorate even further, with it being likely that US authorities introduce further barriers to high-tech firms doing business in China to try and delay Chinese self-sufficiency.
  • It’s likely that there will be a further deterioration in relations on the Korean peninsula in 2023, and why this is more likely than not to result in Pyongyang restarting its testing of nuclear weapons, prompting live-fire exercise by South Korea and the US.
  • US Federal Reserve hikes are a key risk driver in Latin America, with any default on loan repayments to the US probably being a precursor to serious economic crises in the region.

Henry Wilkinson, Chief Intelligence Officer at Dragonfly, explains: “The systems, institutions, and orders that have underpinned relative global stability and security for decades are unravelling and taking new forms. Strategic Outlook 2023 provides our latest assessment of persistent volatility as the world rapidly adapts to changes and challenges shaped by war, great power competition, and economic turmoil.”

David Claridge, Chief Executive Officer of Dragonfly, says: “At a time where forecasting political risks is especially crucial to sustain business operations, Strategic Outlook 2023 allows the world’s leading organisations and decision makers to anticipate threats and plan how they will react to them with confidence. The strength and depth of the excellent Dragonfly team means we are able to offer ever-better estimates of global and regional challenges that lie ahead.”

To access Strategic Outlook 2023 in full, click here.

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