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Strategic Outlook 2021

What kind of world will probably emerge after a year of pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions? That’s the question answered by the Strategic Outlook 2021, a document produced by Risk Advisory’s Security Intelligence & Analysis Service (SIAS).

At best, the forecasters see more of the same, or things worsening. Overall, they argue, the coronavirus pandemic raised the stakes in geopolitics; and ‘laid bare deeply dysfunctional relations within and between countries’, as well as the state of governance.

Henry Wilkinson, Chief Intelligence Officer at The Risk Advisory Group, says: “The rollout of vaccines raises the possibility that the coronavirus will be brought under some semblance of control by the end of the year. But recovery is likely to be uneven and highly politicised, and come amid significant change, uncertainty and instability.”

“The strategic outlook for 2021 is a world that is more unstable, less-cooperative and more prone to crises and conflicts. The coronavirus pandemic has raised the stakes in geopolitics. It has also laid bare deeply dysfunctional relations within and between countries, as well as the state of governance worldwide. The common response to the virus has been containment and control. This is likely to be an apt description for how many governments behave more broadly in 2021.”

Most of the analysis is on a regional basis. For example, under Europe, SIAS suggests that large protests and bouts of unrest are most likely in Czech Republic, France, Romania, Spain, the UK, and to a lesser extent Italy. “These all had large protest movements before the pandemic, and their healthcare systems and economies have been among the hardest hit. There are also signs that there will be an accompanying rise in activism from anti-liberalist extremists across the political spectrum.”

Like much risk forecasting, the document is based on open source data analysis and intelligence, speaking with sources, political science, and threat and risk assessment; and analysts’ judgement. Intriguingly, it also offers ‘outliers’; things that may well not happen, but are not beyond possibility, and are so significant or extreme that they at least ought to be considered; such as political instability due to a ruler’s sudden death. To request a copy of the Outlook, visit

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