The Shadow CIA Stratfor Says 2017 is Going to be Year of the Russian Bear

SPUTNIKNEWS – December 28, 2016:  In 2017, Russia has a chance to shift the Eurasian balance of power in its favor. That’s according to the analysis of US intelligence group Stratfor, the firm commonly referred to as ‘The Shadow CIA.’ The think tank’s latest analysis is a far cry from the prediction it made just a year ago, when it claimed that Russia was on the verge of collapse.

Stratfor’s latest report explains that a new president in the White House, combined with the crisis in the European Union, will help relieve Western pressure on the Kremlin. This, in turn, will result in countries of the former USSR “reassessing their relationship” with both Moscow and the Western powers. However, the report also says that Russia’s “standoff with the West” will continue to “endure and evolve” in the new year. The past three years haven’t been easy for Moscow, Stratfor says, with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia tugged into the Western orbit of the EU and NATO, while the Western Alliance persistently expanded its military presence, including the first elements of a missile defense shield, along Russian borders. Sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, combined with falling energy prices, helped precipitate a recession in Russia, while Moscow’s involvement in Syria “has so far failed to yield the grand bargain that Moscow was hoping for.”

In any case, Stratfor noted that “2017 could herald a new phase for Russia’s standoff with the West.” Specifically, its analysis explains, “mounting tensions have exposed…cracks in the united Western front against Russia,” with the Brexit vote ‘revealing deep rifts’ in the EU, with Donald Trump’s election victory portending the prospects of a radical shift in US policy toward Moscow.

Whatever the case may be, Stratfor argues that the cracks in unity among Western countries’ anti-Russian vector will also “enable Russia to recoup some of its influence in the former Soviet periphery.”

“Moscow will probably also gain influence in states such as Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan,” the think tank says, pointing to the recent signing of agreements on military cooperation with both countries. “Moscow will also try to assume a more active role in ensuring Central Asia’s security in the coming year, as the historically stable region reckons with a variety of challenges.” The latter point is hard to argue, given Russia’s battle with terrorism, and Central Asia’s vulnerability to that threat.

“These factors will keep Russia from taking full advantage of the turmoil and uncertainty in the West as their standoff stretches into a new year. Nonetheless, the country could make significant headway in its negotiations with the West and its former sphere of influence in 2017,” the think tank concludes. All in all, Stratfor’s analysis is a dramatic reversal from the one it published just last year, where the intelligence firm absurdly predicted Russia’s imminent collapse. Link: Read Complete Article

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