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15 for 2015: Forecasts for the Asia-Pacific

The upcoming year will demand prudent and informed U.S. engagement to help support regional stability and economic progress in Asia. Despite recent international collaboration on environmental concerns, economic reforms, and counterterrorism, 2015 will raise many of the same national security and political dilemmas that defined 2014.

Already, 2015 has begun on tense terms. On the security front, nuclear proliferation, cyber insecurity, and a resurgence of militant activity in the Middle East have amplified the need for U.S. leadership at home and abroad. The U.S. imposed new sanctions against North Korean actors after cyberattacks on Sony Pictures took the world by surprise. China will continue to pull its neighbors into maritime disputes while trying to secure its status as a major power. Meanwhile, Russia, tied by Western sanctions, will use 2015 to strengthen energy and economic partnerships with Asia. The United States, for its part, may succeed in balancing out Russia and China by approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership and implementing a stronger economic and military rebalance to Asia.

Momentum is building in both India and Indonesia after they elected innovative leaders eager to recast their countries’ standing in the world. Future elections in Thailand, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Hong Kong could ultimately determine the near-term course of greater political freedom in the Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, Afghanistan will have to learn how to manage a weak economy and warring factions as the U.S. drawdown pushes the country toward independence. All of these events are cast against the backdrop of plummeting oil prices and an upheaval in the global energy landscape that may help accelerate global economic recovery.

“15 for 2015: Forecasts for the Asia-Pacific” highlights 15 areas to watch over the upcoming year. The essays predict how developments in 2015 will shape the economy, political systems, and geopolitical arena in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Over the next year, NBR will continue to produce research and analysis on these topics as we explore how to build a more peaceful and secure world.

—Rachel Wagley, ed.


Download all 15 essays in PDF format or access them online below.


 1. What the Ukraine Crisis Means for Asia

      By Nadège Rolland

 2. The Road Back to Democracy in Thailand

      By Rachel Wagley

 3. Indonesian Foreign Policy under Jokowi

      By Laura Schwartz

 4. A New Year of Apprehension in Myanmar

      By Rachel Wagley

 5. Afghanistan-Pakistan: Building Peace, Ensuring Stability

      By Deep Pal

 6. Iran’s Year to Come in from the Cold

      By Alison Szalwinski

 7. North Korea’s Nuclear Capability

      By NBR Staff

 8. India’s Economic Diplomacy

      By Ved Singh

 9. Xi Jinping’s New Foreign Policy

      By R. Lincoln Hines

10. Divisions between China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

      By Kelly Vorndan

11. Can Shinzo Abe Make Good on His Promises in Japan?

      By Kunihiro Shimoji

12. High-Profile Negotiations across the Pacific

      By Meredith Miller

13. Changes to the Global Energy Landscape

      By Clare Richardson-Barlow

14. The U.S. Rebalance to Asia

      By Andy Nguyen

15. Cyber Insecurity

      By Casey Bruner


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