Author: Dr Earl H Tilford Jr
Every year the analysts at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) prepare current assessments for their particular areas of interest. These assessments become the bedrock of the annual SSI Study Program. This year’s assessments are crucial given the complexities of the post-Cold War world. Russia remains an enigma wrapped in a riddle with Russian national interests very much paramount in the Kremlin’s thinking. As 1995 begins, Russian troops are heavily engaged in putting down a rebellion in the secessionist republic of Chechnya. The implications for the future of Russian democracy may be significant. The world of 1995 is very much one of continuity and change. Accordingly, old hatreds are very much a part of the equation. In the Middle East, Syria, Israel, and the Palestine Liberation Organization work toward a just and lasting peace. However, new hot spots, like Algeria, will emerge unexpectedly. In the Far East, North Korea and the United States are attempting to decrease tensions while Washington and Hanoi are moving much more rapidly toward better relations. China continues to modernize its military forces while Japan and the United States are seeking areas for economic cooperation. In Africa, the ravages of war and nature were part of the story in 1994. However, bright spots did occur, to include the peaceful transition to black majority rule in South Africa. In 1995 there will be reasons for optimism, like continued economic growth in Botswana and Namibia. On the other hand, corrupt governments, infectious diseases, and high population growth continue as areas for concern. South America, like Africa, is a continent beset with challenges and opportunities in the coming year. Rapidly expanding population and continuing poverty will frustrate proponents of democratic change in countries like Venezuela. While illegal migration from Central America has abated, in the Caribbean the potential for increased migration may grow in 1995.