Strategic Survey 2012: The Annual Review of World Affairs covers all the events and themes of the year region by region, and includes special essays on important policy issues: the implications of the cyber world for intelligence agencies; building cooperation in African defence; and the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran. A Strategic Geography section provides vital data in map form on key issues such as the rise of Asia, the civil war in Syria and America’s campaign of drone strikes. 

Strategic Survey 2012: The Annual Review of World Affairs covers all the events and themes of the year region by region, and includes special essays on important policy issues: the implications of the cyber world for intelligence agencies; building cooperation in African defence; and the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran. A Strategic Geography section provides vital data in map form on key issues such as the rise of Asia, the civil war in Syria and America’s campaign of drone strikes. 

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  • Events at a Glance

    July 2011-June 2012 July 2011 3 Thailand: Pheu Thai Party wins general election, and Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, becomes prime minister. 9 South Sudan: The new country of South Sudan is formally created, gaining independence from Sudan, its northern neighbour with which it still has disputes over borders and oil revenues. 11 Cyprus: Confiscated Iranian munitions explode at a naval base...
  • Chapter 1: Perspectives

    After a short burst of bewildering change, the year to mid-2012 was one in which people whose interests were threatened tried to apply the brakes. Even as the Arab revolutions of 2011 were taking place, the extent to which youthful rebels would succeed in overturning the established order of their societies was questionable. In the aftermath, there was inevitable disillusionment: Egypt, for example, went through a remarkable series of elections...
  • Chapter 2: Strategic Policy Issues

    Intelligence Agencies and the Cyber World It took mankind until the turn of the last millennium to accumulate a corpus of data totalling five exabytes (1018 bytes). That amount of data is now being produced roughly every two days. And almost all of it is potentially – and instantaneously – available to a global community of Internet users, numbering in excess of two billion as of 2011 and expected to double...
  • Chapter 3: The Americas

    United States: Election Looms in Divided Nation On 27 March 2012, CNN legal-affairs analyst Jeffrey Toobin attended the US Supreme Court's oral arguments on the challenges to President Barack Obama's health-care reforms, then walked outside and down the courthouse steps for a live broadcast. ‘This was a train wreck for the Obama administration’, Toobin declaimed, waving his arms for emphasis. ‘This law looks like it's going to be struck down. I'm...
  • Chapter 4: Europe

    Events in Europe in the year to mid-2012 were dominated by economic and financial problems that threatened to break apart the euro, the common currency used by 17 European nations; the potential disintegration of the currency was generally agreed to spell disaster on a global scale. The risk of a partial or total breakup grew during the year as governments failed to achieve consensus on big, bold solutions and continued...
  • Chapter 5: Russia and Eurasia

    Russia: Putin Returns Many of the questions surrounding Russia's future for the next six years were resolved between autumn 2011 and spring 2012. Vladimir Putin, the two-term president who had observed the constitutional niceties in 2008 by becoming prime minister, announced in September 2011 that he would run again for president. This ended the younger, more liberally inclined incumbent Dmitry Medvedev's hopes of a second term during which his supporters had...
  • Chapter 6: Middle East/Gulf

    Iran: Domestic Struggle Dims Hope of Nuclear Deal By the middle of 2012, the optimism and exaltation of the first few months of the Arab uprisings had unsurprisingly given way to a more sombre mood as the daunting realities of political transition became clear. While the grievances that led to popular revolts were in many cases shared across nations, the subsequent trajectories followed by each country proved increasingly distinct and singular. Unwelcome...
  • Chapter 7: Africa

    The path to stability and democracy in Africa faced challenges across the continent in the year to mid-2012. Coups d'état in Mali and Guinea Bissau were particular reminders of the chronic difficulties faced by African nations, as were the tensions that surrounded electoral processes in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia and Zimbabwe. Islamist violence in Nigeria underlined the vulnerability to extremist influences of areas afflicted by poverty and...
  • Chapter 8: South Asia and Afghanistan

    India: Policy Inertia India went through another troubled year in 2011–12, although its internal security situation improved and its external strategic options expanded. The primary problem was the economy, which lost much of its momentum while the government struggled to cope with the challenges of operating as a fractious coalition. The result was a widespread perception of policy paralysis. The Congress Party, which leads the coalition, lost ground in key state elections...
  • Chapter 9: Asia-Pacific

    China: Domestic Crisis, Foreign Progress As Chinese power continued to grow over the past year according to several measures, nations in the Asia-Pacific and beyond increasingly worried whether China would rise peacefully, but also looked to Beijing to contribute more actively to global governance. China's internal problems, however, remained daunting. Chinese citizens stepped up demands that their leaders more staunchly defend their country's interests around the world as well as address...
  • Chapter 10: Prospectives

    Old certainties and recent conventional wisdoms about international affairs are now under persistent challenge. The questions being asked are fundamental. Will the eurozone and the European Union survive in their current shape? What will be the balance of power in the Middle East given a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and deepening internal conflict in Syria? Can a new generation of Chinese leaders cope with the internal contradictions of the...
  • Strategic Geography 2012

    The year to mid-2012 was dominated by transitions. Changes were under way most obviously in the Arab world after the revolutionary wave of 2011, and in the surrounding region where traditional relationships and balances had been upset. Across the world, conflicting interests were jockeying to secure their objectives in a shifting landscape. This was true in Europe, which struggled to find a path through economic and financial problems, in Russia...
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Press Statement

Strategic Survey 2012

A press statement for the launch of Strategic Survey 2012: The Annual Review of World Affairs is available here.