Amid exponential growth in the number of people living in cities in low-income or fragile states, gaps in infrastructure, public services and security capacity present opportunities to non-state armed groups.

Strategic Survey 2017: The Annual Assessment of Geopolitics provides objective, in-depth analysis of the global political and security environment. North Korea’s nuclear-weapons and missile programmes proceeded at a troubling pace in the year to mid-2017 despite the expansion of punitive UN sanctions, pressure from Beijing and warnings from Washington. The presidency of Donald Trump cast doubt on the United States’ commitment to the global trading system and decades-long alliances. The European Union remained preoccupied with internal challenges, not least increasing electoral volatility among its member states. Russia reasserted itself as a major power in the Middle East and conducted a wide-ranging information campaign to destabilise and deter its opponents in the West. Meanwhile, China became increasingly extrovert and confident in its foreign policy, maintaining expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea and pursuing its economic interests through the Belt and Road Initiative. Against this background, most major powers appeared to have a declining capacity to shape the political and security environment in their favour. The book includes thematic essays on: the future of the World Trade Organization electoral disruption and the liberal order urbanisation and violence the resurgence of information warfare The Strategic Geography section includes maps on North Korea’s illicit economic network, constitutional change and conflict in Turkey, and the burgeoning food-security crisis. The Drivers of Strategic Change section identifies the most important overarching trends in each region using select data and other indicators.

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