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Download – STRATEGIC OUTLOOK 2018 

Produced specifically to inform Dragonfly’s clients, and for the first time released to a wider audience, it provides a high-level review of security and crisis risks likely to impact multinational businesses and international organisations in the coming 12 months and beyond.

In 2018 and 2019, risks that once seemed improbable – if not unthinkable – will require serious consideration as credible and pressing matters. These include a destructive conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the use of nuclear and chemical weapons, the fracturing of NATO and the EU, cyber attacks that threaten national security and even conflict, as well as a constitutional crisis in the world’s leading democracy.

A more multipolar, competitive and adversarial world is taking shape. The potential for interstate conflict and crises that impact entire regions is rising to levels not seen in decades. Yet the capacity for leading states to cooperate and prevent crises is diminishing, as they themselves become more internally divided over how to tackle the economic, social and political challenges of the future.

Strategic Outlook 2018 provides dozens of forecasts on a range of positive and negative risk outcomes in geopolitics and security, including:

  • Political and economic stability will improve in much of Europe as the divisive and disruptive influence of reactionary populism recedes. The UK and Italy will probably be exceptions to this, and several states in Eastern Europe and the Balkans will remain vulnerable to instability
  • There will be intensified strategic competition in the Middle East as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, and Russia all vie for greater influence. This will also be driven by countries exploiting nationalism to tackle external challenges, shore up domestic support and even counter the weakening effects of sectarianism
  • Central Asian countries will increasingly drift out of Russia’s orbit and into China’s due to the economic benefits of the One Belt, One Road initiative. A similar drift is likely in Eastern Europe, but Russia’s response to this will probably be much more disruptive, divisive and adversarial than in Asia. The Balkans and Baltic states are potential flashpoints to watch
  • China will more robustly project power in East and Southeast Asia, exploiting uncertainty over US commitment to its regional partners. This includes showing dominance and control in the South and East China seas and Taiwan, and a willingness to pursue punitive measures – most likely economic – against those it perceives as acting against its interests
  • Elections across South Asia in 2018 are unlikely to bring substantial political change, but will induce a more charged atmosphere and intensify strategic competition in the region, affecting security most acutely in Afghanistan
  • Political and security risks are likely to rise in several of the most popular investment destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania, with the most likely crisis flashpoints in the DRC and Ethiopia
  • Elections across North Africa – in Libya, Chad, Tunisia, Egypt and Mali – are unlikely to bring much change. But public disenchantment with economic, social, security and political conditions will probably continue to drive northwards migration

Strategic Outlook 2018 also provides a range of monitoring points to enable observers to anticipate changes in risk and re-calibrate forecasts when events defy prediction. And it flags outliers – outcomes that sit on the outer edges of probability but that are plausible and consequential enough to merit further thought for crisis planning. These include:

  • Armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula
  • A coup in Ethiopia, and potential surges in migration into North Africa as a result
  • A resumption of armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Widespread civil unrest in Turkmenistan
  • A financial crisis in Europe, which reinvigorates support for populist parties on the right and left
  • Civil war and coup plots in Venezuela

Strategic Outlook 2018 was produced by the analysts of Dragonfly’s Security Intelligence & Analysis Service (SIAS), which provides direct intelligence support to a rapidly growing number of corporate security and crisis management teams in leading global businesses across a broad array of sectors.  


Key Quote from Henry Wilkinson

“The Strategic Outlook 2018 aims to help Dragonfly’s clients better understand transformation and change in the global risk environment, anticipate and plan for crises, and foresee improvements to gain an early commercial advantage. Forecasting is not an exact science but it is an essential process that starts conversations and the process of building resilience. Our assessments show that the need for global businesses to take board-level ownership of geopolitical risks and invest in intelligence that one can trust amid a growing tide of disinformation has never been more urgent or important.”




For additional information or to speak to Henry Wilkinson, Head of Intelligence & Analysis, Director, please contact in the first instance.

The Dragonfly
3 More London Riverside
SE1 2AQ  |  @riskadvisory


Key referencing terminology / notes to press

  • “Henry Wilkinson, Head of Intelligence & Analysis at The Dragonfly”
  • “The Dragonfly”

About Henry Wilkinson

Head of Intelligence and Analysis, Henry has overall responsibility for the group’s worldwide political and security intelligence gathering, risk and threat assessments and analytical products and services, including SIAS.

About The Dragonfly

The Dragonfly is a leading independent global risk consultancy that helps businesses grow whilst protecting their people, their assets and their brands.

By providing facts, intelligence and analysis, The Dragonfly helps its clients negotiate complex and uncertain environments to choose the right opportunities, in the right markets, with the right partners.

The company was founded in 1997, employs over 200 people and has offices in Washington DC, London, Moscow, Dubai, Beirut and Hong Kong.

Further information is available at

About SIAS (Security Intelligence & Analysis Service)

SIAS provides security and risk management professionals with a responsive strategic and protective intelligence capability. We work with clients to deliver high quality, forward-looking, actionable intelligence and analysis applicable to business risk management decision-making, planning and crisis response.

Further information is available at


About The Strategic Outlook 2018

The Strategic Outlook 2018 is our fourth global forecast for corporate security leaders. It represents the joint assessments of our Security Intelligence & Analysis Service (SIAS) analysts across all regional desks.

The Strategic Outlook is primarily for those tasked with managing risks in international businesses and organisations. It attempts to interpret and foresee how wider, political, economic and social trajectories may influence security and crises.

Further information is available at: