World's 'Pivotal' States Preparing For Major Tests

Business Monitor International (BMI) has just published a feature article outlining our views on the world's so called 'pivotal' states. The feature is available to subscribers at Business Monitor Online.

These 'pivotal' states are basically middle-ranked countries in which any transformation of their polity or behaviour could have a profound and lasting impact on their region, and possibly the wider world. Pivotal states draw their importance from a combination of their large populations, economic influence, military power, key geographical location, cultural reach, or commodity resources. Although definitions of pivotal states vary, BMI has in recent years identified a list of fourteen such countries.

In 2014, five of the fourteen pivotal states – Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey – will hold national elections of some sort, while a sixth – Nigeria – will be gearing up for general elections in 2015. Meanwhile, Iran – arguably one of the most crucial of the pivotal states – will face a major test this year of whether it can end 35 years of hostility towards the US and reach a lasting rapprochement with the West. The Korean Peninsula, too, could face major challenges, amid signs of a power struggle in the North. Elsewhere, Ukraine, which is a geopolitical swing state in western Eurasia, faces the prospects of ongoing anti-government demonstrations that could topple pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.