Perch Perspectives 2021 Geopolitical Forecast


Perch Perspectives 2021 Geopolitical Forecast

Happy Tuesday! We just published an emergency podcast with fan-favorite Marko Papic on the Perch Pod to talk about Trump’s second impeachment, the macroeconomic implications of a Democratic Senate, the James Harden trade, and more. If you missed it and want some level-headed thinking on what’s going on in the U.S., you can listen by clicking here

For this Tuesday’s main event, we’re doing something a little different. When we launched last April, we decided not to publish a 2020 forecast because the year was already ¼ done. Instead, we published a decade forecast of the 2020s, which you can read by clicking here if you missed it or want to refresh your memory.

2021 will be our first full calendar year in business, and for any good geopolitical analysis firm, that means making predictions at the beginning of the year. As we note in the forecast, without history you have no idea where you are coming from, and without forecasting, you have no idea where you are going. We don’t think anyone can predict the future perfectly – that is a fool’s errand – but just the practice of trying helps to start thinking through the possibilities and what you need to be prepared for.

Our forecast is long – too long, indeed, to spam your inboxes with. So copied below is the executive summary of the report. If you’d like to see the full, 14-page document, shoot us a note by replying to this e-mail or writing to us at and we’ll happily send it along. Otherwise, keep wearing your masks and we’ll catch you on the flipside.


Perch Perspectives First Annual Forecast, 2021

Executive Summary

The Perch Perspectives 2021 Forecast is divided into three distinct parts: macro trends, countries, and elections.

The three key trends we believe will shape 2021 are

  • Recovering from COVID-19: As in times of war, the rules of the game are simply different during a global pandemic. The first half of the year will be defined by vaccine nationalism, lockdowns, more data on viral mutations and the long-term efficacy of vaccination, and loose monetary policy.
  • Higher food prices: Global food supply is tighter than expected due to COVID-19 supply chain-related disruptions, climate change/weather patterns, and government policies designed to ensure self-sufficiency. We expect higher food prices, which could lead directly to enhanced political and security risks, especially in emerging markets and low-income countries.
  • Techno-colonialism and neo-mercantilism: Economic globalization will continue even as political decoupling becomes more pronounced. Techno-colonialism and neo-mercantilism will define how major powers interact with the “periphery,” i.e., Central Asia, Middle East/North Africa (MENA), Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. These are all zones of strategic convergence or commodity wealth or both.

The three key countries we believe will shape 2021 are:

  • The United States, as it stabilizes: The Biden administration will seek to repair the damage done to global institutions and agreements like the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the Paris Climate Accords, and the Iran nuclear deal. We also believe the U.S. will attempt to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The future of the U.S. beyond 2024 is murky, but the next four years should see a return to relative stability and predictability when it comes to U.S. engagement with the rest of the world.
  • China, who bends but doesn’t break: China’s potential and ambition are undeniable, but in the short-to-medium term, China has no reliable allies, it is not self-reliant on key technologies crucial to becoming a more prosperous and advanced economy, and it is still highly dependent on trade in general, both exports of finished goods as well as imports of food, energy, and mineral commodities. The Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping will endure, but tough years are ahead.
  • India, and its moment: India is at a critical stage of its national development. It is the only country that can plausibly become “the next China,” but to do so, the Modi government will continue to make painful economic reforms of which the ongoing farmer protests are just the tip of the iceberg. This will look like chaos to outsiders, but the real warning sign would be if India suddenly went quiet.

Eight key elections will be held in 2021, all of which will serve as important inflection points for some of the world’s most important countries and trends.

  • March 17, Netherlands: One of the “Frugal Four” will essentially hold a referendum on greater EU unity. For more, contact us at
  • May 6, Scotland: The future of the union is at stake. For more, click here.
  • June 6, Mexico: The would-be Tropical Messiah and Benito Juarez-admirer submits his resume to the people for inspection. For more, click here.
  • June 18, Iran: A battle royal between hardliners/IRGC forces and the more pragmatist incumbent Rouhani administration. For more, click here.
  • September 26, Germany: For the first time in 16 years, someone other than Angela Merkel will assume power. For more, click here.
  • October 22, Japan: The real referendum on Shinzo Abe’s legacy and the staying power of his policies. For more, click here.
  • TBD, Ethiopia: Will Abiy Ahmed schedule indefinitely postponed elections at all, and if so, will he win despite crushing the Tigray region? For more, contact us at
  • TBD, Uzbekistan: Just how real are Uzbekistan’s political reforms? For more, contact us at