A serious military confrontation between Russia and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state or a severe crisis in North Korea are among top international concerns for 2017 cited by a new survey of experts. The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) ninth annual Preventive Priorities Survey identified seven top potential flashpoints for the United States in the year ahead.
The survey, conducted by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), asked foreign policy experts to rank conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating and their potential impact on US national interests.
The survey identified "top tier" conflicts in 2017: "a deliberate or unintended military confrontation between Russia and NATO members, stemming from assertive Russian behavior in Eastern Europe", "a severe crisis in North Korea caused by nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) weapons testing, a military provocation, or internal political instability", "a highly disruptive cyberattack on US critical infrastructure" and "a mass casualty terrorist attack on the US homeland or a treaty ally by either a foreign or homegrown terrorists".
CPA director Paul Stares noted that with a new presidential administration assuming office, it is important to help policymakers anticipate and avert potential crises that could arise and threaten US interests.