A non-exhaustive review of global risk by continents/regions
Geopolitical tensions will dominate the year 2020. From the most structural to the most cyclical, the reasons are:
Firstly, the resolution of past conflicts with a view to withdrawal (Middle East, Europe), creating two paths of disruption: resolution (action and concomitant risk-taking) and withdrawal (concerns and uncertainties linked to the disappearance of the American peacekeeper).
Secondly, US redeployment/reinforcement towards new strategic interests (Arctic, China, South America), creating obvious friction.
In such a context, however legitimate and forward-looking some of the pursued strategies may be, the risk of disaster is significant. In particular, a whole host of those with hidden agendas will try to take advantage of the movement of troops to advance their own pawns, helping to create inextricable and explosive situations (e.g. the electoral strategy of the Democrats, or a temptation of the newly re-elected President of Taiwan to propose a referendum on the independence of the island…). Based on this understanding of the intersecting trends in 2020, let us now review the risks, region by region.
Middle East: Experimental area in the multipolar world
Iran: The year started with a bang with a controlled (it is to be hoped) domino effect, triggered by the assassination in Iraq of the commander of the Al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Contrary to what everyone says, this was not an attack against Iran (a democratic state led by a moderate government) but against the state within the state – i.e. the Revolutionary Guards, decreed a terrorist organisation by D. Trump in spring 2019.
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