Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts

24 January 2018

Tracking Global Terrorism in 2018

With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers. In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology — and, in some cases, both.

The Necessity and Impossibility of “Strategic Autonomy”

Hans Kundnani

WASHINGTON, DC — As the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States approaches, Europeans are still debating how to respond. The most fundamental question is about the U.S. security guarantee toward Europe, which Trump had radically questioned during the election campaign and even after winning it. After conspicuously failing to commit to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty at the NATO leaders meeting in Brussels in May, he finally did so a month later in the Rose Garden at the White House. So should Europeans now feel reassured that the uncertainty about Article 5 is over? Or should they quickly move toward “strategic autonomy” — just in case it turns out that they can no longer depend on the United States?

Fake News: Defining and Defeating

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to present his media critics with so-called “fake news awards,” it is more important than ever to define what “fake news” actually is, and what it is not. President Trump’s repeated accusations of fake news are dangerous both for journalists around the world, and for the integrity of free and fair democratic discourse in America.

23 January 2018

Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Patter


Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, has diminished by nearly 90 percent since the early 1970s. In each country, in different ways, a water crisis has triggered some combination of civil unrest, mass migration, insurgency or even full-scale war. Protestors in Tehran on Jan. 5. “Water is not going to bring down the government,” one analyst said. “But it’s a component — in some towns, a significant component — of grievances and frustrations.” In the era of climate change, their experiences hold lessons for a great many other countries. The World Resources Institute warned this month of the rise of water stress globally, “with 33 countries projected to face extremely high stress in 2040.”

19 January 2018

In 2018, Chavismo’s Time May Finally Run Out


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled regime ended a tumultuous 2017 by having to suppress renewed food riots resulting from the government’s failure to import sufficient supplies of pork leg, a traditional holiday staple. In one disturbance, a pregnant woman was shot dead by security forces on Christmas Eve. Yet if 2017 ended poorly for Venezuela, 2018 is shaping up to be even worse.  Already, there have been new outbreaks of looting in the face of rampant shortages of food and basic goods. Inflation, which hit a reported 2,616 percent last year — the highest in the world — will continue to surge in 2018. And, worst of all, due to bad management and corruption, oil production has fallen to one of its lowest points in three decades, “further depriving the cash-strapped country of its only major source of revenue and adding to the suffering of its people,” according to CNN.

7 January 2018

The case for optimism in 2018 My first assumption for the year is there will not be a war on the Korean peninsula

Gideon Rachman

The year 2018 is beginning with economic and geopolitical indicators pointing in very different directions. Global stock markets are at record highs and economic confidence is growing across most of the developed world. But while investors are bullish, followers of international politics are very nervous.

In recent years, it has tended to be the Middle East that delivers bad news, and Asia that specialises in optimism. This year could reverse that pattern. The biggest geopolitical risk is a war on the Korean peninsula. If the US carries through on President Donald Trump’s threat to use “fire and fury” to disarm North Korea it will be the first time that America has gone to war with another nuclear-armed state. The risks are literally incalculable.

6 January 2018

Don’t panic: Fears of nuclear escalations and cyber warfare are overblown

First, the potential for North Korea to weaponise a nuclear missile, and then escalate the probability of actually firing it. The second is that Hezbollah will launch a conventional missile attack – from its arsenal of 120,000 – on Israel, ordered by its masters in Iran. The third threat is that jihadists will fly drones into major demographic concentrations – such as football stadiums – and detonate biological or chemical devices. Finally, there is the threat of a seismic cyber attack which takes down the economy, such as on the US electricity grid. All of these are scary prospects, but what are the odds of them actually happening?

Preventive Priorities Survey 2018

By Paul B Stares

The Center for Preventive Action’s annual Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS) evaluates ongoing and potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring in the coming year and their impact on U.S. interests. The PPS aims to help the U.S. policymaking community prioritize competing conflict prevention and crisis mitigation demands.

5 January 2018

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018 From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018.

Robert Malley

It’s not all about Donald Trump. 

That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater international diffusion of power, increasingly militarized foreign policy, and shrinking space for multilateralism and diplomacy are features of the international order that predate the current occupant of the White House and look set to outlast him.

1 January 2018

Threat Lens 2018 Annual Forecast: An Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the Threat Lens 2018 Annual Forecast. This forecast does not focus on every global security trend expected in 2018. Instead, it concentrates on Threat Lens' core interest areas and examines the trends we expect to see shaping that space next year. The full version is available to Threat Lenssubscribers.

One of Threat Lens' standing assessments is that cyberthreats will increasingly encroach on physical world. The proliferation of ransomware has been one of the most visible manifestations of this trend in cybersecurity. This trend is also true in reverse: Security lapses in the physical world have been one of the biggest vectors for cyberattacks. We have no reason to believe that this will change in 2018 and, in fact, as technical security features proliferate, human error will increasingly play a role in high-profile instances of suspicious network activity.

Forget globalization. Internetization sums up our global economy better

The word globalization has lost its relevance and lustre with the emergence of the new global economy of the 21st century. In fact, it’s become an anachronism.

Its deficiency is that it’s not a new concept which creates nuances of confusion.

Globalization describes the international outreach of countries for the purpose of economic, social, political and cultural liaisons. Global linkages between countries through military conquest, colonization, multilateral free trade agreements and cultural exchange existed in an uninterrupted continuum in the evolving history of humankind.

29 December 2017

Che, Stalin, Mussolini and the Thinkers Who Loved Them

Aram Bakshian Jr.

Why are intellectuals and thinkers, who normally face persecution and risk under dictatorial regimes, nonetheless attracted to tyrants and would-be liberators?

WE LIVE in the age of self-proclaimed “public intellectuals,” although precisely what they are has never been adequately explained. Are public intellectuals, like public transportation, providers of a useful service available to all comers? Or, like certain other public conveniences, does one have to pay before the door swings open offering access and relief? Are they sources of enlightenment to citizens, policymakers and politicians, or are they, to borrow a phrase originated by Kipling and popularized by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, the latest heirs to “power without responsibility—the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”? Baldwin, speaking in Depression-era Britain, was referring to unscrupulous press lords who exerted unchecked influence on public opinion; in some ways, the influence of the new public intelligentsia on today’s popular opinion is similar.

28 December 2017

The Year That Was 2017

We would not be doing our jobs correctly if we only forecast the year ahead. Quite simply, we must be rigorous in examining the past, and that means taking a hard look at how well we did in determining the major trends of the year gone by. In every respect, 2017 was particularly unique because of the questions — and alarmism — surrounding the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Would the world see a dramatic warming of U.S. relations with Russia that would leave many Western allies in the lurch? Would a massive trade war break out between the United States and China? Would the Iran nuclear deal be torn up? These were all questions we sought to address as we pondered the changing dynamics of the global system. What follows are some of our key deductions, alongside honest appraisals of what we got right and wrong. 

Migration Will Drive the Next Wave of World Wars

R. T. Howard

MASS MIGRATION, on the sustained and massive scale that western Europe continues to experience, creates tensions not only within states but also between them. These tensions will sometimes erupt into open conflict; already a new age of “Migration Wars” has begun.

This represents a curious inversion. Across the centuries, war has been a major, and often the main, driving force behind mass migration. Most obviously, an indeterminable number of civilians was forced to flee the fighting that raged in Europe and elsewhere during the Second World War, while the ongoing civil war in Syria has created perhaps 5.3 million refugees, in addition to many others who are “internally displaced.” Today, however, not only does war continue to cause mass migration, but it can itself become a cause of war.

25 December 2017

Who built the Indus Valley civilisation?

Tony Joseph

Genetics is about to answer a question that has vexed historians for a century. The author examines the range of possible answers and their implications

Who built the Indus Valley civilisation? There are few questions more fundamental to our understanding of Indian history than this. On the answer to it hang many details of the country’s past: How did we come to be as we are — culturally, ethnically and linguistically? And what explains the way we are spread out geographically in the subcontinent?

A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans. It's a catastrophe

Michael McCarthy

Thirty-five years ago an American biologist Terry Erwin conducted an experiment to count insect species. Using an insecticide “fog”, he managed to extract all the small living things in the canopies of 19 individuals of one species of tropical tree, Luehea seemannii, in the rainforest of Panama. He recorded about 1,200 separate species, nearly all of them coleoptera (beetles) and many new to science; and he estimated that 163 of these would be found on Luehea seemannii only.

24 December 2017

The New Era of Global Stability The grand ideological conflicts that began in 1917 are giving way to old-fashioned geopolitics.

Arthur Herman

After a century of chaos and mass death driven by conflicting ideologies, the world is entering a new era of stability. This new period of history is defined by the balance-of-power geopolitics embraced by Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The White House National Security Strategy published Monday appears to reflect this reality.

The previous era was inaugurated by two momentous events: President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to intervene in World War I and Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. Both occurred in 1917 and left overlapping legacies. In Lenin’s case, Russia’s communist revolution would spawn countless ideological imitators, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

23 December 2017

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2017

By James M. Lindsay

Last year a lot of people were asking if 2016 was the worst year ever. (It wasn’t.) I haven’t seen anyone making similar claims about 2017, but that doesn’t mean that this year didn’t produce its share of significant world events. It has. Below is my top ten, listed in descending order. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories will continue into 2018.

18 December 2017

Global Conflicts to Watch in 2018


As conflicts ignite and burn and flicker out around the world, U.S. officials assess the dangers they represent back home. Not all of these conflicts directly threaten American interests, which is why the Council on Foreign Relations conducts an annual survey to help U.S. leaders prioritize threats in the year ahead. For the past decade, this survey has focused on the risks posed to America by foreign actors. Now it’s reckoning with the risks America poses to the world—and to itself.

17 December 2017

The Human Face of Trade and Food Security

Katrin Kuhlmann

The system of rules and regulations governing agricultural trade and market activity, or the enabling environment, directly affect global food security. In the summer of 2017, a team from the CSIS Global Food Security Project and the New Markets Lab traveled to Kenya and India to explore how policies shape agricultural trade and affect the lives of smallholder farmers, traders, and consumers. The team met with farmers, donors, and government and private-sector leaders to better understand connections in the market from production through export, focusing specifically on beans in Kenya, rice in India, and horticulture (fruits and vegetables) in both countries. The resulting study explores the different dimensions of trade and how the regulatory environment shapes the market. It provides targeted recommendations for U.S. policymakers to consider to strengthen support for food security, market-based regulation, mutually beneficial trade, and economic development worldwide.