Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (6) : The Psychological Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks

This article is the second of a two-parts of a series seeking to identify the impacts of the current and most probably forthcoming terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, and focuses on major socio-psychological consequences. It follows a first article, which started outlining a framework for impact assessment out of our current understanding of the economic consequences of terrorism, which notably pointed out the need to use mapping as methodology if the complex and cascading characters of these impacts are to be properly assessed. The larger aim of the series is notably to understand if businesses should or not neglect these aggressions and related geopolitical uncertainties, while finding out ways to foresee these risks so as to best design answers (see Helene Lavoix, “Businesses and Geopolitics: Caught up in the Whirlwinds? (1)”, The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 17 Oct 2016)

To find out which could be the psychological impacts of the ongoing string of terrorist attacks, we

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Beyond the End of Globalisation – From the Brexit to U.S. President Trump

The world has entered a period where uncertainty rules and where surprises abound.

Focusing on 2016, the two major surprises usually singled out are the Brexit or the vote leading to the exit of the U.K. from the European Union, then the election of U.S. President Trump against favourite Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though a short-term focus could let us believe that the turmoil only or mainly hits “the West”, political and geopolitical surprises and uncertainties have multiplied worldwide, starting at least with the shock of the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 and responses to it (see end note for some major instances*).

What is thus happening? How are we to tackle the uncertainty? Are these surprises related or discrete independent events that it would be wrong to link or try to understand together?

We shall start here with the 2016 surprises and related ongoing uncertainty, i.e. the Brexit and the U.S. Trump Presidency, and focus more particularly on the contradictions and questions that arise when we compare the two phenomena. We shall seek a framework for and elements of understanding, which can then be used in the development of scenarios for the future.

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Understanding (or not) the Nature of Climate Change as a Planetary Threat

On 3 December 2018, i.e. two days before the opening of the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference – its 24th meeting (COP 24), in Katowice, at the very heart of Poland coal country, Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, announced that his country would not organize the following round of negotiations, i.e the COP […]

Investigating the Rise of Populism (2) – Populism-Labelling and its Dangers

This article focuses on the “rise of populism”, the second explanation given for two of the major recent political and geopolitical surprises – i.e. the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, and a major concern for many regarding the future evolution of Europe, the EU, and more largely the liberal paradigm in its globalisation guise.

Previously, we presented the current scholarly definition of populism, and suggested that it was less representative of reality than thought at first glance (“A perfect definition?“). Here, we shall focus on a too often forgotten aspect of “populism”, the way the word is actually used to disparagingly brand a protest movement or party and reinsert it within a larger political science framework. We shall explain how this practice of “populism-labelling” is actually fraught with three main dangers, which, furthermore, interact.

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Investigating the Rise of Populism – A Perfect Definition?

This article and the next focuses on the “rise of populism”, the second explanation given for two of the major recent political and geopolitical surprises – i.e. the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. Populism and its rise are potentially at the heart of a possible crisis in Europe, and world-wide, should “populist” and anti-European parties be successful enough in the 2017 elections to be able to implement their program. The fear is high enough in Europe to lead in the Dutch parliamentary elections held on 15 March 2017, their opponents to astonishingly hail as a “terrific” victory the loss of eight seats by the centre-right VVD party,  remaining nonetheless the first political force in the country with 33 seats, while the […]

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Lessons from the Conflict in Ukraine – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (4)

This article identifies lessons we can learn from the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on businesses, as presented in the first part, to continue enhancing our understanding of the way businesses and the corporate world could usefully anticipate or foresee geopolitical and political risks and uncertainties.

From the way to identify which crises and geopolitical uncertainties can be – sometimes unexpectedly – of concern to a company (Lesson 1) to the best timing for starting the anticipation  process (Lesson 2), the need to think outside the ideological box (Lesson 3) and multi-dimensionally (Lesson 4) and to understand “national interest” and its evolution (Lesson 5), the impacts of the war in Ukraine bring us a wealth of understanding and points out many necessary if not crucial improvements that may be endeavoured. These will thus be added to the points previously identified in “Lessons from and for the Brexit – Geopolitics, Uncertainties, and Business (2)”, after a general framework was defined in “Businesses and Geopolitics: Caught up in the Whirlwinds?” (1).

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The U.S. Economy, between the Climate Hammer and the Trade War Anvil – the Soybean Case

On 24 September 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce imposed new tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods, thus widely escalating the “trade war” initiated by president Donald Trump against China in April 2018. Beijing immediately retaliated with tariffs on 60 billions worth of American goods (Will Martin, “China Hits Back at Trump […]

Iran: Are European Firms Being Sacrificed Again? The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 31 May 2018

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Editorial The evolution of the geopolitical situation around Iran increasingly  generates a feeling of déjà vu for European companies. Non-European actors, chiefly among them the U.S. take political, strategic and geopolitical  decisions in the name of their national interest (and lobby groups), including the interest […]

Lessons from and for the Brexit – Geopolitics, Uncertainties, and Business (2)

On 24 June 2016 morning, the U.K. announced the results of the referendum on the Brexit: 51.9% of the population voted to leave the EU against 48.1% wanting to remain, while the turnout reached 72,2% (BBC Referendum Results). This vote triggered among the media, financial and European political elite a “shock”, consternation, and a host of predictions of impending doom, while markets plunged worldwide (BBC News, “Brexit: What the world’s papers say“, 24 June 2016). It also set off a series of events and dynamics still unfolding nowadays with far-ranging consequences, globally, for the future. We shall use this real life case to further enhance our understanding of the way businesses and the corporate world relate to and especially anticipate or […]

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The U.S. Navy vs Climate and Ocean Change Insecurity (1)

The U.S. Navy is under higher and growing pressure from climate and ocean change. This situation is emphasized in The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Department of Defense Installations on Atolls in the Pacific Ocean (Curt D. Storlazzi, Stephen B. Gingerich et al., February 2018, full pdf report), funded among others by the Department […]