Category: New Paradigm

change, paradigm, liberalism, populism, Trump, BrexitAssessing if we are in the midst of a paradigm shift is twice crucial. First, and foremost, as human beings living within societies, if such a change happens, then we need to be ready for the upheavals that precede and accompany such deep revolutions, as stakes, both ideological and material, are at work to try blocking change. We also need to understand what is happening to take the right decisions in our lives, with the right timing, to mitigate adverse impacts and favour positive ones.

Second, in terms of strategic foresight and warning analysis, the deepest layers of ideas organizing societies and their interactions are fundamental frameworks, within which any understanding must be located. If changes are in the making, then they will forcibly alter the future, while the present is most probably already being affected, giving rise to a feeling of unpredictability. Actually, it is not so much that there is a novel unpredictability settling in, but that the lenses through which the world is analysed and then acted upon are inadequate.

As a result, and after having made a first assessment (“Towards a New Paradigm“) of the paradigmatic shift at work, we need to monitor carefully weak and rising signals of the evolutions taking place to constantly enhance our understanding, steer our decisions and thus enhance the odds to avoid surprise.

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.

After having outlined the explanatory frameworks most used to describe the two surprises, we shall focus here on the first of them, globalisation. We shall look at populism, the second explanation with the next article.

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In this article, after having specified and defined globalisation, we shall explore the reactions of economic and financial actors. We shall point out that these reactions to the two events were often unexpected considering the anti-globalisation narrative, while also sometimes differing in each case. Using these unexpected results as indications and leads for further questions and research, we shall suggest that a new model of production might be emerging, a “nationalised globalisation”, leading potentially also to further geopolitical uncertainty. We shall then turn to the financial industry, start explaining the different behaviour in each case and envision possible tensions ahead, including political and geopolitical ones. Finally, we shall turn to the behaviour of the high-tech corporate actors, and suggest an explanation for their difference in each of the two cases, which goes beyond the classical anti-globalisation narrative.

Globalisation as an explanatory framework?

The Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President are most often lumped together and seen as similar. They are portrayed as anti-globalization reactions, and as exemplifying the rise of populism or nationalism, as evidenced by the following headlines and reports (among many others): Larry Elliott, “Globalisation backlash enters new phase with Trump win“, The Guardian, 9 Nov 2016; Anatole Kaletsky, Economist at Project Syndicate “Trump’s rise and Brexit vote are more an outcome of culture than economics” [populism and anti-globalisation], The Guardian, 9 Nov 2016; John Rennie Short, Prof. Political Geography, “The new globalization: Brexit and Donald Trump represent a different backlash to free trade“, Salon, 30 Nov 2016; Ronald F. Inglehart and Pippa Norris, “Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash“, Faculty Research Working Paper Series, Harvard Kennedy School, 29 July 2016; Justin Sink et al. “Obama Says Brexit and Trump Powered by Globalization Fears“, Bloomberg, 15 Nov 2016;  Will Martin, “These charts show all the trade deals the anti-globalisation movement could destroy“, Business Insider UK, 15 Nov 2016, also quoting Deutsche Bank strategist George Saravelos: “If 2008 marked the trigger, this year is likely to be remembered for signaling the persistence of a new mega-trend: the peak, and likely unwind of globalisation”; Washington’s blog, “You’ll Only Understand Trump and Brexit If You Understand the Failure of Globalization“, 13 Nov 2016; etc.

Globalisation is difficult to define as various scholars provide different definitions, often shedding light upon different aspects of a complex and multi-dimensional dynamics, while understanding of the word changes outside social science. From a social science points of view, a general definition has nonetheless emerged:

“Globalization refers to fundamental changes in the spatial and temporal contours of social existence, according to which the significance of space or territory undergoes shifts in the face of a no less dramatic acceleration in the temporal structure of crucial forms of human activity…. [the related] alterations in humanity’s experiences of space and time are working to undermine the importance of local and even national boundaries in many arenas of human endeavor. ” (“Globalization“, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, First published Jun 21, 2002; substantive revision Jun 10, 2014).

The globalisation of free-trade and deregulation – what many outside social science implicitly mean by globalisation – is one aspect of this more fundamental definition of globalisation. It takes place through the factors of “deterritorialization”, “interconnectedness” and “velocity of social activity” (Stanford, ibid – the two remaining characteristics being long-term and multi-pronged process). That expression of globalisation is aptly described by Short (Ibid.) as rooted in the Washington Consensus and the willingness to promote open market and free trade, including because it was meant to be more conducive of peace, as claimed by the liberal and neo-liberal schools of international relations.

The anti-globalisation narrative let us expect that those responsible for the two surprises – i.e. those who support the Brexit and voted for it and those who support Trump and voted for him – did so because, mainly, they were against the free-trade and deregulation globalisation, or more exactly because they belonged to those people left aside by globalisation. Then, according to this narrative, the implementation of the Brexit by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on the one hand, the governance of the Trump administration, on the other, would mean the end of globalisation as we knew it: i.e. the end of open market and free trade, notably in its multilateral component, the end of deregulation, while the state would find back a stronger role and the citizens would be better protected from the nefarious impacts of this economic globalisation.

Cadbury’s factory in Somerdale was closed in 2010 after take over by Kraft (BBC News, “Cadbury factory closure by Kraft ‘despicable‘”, 10 Feb 2010). Another 250 jobs were destroyed in Birmingham in 2015, Kraft having become Kraft-Heinz, bought in 2013 by U.S. Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet) – and U.S. Brazilian 3G (Julia Kollewe, “Cadbury cuts 250 jobs in Birmingham“, The Guardian). Photo by Rwendland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Towards a nationalised globalisation?

Contradictions and questions

At first glance, we would thus expect the corporate sector, notably multinational companies (as well as very wealthy individuals), which are the main beneficiary of this very globalisation and thus may be expected to want to see it last, first to have supported neither the Brexit nor Donald Trump’s candidacy. We would then expect the same corporate sector to react negatively and strongly once the policies following the elections start being implemented, or to do their utmost to oppose and derail these policies.

Yet, both New York Stock and London Stock exchanges have never been so buoyant, the U.S . Dow Jones being over 20.000 and the U.K. FTSE 100 above 7200, as shown on the two 5-year graphs Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, Dow Jones, stock exchange Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, stock exchange, FTSE(Google Finance). Thus, as a whole, it would seem that the corporate sector is not that opposed to or concerned by this so-called anti-globalisation surprises, on the contrary. In the case of the U.S., tax reform certainly plays its part whilst corrections are foreseen by experts (e.g. Patti Domm, “Dow pulls off a stunt it hasn’t done in 30 years“, 23 Feb 16, CNBC), but the market has nonetheless so far been optimistic following the election and should it have been truly that overwhelmingly worried about anti-globalisation, tax reforms expectations may not have been sufficient to offset a fundamentally negative outlook.

Are we thus truly facing the end or a change of the free-trade and deregulation globalisation or, alternatively, is the corporate sector actually not hostile to a changed in globalisation?

If we look now at exchange rates, a first difference appears between the U.K. and U.S. situations. In the first case, the British Pound has taken a serious hit against the U.S. Dollar and, in a lesser way, against the Euro with the Brexit and has not recovered:

Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, Pound rate

On the contrary, the U.S. Dollar has not stopped rising against the Euro and been mostly rising against the Japanese Yen:

Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, USD rate

Hence, we may deduce that the U.K. and the U.S. surprises deserve to be treated differently and cannot be understood by a single anti-globalisation narrative.

If we start looking more specifically at the two phenomena and at some of the reactions not of the corporate sector in general, but of some of its actors, we also notice apparently puzzling behaviours.

In the case of the U.K., financial companies and banks, relayed by the media, almost every day, make declarations against the Brexit and how they may move part of their operations to continental Europe: e.g. “Goldman piles pressure on May to protect City post-Brexit” (Martin Arnold and Patrick Jenkins, for Financial Times, 30 Jan 17, CNBC), “Lloyds Bank closes in on Berlin as post-Brexit EU hub: sources” (Andrew MacAskill and Lawrence White, 13 Feb 17, Reuters), “City banks warn of Brexit job moves” (18 Jan 17, BBC News), etc.

In the U.S., President Trump has created a strategic and policy forum, which gathers powerful and experimented corporate and financial actors, from BlackRock and its USD 5.1 trillion in assets under management to Tesla and SpaceX or General Motors, as shown on the mapping below (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by President Trump in Strategy and Policy Forum“, 3 Feb 17; Jacob Pramuk, “Trump to meet ‘frequently’ with Blackstone’s Schwarzman, other business titans to discuss policy“, 2 Dec 16, CNBC).

strategic and policy forum, Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario

It will be useful, to have a better idea of the power and weight of BlackRock alone, everything being equal, to note that the Gross World Product is estimated by the IMF at $75.21 trillion for 2016, thus only 15 times more than the value of the assets managed by BlackRock. BlackRock revenue was USD 11155 million (11.1 bn) for 2016 (Quarterly Earnings Release). For the sake of comparison, even though industries are different, Lloyds Banking Group reported for 2016 total income reaching £ 17.5 bn (BBC News, “Lloyds reports highest profit in decade“, 22 Feb 17). Each has thus a total income higher than the GDP of the countries ranking below 114 (LLoyds) and 129  (BlackRock) in size of GDP, out of 190 countries, i.e. respectively 77 and 62 countries. BlackRock’s net income was in 2016 USD 3.2 bn and Lloyds reported a £ 4.24 bn pre-tax profit, the highest in a decade  (ibid.).

Towards a new manufacturing model?

The participation of the CEOs to the U.S. forum, which is advisory, does not mean full support to President Trump’s policy, but indicates to the least that there is no confrontational behaviour. On the contrary, there is discussion and dialogue, as well as most probably attempts at making sure policy will suit these companies’ interests.

For example, if we briefly look at BlackRock, its CEO Larry Fink expressed both hope and concern over President Trump agenda: “We have high expectations with … [the] Trump administration [on] tax policy or infrastructure. It always take longer,” he said. “If the rollout of some of these growth initiative programs by President-elect Trump are slower, if they are less ambitious, then I think the market is ahead of itself” (interview (CNBC, 13 jan 2017).  Worries stem notably from uncertainty and forthcoming tensions between the President and the Federal Reserves (during Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit 8 Feb 2017, Sam Ro, “Watch: Larry Fink’s full interview at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit” 9 Feb 17, Yahoo Finance).

However, Fink’s disquiet is also about the widespread short-termism within the corporate world he combats, and the “growing backlash against the impact globalisation and technological change … “, an impact he recognises as adverse for many, even though he still asserts to believe in the overall benefits of globalisation (Myles Udland, “Larry Fink: I see a lot of ‘dark shadows’ in the market right now“, 8 Feb 17, Yahoo Finance; Matt Turner, “Here’s the memo Larry Fink, the head of the world’s largest investor, just sent to staff on these ‘uneasy’ times“,  2 Feb 2017, Business Insider UK).

In a nutshell, the desired strategy Fink stresses is to act locally as a global company, emphasising “commitment to long-termism” and respecting diversity (“Here is the memo…”, ibid.). If we consider the examples Fink gives – “we also need to be German in Germany, Japanese in Japan and Mexican in Mexico” (Ibid.) – then it seems that by local Fink actually means national, or a recognition of the nation. Interestingly such a move towards a “nationalisation of globalisation” is also how Prime Minister May’s policy can be described (James Forsyth, Theresa May’s new third way“, 25 February 2017, The Spectator).

As noted by Washington’s Blog (ibid), referring to a 2015 article by The Washington Post explaining “that the giant multinational corporations themselves are losing interest in globalization” (Jeffrey Rothfeder, “The great unraveling of globalization“), Fink’s vision could be part of a larger movement away from the previous phase of economic globalisation. This new model would include next-shoring (manufacturing in the proximity of both demand and innovation as suggested by McKinsey in 2014) and reshoring (relocalising in original country – Wikipedia). Assuming this hypothesis is correct, then the anti-globalisation narrative must be revised not as something pitting people, state and government against the corporate sector, but as the start of the search for a new production model.

Thus, to answer to our previous question, it is not that large multinationals and many among the corporate sector are unconcerned about the Brexit and the Presidency of Donald Trump, but that they may be seeing them also as an opportunity to move towards a more adequate system in the making. This system would likely involve a measure of nationalisation or recognition of the nation as major unit.

Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, liberalism, free tradeShould next-shoring and reshoring develop, then trade flows in value could diminish or become less important.

In that case, those entities and actors depending on the older classical “free trade and deregulation” globalisation, if they do not accompany the movement for change, could react adversely as it is not only their beliefs but also their survival, power and wealth that are at stake. The European Union, as well as China, come to mind here and scenarios considering such developments would deserve further research. Political and geopolitical crises would likely be expected.

As far as the U.S. strategic and policy forum is concerned, we shall also note the absence of any representative of the military-industrial complex (who can be present elsewhere), which should be further investigated considering its importance within the American system and for the U.S. Foreign and Defence Policy, and as a result for the world (Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961; among many, Andrew J. Bacevich, “The Tyranny of Defense Inc.“, Jan/Feb 2011, The Atlantic).

The “puzzle” of the financial industry

If we now compare the attitude of the financial companies, notably banks in the U.S., to what is happening in the U.K. then we are faced with completely different behaviour, most probably because the interests, challenges and stakes are different in the two cases.

In the Brexit case, the issue it to keep access to the European banking needs, as well as financial business related to the Euro, such as, for example, euro denominated clearing (Huw Jones, “BoE’s Cunliffe says euro-denominated clearing Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, liberalism, free tradeshould not be forced into euro zone“, 22 Feb 17, Reuters). Fascinatingly, in a complete reversal of ideological accusations, it led the Bank of England’s deputy governor to accuse Brussels of “currency nationalism” because of the attempt of the EU to reclaim euro denominated clearing (Ibid, Tim Wallace, “EU’s ‘currency nationalism’ could splinter world’s financial system, warns Bank of England deputy“, 22 Feb 2017, The Telegraph).

These potential losses of business worry not only British banks, but most if not all banks operating from London, including U.S. Banks. All will try getting a deal that is the best for them, including through expressing disapproval and acting accordingly.

U.S. banks, in their country, do not have to face at all this challenge and thus may behave in a totally different way, according to the issues specific to American banking, including those related to the still dominant position of the U.S. dollar in the world.

Moreover, a monetary policy continuing to support a strong U.S. dollar, as seems to be finally favoured by the new Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, a former Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, liberalism, free tradeGoldman Sachs banker (e.g. Saleha Mohsin “Mnuchin Secures Senate Confirmation as Treasury Secretary” 14 Feb 2017 and “Inside the Mind of Mnuchin: Too-Strong Dollar May Hurt Economy“, 24 Jan 17, Bloomberg) is also favourable to investments abroad, including buying foreign companies. Should the hypothesis of a nationalised globalisation be increasingly likely, then a strong U.S. Dollar could help actualizing it not only abroad, but also domestically: import of raw materials would be cheaper and favour manufacturing domestically, the resulting products being then sold on the domestic market. The potential loss in terms of exports because of the strength of the U.S. Dollar would be offset by the fact that U.S. companies would need less to export, as they would be directly implanted in foreign markets.

This assumes, of course, that other countries allow it, which thus demands that we fully consider the beliefs, will and power of political authorities, besides other factors, including corporate culture. For example, Prime Minister May’s government “ordered officials to scrutinise the bid for the UK’s third-largest listed company, following high-level, separate talks between Number 10 and the two sides” to protect Anglo-Dutch Unilever, and its employees, when it faced and rejected the “surprise offer” of merger by U.S. Kraft-Heinz, backed by its main shareholders U.S. Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet) – and U.S. Brazilian 3G (

Further in-depth research will be necessary to deal fully with the financial part of the Brexit and of the U.S. Trump Presidency, considering the specificity of each situation, the interactions with the fundamentals of globalisation, including claims regarding potential “currency nationalism”. It will also be crucial to consider the consequences on the supremacy of the U.S. dollar, and related geopolitical impacts as well as potential tensions pitting the political authorities of one country and the companies they protect against a similar political-business nexus of another country, without forgetting the new regulations that will need to be designed, voted and enacted.

The high-tech sector, the Brexit and the Trump administration

The high-tech or large web-based companies behave completely differently with regard to the U.K. and the Brexit compared with the U.S. and the Trump administration.

Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, liberalism, free tradeApple, Google and Amazon have all asserted commitment to the U.K., even though the Brexit is taking place. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, declared he was optimistic about the post Brexit UK, after having announced plans to build new headquarters in London, however warning they will pay attention to new regulations (Rhiannon Bury, “Apple to create new UK headquarters at London’s Battersea Power Station“, The Telegraph, 28 Sept 2016; BBC News, “Apple ‘optimistic’ about post-Brexit UK“, 9 February 2017). Meanwhile, business being business, the prices of apps in the Apple Store will be raised on the basis of a parity between the Pound and the Dollar, to reflect the drop of the British currency (Alex Hern, “Apple increases App Store prices by 25% following Brexit vote“, The Guardian, 17 Jan 2017), which is unlikely to hurt much consumers considering the still very low prices of these apps, e.g. from £0.79 to £0.99, as well as their non-essential character.

Google also announced plans to build large headquarters in London, raising the number of staff employed in the U.K. from 4000 to 7000 (Eric Pfanner and , “Google to Expand London Campus Despite Brexit Questions“, Bloomberg, 15 Nov 16). Meanwhile, Amazon will hire 5000 employees in the UK, which represents one-third of its expansion in (geographical) Europe, and open a new head office in London (Euronews, “Amazon to add 15,000 jobs across Europe, 5,000 in Britain“, 20 Feb 17; Alanna Petroff , “Amazon hiring 5,000 workers in U.K. despite Brexit fears“, CNN Money, 20 Feb 17; Sam Shead, “Amazon shrugs off Brexit with plans to hire 5,000 more staff in the UK“, Business Insider UK, 20 Feb 17). Similarly, Facebook, Expedia and Snapchat hired staff, confirmed London as headquarters, opened or enlarged offices (Ibid.).

Trump, Brexit, globalisation, nationalism, populism, strategic foresight, scenario, liberalism, free trade. high tech, googleOn the contrary, in the U.S., the tension between the Trump government and high-tech firms flared over the immigration executive order  (Matt Drange, “Facebook, Google, Apple Lead U.S. Business Charge Against Trump Travel Ban“, Forbes, 3 Feb 2017). Actually, the relationships between the two sides are murky and cover much more than a temporary immigration ban, with issues related for example to encryption, anti-trust legislation or net neutrality (for an explanation on net neutrality: Investopedia,What Is Google’s Stance On Net Neutrality?“, June 2, 2015) (Melinda Biancuzzo and Jonathan Meyer, “Tech and Trump: What the Next Four Years Might Bring“, 8 Feb 17, Entrepreneur).

We are here in very different settings and dealing with very different objectives. On the one hand, as far as the U.K. is concerned, U.S. high-tech companies invest in a foreign country to develop their operations and platforms, which maybe seen as a direct application of the “nationalisation of globalisation” hypothesis identified above. Meanwhile, they take advantage of the low Pound and also develop a weight that they may use in the future to try influencing the U.K. government in their favour, including to boost globalisation, this time understood first through its social science meaning. This could have potential impacts on all aspects of globalisation, according to the way the British government and state respond, and anticipate.

On the other, in the American case, high-tech companies fight in their country, the U.S., for their interest. The impact on globalisation is inherent because of the very nature of these companies… which are all Americans. It does not seem indeed that any of them threatened to leave the U.S.. In both cases, we are here at a deeper level of complexity and understanding than expected from the initial free-trade and deregulation globalisation narrative, while the geopolitics of a technological globalisation, potentially in the new nationalised guise, largely led by high-tech U.S. companies, must be considered.

Diving deeper into the globalisation and anti-globalisation narrative regarding the Brexit and President Trump’s government allowed us to identify real and apparent contradictions, which led to sometimes unexpected questions and thus to new elements of understanding. As a result, uncertainty starts being reduced as we are developing the building blocks upon which to build a mapping of the issue at hand, which will then be used to develop scenarios.

We need now to turn to the other major explanation given for the Brexit and President Trump election, populism, as we shall see in the next (forthcoming) article.

———–

*To name only some major instances of political and geopolitical surprises, we have the 2010 – 2011 Arab Spring, enmeshed with the start of the Libyan and Syrian wars, the latter favouring the renewed rise from 2013 onwards of the Islamic State, the spread of non-violent opposition movements such as the 2011 Spanish Take the Square / Read Democracy Now followed by Occupy, the 2013-2014 Ukrainian Maidan revolution that led to the 2014 Crimea incorporation within the Russian federation, war in Donbass, polarized and tense relationships between “the West” and Russia (see), while Russia turned further East and worldwide, the planned, yet surprising for many, fall of oil prices starting in July 2014, with some difficulties so far to make it rise again substantially and its string of impacts, the potential rise of a new type of order in Eastern Asia involving a probably increasingly dwindling American power, etc (see Portals to a new opposition nexus; war in Ukraine; war in Libya; war in Syria; the war against the Islamic State; Helene Lavoix, “Lessons from the conflict in Ukraine” – (3) and (4), “An Isolated Russia? Think Again!“, 15 September 2014, The Red (Team) Analysis Society; Barbara Kollmeyer, “Oil prices push higher, lifted by decline in Saudi exports“, Marketwatch, 20 Feb 17; Jean-Michel Valantin, “Oil Flood? The Kingdom is Back“, 15 Dec 14 and among others The Warming Russian Arctic: Where Russian and Asian Business and Strategies Converge?, 23 Nov 16, The Red (Team) Analysis Society).

Featured image: Geralt via Pixabay, Public Domain.

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues.

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 Geopolitics, Uncertainties, Business, Brexit, scenarios, warning, riskimpending 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. Continue reading Lessons from and for the Brexit – Geopolitics, Uncertainties, and Business (2)

Greece and the BRICS Bank, a Forgotten Scenario?

The decision by Prime Minister Tsipras (e.g. The Guardian) on 26 June 2015 to consult Greek citizens in a referendum on their wish to accept or not the never-ending austerity measures demanded as part of the current bailout was obviously an unexpected move for Greece’s creditors. From the Greek government’s point of view, it was, however, a logical one considering the intransigence of the creditors, refusing to coGrexit, Greece, BRICS banknsider the plight of most of the Greek people, as well as considering the absurdity of measures that only end up ever-reducing the overall Greek national wealth, as again pointed out, for example, by Nobel-Prize economist Paul Krugman (“Greece Over the Brink“, The New York Times, 29 June 2015). It sent shock waves throughout Greece’s “creditors-system”.

Since then, officials compete to make declarations aiming at explaining with great difficulty that a referendum is wrong in a system that is meant to uphold democracy as a fundamental value and at convincing Greek people that the bail out with the famous IMF structural reforms and the austerity measures demanded by Europe are the only way forward, threatening the horrid consequences of default (e.g. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, “press conference on Greece“, 29 June 2015). Negotiations, however, also continue (e.g. BBC News 30 June). Meanwhile, the media try to envision if we shall have a Grexit, i.e. an exit from the Euro zone, what could be the impact for the financial world, also underlining the terrible consequences for people.

There is, however, another potential scenario, which any foresight exercise should consider, and that, publicly at least, is not mentioned: Greece is not isolated, and there are other players, including financially, in the world than the IMF, and the European neo-liberal establishment.

Greece, the first country also bailed out by the new BRICS bank and fund?

Indeed, assuming on 5 July 2015 Greek citizens vote “no” to the austerity reforms as recommended by their Prime Minister, what if Greece were to be bailed out by the “$100 billion BRICS New Development Bank and … currency reserve pool worth another $100 billion” that is expected to be launched – what a synchronous timeline! – during the 8-10 July twin 7th BRICS summit and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia (RT, 26 June 2015)? This scenario obviously assumes that such bailouts will be part of the mission of the bank and potentially associated funds.

Considering the amount and repartition of the Greek debt (see chart Open Europe, “Who does Greece owe?”, BBC News, 30 June 2015), such a new bail out would be unlikely to cover the overall debt. However, we may assume it would to the least cover the IMF share, Greece maybe defaulting on this part of the debt.

Grexit, Greece, BRICS bank, EU
From Alexis Tsipras Flickr photos Taken on23 March 2015 – (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At the European negotiation table to help Greece would now sit not Lagarde and the IMF, but the head of the new BRICS Bank and, through him or her, Rousseff (Brazil), Putin (Russia), Modi (India), Xi Ping (China) and Zuma (South Africa). It would then be highly probable that the new BRICS bank would not ask for austerity measures as they offer a different socio-ideological model from the neo-liberal one.

Indeed, none of the BRICS have an interest in a collapse of the Euro, as their aim is to favour a truly multipolar world (e.g. “‘BRICS key to multipolar world’- Putin“, The BRICS Post, 22 March 2013). Their interest is more likely to put an end of a U.S.-led unipolar world and thus to the supremacy of the U.S. Dollar, upheld by the Washington consensus, as we have followed here (see “Of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Petrodollars“, 16 April 2015;  “Risks on the USD supremacy“, 27 March 2014, etc.). Thus, the BRICS, assuming such a scenario occur, would probably initially try to negotiate by the side of Greece to see the latter remaining within the eurozone. They would, however, probably also be ready to welcome Greece fully in their fold should no other option be left open. During negotiations under this scenario, those who would be under tremendous pressure would be European leaders as, most probably, the U.S. would then do their utmost not to see Europe siding more with the new BRICS-led pole and less with them.

Is such a scenario plausible?

All the BRICS, promoting a true multipolarity, would also most probably encourage the emergence of a relatively strong Europe and European states, which would fully play an independent role on the world stage. This Europe would neither be subservient to the U.S. nor perpetually under the threat of a default. This Europe and its states are necessary to a multipolar world. The BRICS country, as explained above, would also have an obvious interest in further displacing the IMF.

For all the BRICS countries, and this is probably more particularly important for countries with a long history, i.e. Russia, India and notably China, being the ones to bail out another “old country” with a prestigious past would mean that the time of being despised, patronized and talked down to has ended and that they are not only fully equal partners at the table of nations, but also there with a strong position.

Grexit, Greece, BRICS bank, China
From Alexis Tsipras Flickr photos, Taken on February 19, 2015 – (CC BY-SA 2.0)

China, notably with its “one belt, one road” strategy certainly has an interest in seeing Greece not falling into chaos but becoming part of the belt, as explained by JM Valantin (“China and the New Silk Road: the Pakistani Strategy“, 18 May 2015; “China, Israel ad the New Silk Road“, 8 June 2015; The Red (Team) Analysis Society). Furthermore, China is already a serious investor in Greece (Silvia Merler, “China seeking to cash in on Europe’s crises“, Bruegel, 16 October 2014).

Grexit, Greece, BRICS bank, Russia
From Alexis Tsipras Flickr photos, Taken on April 8, 2015 – (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Russia has already signed a contract with Greece for its new Turkish Stream pipeline (RT, 19 June 2015), and, considering the continuous aggressive stance of NATO and the U.S. – be it considered as legitimate or not by the American-led side – (e.g. see the host of related articles in 25 June 2015 Weekly), as well as the European sanctions regarding Ukraine, may only have an interest in seeing the overall balance of power change on the European continent. It might also be an opportunity for Russia to show that it did really mean it wanted to build a cooperative world (among many statements, “‘Russia has no aggressive plans, will always prefer political settlement’ – Putin“, RT, 25 June 2015) and promote a peaceful Eurasian strategy (S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, ed. Putin’s Grand Strategy:The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, 2014), yet without authorising anyone to directly threatened its essential strategic and national interest, which, from the Russian point of view, led to the necessity to incorporate Crimea within the Russian Federation (e.g. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault“, Foreign Affairs, Sept-Oct 2014).

The majority of Greek citizens as well as the current Syriza government and its deputies certainly would have interest in such a scenario, as it would potentially mean defaulting only for a small part of their debt and/or only temporarily, then being able to renegotiate a reimbursement of their debt under conditions that would not imply a slow disappearance of the country and the never-ending pauperisation of its population (among others, Krugman, ibid.).

On the contrary, the Greek oligarchs and those they have co-opted have no interest whatsoever in this scenario. Similarly, the Western proponents of the neo-liberal system and oligarchs may only see as a threat even the fact this scenario could be envisioned, as it shows that the hegemony of their ideology is fading.

Assuming world actors have really thought about this scenario, the battle for the heart and mind of the Greek people until Sunday is most likely to spare no means, including further negotiations as is the case on 30 June 2015 (see “Greece debt crisis: ‘Last-minute talks after new offerBBC News).

Why, then, if this scenario is plausible, is no one from the BRICS or from the Tsipras government hinting at this possibility? Why, on the contrary, does Russia seem to insist that it does not intend to lend money to Greece (Associated Press, “The Latest: Russia dismisses talk of lending money to Greece“, 30 June 2015)? As far as Russia is concerned, a bail out by the BRICS bank would not be done by Russia, thus technically they would not be lying. Yet, would they not have interest to give hope to the Greek people? Considering the global high level of tension, and the propensity to accuse Russia of propaganda, if the scenario imagined here were to succeed, then it would be important that the Greek people take their decision alone, without any suspicion of manipulation. Furthermore, from a lender’s point of view, it would also be important for the BRICS bank to be fully certain that the current Greek government has the support of its population. Indeed, even without as stringent austerity measures as those imposed by the current lenders and without the IMF cherished structural reforms, the road ahead would nevertheless most probably be difficult. The choice, thus, must remain with the Greek citizens.

The impact of such as scenario, should it happen, would be tremendous because, beyond the immediate and relatively sudden re-design of the monetary and financial conditions for Greece and the world, beyond a new serious severe blow to the supremacy of the U.S. dollar as upheld by the Washington consensus, it would imply that a socio-ideological model that is not the capitalist neo-liberal one exists, is viable and is chosen by a Western nation. Greece being the cradle of democracy, and the choice having been made through a democratic referendum, would multiply the potential strength and attraction of this new model.

The ongoing transition towards a future that is actively being created accelerates.

Featured image: BRICS heads of state and government hold hands ahead of the 2014 G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. 15 November 2014 by Roberto Stuckert Filho [CC BY 3.0 br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 199 – Of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Petrodollars

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 16 April scan  

World – Two major developments should more particularly be underlined this week, the first related to world order and further threat to the U.S. Dollar supremacy and the second to the potential forthcoming anti-Bashar al-Assad Saudi-Turkish attacks in Syria.

First, there is the impact of the lower oil prices on petrodollars, with potential second order effects on the supremacy of the U.S. dollars as international currency, and then again potential consequences on American power and world order. As underlined in Bloomberg’s article (see “Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace” in the Weekly), currently analysts are divided in two schools of thoughts. According to the first one, the impact of the diminishing petrodollars will be extremely reduced, considering other types of liquidity and flows of USD. On the contrary, the second school underlines the psychological impact of the drop.

It should be added to Bloomberg’s analysis the increasingly repeated blows given to the USD supremacy for at least a year (see Risks on the USD supremacy, 27 March 2014), with a rising numbers of barter deals (e.g. Russia Iran, “Russia confirms Iran oil-for-goods swap, no signs seen” 14 April 2015, “What About The Dollar: Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal” 2 April 2014), mammoth deals in national currencies (Russia China in May 2014 “The Russia-China Gas Deal: Implications and Ramifications” Sept/Oct 2014), swap deals (China Russia e.g. China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion Dec 2014, Argentina China, Nov 2014; China South-Africa April 2015;  see also Liao and McDowell “Redback Rising…” 2013?, taking a longer historical perspective on the issue, etc.) to which should be added the new Asia Development Bank (e.g. “France and Germany join UK in Asia bank membership” March 2015).

What we are thus most probably witnessing is a sustained attack on the financial and monetary order of the Washington consensus, with the possibility to see the latter end. The world order, including geopolitically, as a result, will most probably become increasingly very different.

The second crucial development is the possible joint Saudi-Turkish intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad, that would involve Turkish troops in Syria with Saudi air support (see Huffington Post article in the Weekly “Saudi Arabia, Turkey Discussing Unlikely Alliance To Oust Syria’s Assad”). Obviously, how exactly this will take place and notably how many forces will be involved will matter to estimate the possible impacts.  Nonetheless, we are fully in a dynamic of escalation and spread of war. It would seem that the worst potential effects – such as extreme polarization around religion with rising extremism – may only be avoided if hard-core alliances are not endeavoured, and thus if rulers manage to treat each issue, threat or theatre of war relatively independently, even though actions somewhere impact other issues as well as the overall situation.

Accessorily – unless it is not accessory at all? – note that in both cases, Saudi Arabia plays a leading and preponderant role. Should we wonder, of course as a fully alternative hypothesis, if we are not seeing here emerge a “new” strong power – of a type involving network and leadership – on the world stage?

Economy – Very interestingly in the light of the anti-Iran geopolitical actions that are taking place in the Middle East, it would seem, according to Bloomberg, that financial investors completely ignore what is happening in the region and are “betting” on Iran, focusing exclusively on the probable end of sanctions. We may wonder if these early financial strategic investments signal the primacy of finance over geopolitics, belief in this primacy (which does not mean the belief is correct), evaluation that the situation will stabilize before it reached a point of no return and/or impacts Iran further, or simple ignorance of facts and dynamics because traders are not used anymore to pay attention to geopolitics and war.

Environment and Energy  – Dr Daum, among other issues, points out that “there is an interesting article in Climate Progress about the “winners” from changing climate. The article discusses several changes that on the surface appear seemingly small, but that may have large consequences. One of these is the brain eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri which is expected to thrive as US lakes increase in temperature.” The article underlines notably the link to rising epidemics and tropical diseases. We could further enlarge the scope and look at the potential impact such changes could have on plants. For example, we could wonder if the spread of the xylella fastidiosa bacterium in Europe, which kills olive trees and could also have a disastrous impact on other types of trees, is not related to climate and biodiversity changes (see e.g. “The killer bacterium olive trees found on a plant to Rungis“, 15 April 2015; “EU divided over Italy’s olive tree disease“, Mar 28, 2015). Needless to say, the likely impacts of the disease in terms of food security on the one hand, economic activity for whole sectors are immense.

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.probability assess sc

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 197 – Unstable Equilibrium in the Middle East

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 2 April scan  

World – Three articles this week are particularly interesting, in themselves but also when read together. Amal Mudallali “Sorry, Obama: The Arab World No Longer Needs America” for The National Interest, focuses on the pride and “new Arab spirit” resulting from the Saudi-led “Operation Decisive Storm”, the ““Salman’s Doctrine,” and the creation of a “joint Arab military force”, all heralding a new era for the region, where the U.S. is following rather than leading and where the Arab countries have finally taken their destiny in their own hands.  Gavi Barnhard with “The Patient Preacher: Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Long Game” for the Hudson Institute focuses on the life and mission of the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader. Yuri Barmin “Russia’s Yemen strategy comes into focus” for Russia Direct analyses Russia’s position regarding the operation in Yemen and shows how it tries to remain neutral and thus in a potential position of negotiator.

Barnhard’s article thus somehow underlines the still formidable inner challenges the new Arab union faces, while Barmin’s stresses the difficulty and complexity of the situation, exemplified by Russia’s attempt to remain neutral, as any move may easily further unbalance a very delicate “equilibrium” (if not disequilibrium). If, from an international order point of view, “Operation Decisive Storm”, for its disregard of the U.N. and the absence of U.S. leadership most certainly opens a new era, notably underlining the multipolarity of the world, the difficulty that lies ahead to keep an Arab union, as well as the complexity of the situation in the Middle East must not be papered over. Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 197 – Unstable Equilibrium in the Middle East

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 196 – Yemen, towards the End of the U.N.?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 26 March scan  

World – As the world wonders about the motivation that could prompt the copilot of Germanwings to crash a plane, and while the hypothesis of a terrorist intention is most probably on everyone’s mind, a very large number of crowdsourced articles this week were about the 26 March 2015 Saudi-led coalition’s attack in Yemen on the advancing Houthi Shi’a militias. These strikes are an answer to a call by Yemeni President Hadi. According to AFP/Reuters (see featured article), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates announced the attack, while the U.S. said it would bring logistical and intelligence support. Egypt also participated, and, according to Saudi Arabia, “Jordan, Morocco and Sudan”, as well as Pakistan, wish to participate. Meanwhile, the U.S., which, until now had not participated in the Iraqi army and Shi’a militias offensive against the Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq, announced that it will now provide air support to the Iraqi operation.

Taken together, these two developments most obviously underline how much of a powder-keg and quagmire the overall situation in the Middle East has become. If one add to them the recent debate over a potential intervention in Libya or not, then the decision to attack in Yemen also points out that the United Nations (U.N.) and the world order are currently facing a potentially critical situation. Focusing on Yemen, Jay Ulfelder explains in a detailed and clear way in his 22 March “Watching the States Get Made“, the intricacies of the current normative world order, as embodied by the U.N., as well as, sometimes the double language that needs to be used to see it continue. Indeed, to be internationally legitimate, any attack on another country should be authorised by the U.N. If the situation in Yemen was discussed at the U.N. security council on 22 March, however, no attack nor strike was authorised, as shown by the official Statement by the President of the Security Council (UN document). Yet, the attack now has taken place, thus locating it knowingly outside the current international legitimacy framework, despite a letter informing the U.N. in advance of the attacks.

On the contrary, in Libya, the refusal to intervene was respected.

The risk entailed not only by the illegitimate attack but also by the different behaviours is to see the U.N. and the even imperfect order it embodies start – or continue – to disaggregate and crumble.  This danger, on top of the very complex situation in Yemen and in the larger MENA region, most probably is what underscores the worried statement issued by China, stating its “deep concern”, and recalling it “urges all parties to act in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions on Yemen, and to resolve the dispute through dialogue.”

If the decisions of a system and the norms that uphold it are respected only from time to time, when it suits actors according to their national interest, then it enhances the probability to see this system becoming increasingly an empty shell. As pointed out by Ulfelder mixed motives and double language are not new. However, what is enhanced now is the utter disregard into which a U.N. decision has been held (for Yemen), as well as the proximity in time of two opposite responses to U.N. decisions (regarding Libya and Yemen), which thus highlights the preeminence of national interests.

It may well be that the situation in the MENA region is too dangerous, too fluid and too complex to accommodate a system that thrived during the stable bipolar world of the Cold War. Should the U.N. know a fate similar to the League of Nations, we might then see emerge a different world, ruled first by the balance of power and complex “games of thrones”, where war is not outlawed anymore, beyond declarations that will increasingly be seen as empty or hypocritical.

Economy – The large increase in junk bonds and debts related to the shale oil industry, considering low oil prices is notably highlighted this week.

Tech and weapons – The featured article for this section focuses again on China and a potential “space weapon threat”.

Environment and Energy  – First of all, two worrying signals, one regarding the impact of manganese pollution on bees, which are crucial as pollinators, and another one regarding the possible slowing down of the Ocean’s conveyor belt.  Then, Dr Daum focuses on water, as March 22, 2015 was the UN sponsored World Water Day. Among others, this reminds us how fashionable events may be integrated within a strategy of delivery of strategic foresight and warning to enhance the odds to see them heard. Dr Daum thus underlines that, according to the UNICEF statistics, “despite important worldwide gains in improving access to reliable drinking water, 748 million people still do not have access to clean water. One major area of water use that was discussed this week is with activities related to the coal industry: mining, washing, and cooling of power plants. Greenpeace has called for using less water on coal production and use and more for basic human needs. Meanwhile, another important article on RealClimate discussed the recent meeting in Schloss Ringberg, Germany on the sensitivity of climate to increasing level of CO2. There was some important discussion among scientists with new and developing information about sensitivity factors.”

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. 

The information collected is crowdsourced. It does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

probability assess sc

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 191 – Minsk and the Probability of War

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

Read the 12 February scan  

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – In terms of major issues, increasingly, one week looks very much like the next, as matters get entrenched. However, within each issue, problems emerge, evolve and sometimes coalesce.

Joseph Nye, in his small but excellent book Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, wrote in a part aptly named The Funnel of Choices:

“Events close in over time, degrees of freedom are lost and the probability of war increases. But the funnel of choices available to leaders might open up again, and degrees of freedom could be regained…. ” (p. 68)

This is exactly what we witnessed today in Minsk, a few degrees of freedom were regained by the leaders as the agreement was signed (see the scan for a choice of various media’s reporting on the agreement, as well as the text – in Russian, use Chrome for translation or read unofficial English translation by Slavyangrad.org).

Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 191 – Minsk and the Probability of War

The Islamic State Psyops – Ultimate War

The dreadful burning alive of the captive Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State and its video broadcast by Al-Furqan Media Foundation, as well as the reactions it succeeded in eliciting, such as Jordan’s retaliations (e.g. ISIS Study Group, 3 Feb 2015; BBC News, 6 February 2015), show once more the crucial importance to fully consider the Islamic State psyops as they are completely part of the war it wages and of the order it thus aims at establishing.

These psyops, beyond the influence they aim at generating (see “A Framework“), offer us a way inside the Islamic State and its Khilafah’s worldview.  Understanding the latter is crucial is we want to fight the Islamic State victoriously, because its belief system and induced actions impact all other actors, be they Jihadis or not, affiliated to the Islamic State or not. This is thus the second part of our analysis of the Islamic State’s worldview and of its impact (part 1 “Worlds War“).

We shall first show that the Islamic State’s belief-system deeply questions and changes the perception of what is domestic and what is foreign, then that it destroys the very notion of civilians and non-combatants. We shall then draw conclusions regarding the type  of war that is emerging as a result of the Islamic State’s Weltanschauung (German philosophical concept referring to the deep underlying conception of the world held by one or many actors) – with potential tremendous impact for us in terms of vision, strategy and warfare – knowing that those findings will need to be refined and eventually revised as the war unfolds and as actors evolve and change.  Continue reading The Islamic State Psyops – Ultimate War

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 189 – Why an anti-Russian “Western” Foreign Policy?

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – With the return of war to Eastern Ukraine, we are witnessing an interesting effort by some authors to try to make sense of a US-led foreign policy and analysis of the world that does not appear to make sense to them, besides, of course, the host of usual anti-Russian articles.

The articles in The American Interest  (“Putin’s World: In It To Win It” by Walter Russell Mead) and Salon (“Distortions, lies and omissions: The New York Times won’t tell you the real story behind Ukraine, Russian economic collapse” by Patrick Smith), although each with their own points, have in common an interrogation regarding the current extremely anti-Russian and anti-Putin policy, notably as far as Ukraine is concerned. Their effort at finding a rational answer somehow echoes Mearsheimer’s attempt at making peacefully and rationally sense of the same issue by using International Relations theory in Foreign Affairs (Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault” Sept Oct 2014). Similarly, Robert Jervis, the famous International Relations scholar, father of the study of perceptions in world politics, when surveyed by Foreign Affairs (Who Is at Fault in Ukraine? Nov 2014), strongly disagreed with the fact that Putin was responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 189 – Why an anti-Russian “Western” Foreign Policy?

The Islamic State Psyops – Worlds War

The world is increasingly racked, and with an ever wider geographical scope, by “Jihadis” attacks of various if not complex origin. To name only some of the most reported and latest cases, we faced attacks in Belgium, Canada, Australia, and lately France – with aftermath in Germany (11 January 2015The Telegraph). In Lebanon we had an attack in Tripoli (10 January 2015, BBC News) and the north of the country seems to be plunging into war. In Pakistan we remember the 16 December attack on a Peshawar School (BBC News, 13 January 2015), while the overall situation is increasingly unsettled and a former Taliban group, Khorassan Shoura, renewed its allegiance to the Islamic State in January 2015 (The Long War Journal, 13 Jan 2015). In Nigeria, two attacks were carried out by children suicide bombers on 10 and 11 January 2015 (The Guardian, 12 January 2015), and part of the northeast of the country seems to be now lost to Boko Haram,  affiliated to the Islamic State, while the conflict spreads to Cameroon (e.g. BBC News, 13 January 2015). In Saudi Arabia, we had an attack on border post on 5 January 2015 (Alessandria Masi, International Business Time). Meanwhile, the war heightens in Libya, which also has its own Islamic States actor (see forthcoming post in our series on Libya), reignites in Yemen (Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, 12 January 2015), and does not relent in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh
Still from the video “Although the disbelievers dislike it”, Al-Furqan media foundation, 16 November 2014.

In this light, and beyond the apparent diversity of origin of the attacks, it has become all the more urgent to understand the world as the Islamic State sees it, and in which way that worldview and related psyops and actions impact all other actors, be they Jihadis or not, affiliated to the Islamic State or not. This is crucial if we want to foresee what may happen, warn about it, and fight the war against the Islamic State at best.

Continue reading The Islamic State Psyops – Worlds War