Sources of American Decline… and Power – The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The question of a U.S. decline is increasingly on the agenda as signals seem to pile up to indicate a relative loss of power status. The last instance of such dynamics at play is the 4 to 8 October 2017 state visit to Russia of King Salman Saudi Arabia King Salman, a long-standing close ally of […]

Signals: Russia Unveils Policy on Iraq Kurds Independence, Iraqis and Kurds discuss…

Impact on Issues ➘ ➁➀ /➄ Iraq vs Kurds – ➙ ➄ Syria  – ➘ ➀ Russia Conundrum ➚ Russia Influence – ➘ ➃ Middle East Tension – ➘ U.S. influence Note 13 Oct: Latest signal 16 Oct 2017 as situation has considerably evolved since 11 Oct, showing the essential fluid character of the dynamics ate work. A flurry of diplomatic moves, visits and […]

Signal: State visit of Saudi King in Russia

Impact on Issues ➚ U.S. Decline – ➚ Russian Influence – ➘ ➃ Middle East Regional Tension – ➚➚ ➂  Global tension Among many other impacts, we shall notably stress here that this visit shows the skill of Russian diplomacy and the pertinence of Russian strategy as Russia seems to be highly likely to succeed in  maintaining and developing […]

Which U.S. Decline? The View from the U.S. National Intelligence Council

The second decade of the 21st century appears to be rough for the U.S.. Could it mean that American power is waning? The question of a putative decline of the U.S. regularly emerges in international relations and in the media since at least the 1970s (Kenneth Waltz; Theory of International Politics, 1979: 177-178). However, each […]

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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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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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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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 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 […]

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