The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 155 – Narratives at War: EU-US vs Russia vs Crowdsourced?

Editorial – Narratives at war: There is a fascinating discrepancy at work between narratives found in the news. They vary according to the type of actors upon which one focuses. Actually the difference between some of them is so huge that one wonders if they describe the same world. Furthermore, if those narratives are rooted in the conflict in Ukraine they do not stop there but interact with and impact other areas and dimensions. Narrative One originates from the U.S. and Europe, with slightly varying emphases according to American or European origin. It runs somehow as follows: The conflict in Ukraine is (almost) over, thanks to legitimate democratic elections and the new Ukrainian President elect Poroshenko, who has outlined his peace plan. The next step is […]

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Conflict in Ukraine – Setting the Stage

The crisis in Ukraine started on 21 November 2013 with the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. Six months later, it is threatening to become a full-blown civil war with severe global impacts, unless the situation is stabilized. It is thus very important to assess the short to medium term plausible futures for this conflict, including if stabilization occurs or seem to take place, […]

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 152 – Forgetting Food Security?

Editorial – Forgetting food security? While the tense stand-off between the U.S., the E.U. and European member states on the one hand and Russia on the other does not abate and spreads to space, while most focus on the fossil fuel component of the Ukrainian global crisis, one crucial element of this energy that is vital for human societies, food, tends to be forgotten (for food as energy, see e.g. Thomas Homer Dixon, The Upside of Down, 2008). It is, however, usefully re-called to out attention by Chris Martenson’s article “Rising Resource Costs Escalate Odds of Global Unrest” (via Peak Prosperity on Zerohedge). True enough, if you head to the FAO monitoring of the global food situation, so far things are looking all right. Furthermore, according […]

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Actors and Factors In Future Threats Analysis (3) – The Crisis in Ukraine

This post will focus on a third analytical challenge at the core of the foresight and warning process, the fact that actors and “factors”, or rather variables, are often mixed together. Using the example of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, the first post of the series explained how to map a strategic foresight and warning question, notably how to move from factors to variables and the second underlined the importance to define and name the actors relevant to the question as objectively as possible and suggested ways to do it. The “black box” actor As we recall from the last post, during the first steps of a mapping for the future evolution of the crisis in Ukraine, both factors or rather variables and actors would […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 148 – A strange bipolar world?

Editorial – A strange bipolar world? – As previously suggested (see the Weekly 142, 143 & 145), the crisis in Ukraine seems to be accelerating some of the profound transformations that are globally at work, as consequences spread to Asia, and as doubts are being cast about the U.S. real commitment to, interest or capabilities in the region. Yet, and interestingly, the rhetoric against Russia from “the West” is strong and quite unanimously spread across (Western) media. As other noteworthy changes happen according to their own specific domestic and regional dynamics, such as the possibility to see Israel forging new ties with Arab states, we may wonder if the return to a Cold War type of discourse is not actually participating in the acceleration of change. In other words, […]

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Actors Labelling and Factors In Future Threats Analysis (2) – The Crisis in Ukraine

This post is the second of a series that deals with the core of the foresight and warning analytical process. The first post explained the mapping process and how to move from factors to variables. Here we focus on the second challenge analysts and participants to workshops face: how to include actors relevant to the question as objectively as possible. The process we use to map an issue or a foresight and warning question seems simple enough, especially once one understands what is a variable and how to specify it, as we saw and explained in detail previously. However, when done, notably within a workshop setting, when different participants brainstorm to map as well and as quickly as possible variables […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 146 – A case study in escalation: NATO, the U.S. and Russia

Editorial – A case study in escalation: NATO, the U.S. and Russia. If we very coldly look at how the situation is evolving between NATO, the U.S. and Russia, then it seems undeniable that we are in the case of a serious escalation, which is also getting larger and deeper. The hope for de-escalation the Kerry-Lavrov meeting had created, followed by the start of a removal of the Russian troops from the Russian territory close to the Ukraine border, as observed by Reuters and noted by the BBC (see Jonathan Marcus, first question, Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 1 April – video) stopped with NATO’s series of declarations, starting with “Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 145 – Risks on the US Dollar Supremacy?

Editorial – Risks on the US Dollar Supremacy? Among the flurry of articles part of the violent “battle for hearts and minds” regarding Ukraine and opposing directly Russia on the one hand,  the U.S and Europe on the other, continues emerging, quite loudly this week, an interrogation regarding the international order, this time in its monetary guise. Put bluntly, the question is as follows: “Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the US dollar based international monetary order?” The question is related to oil because of the importance of petrodollars. We may thus wonder if a potential U.S. strategy, assuming it could work (read Steve LeVine article “How the US might persuade the Saudis to co-conspire in unleashing an oil […]

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Actors and Factors In Future Security Threats Analysis (1) – the Crisis in Ukraine

This series of posts deals with the core and basis of the foresight and warning analytical process, explaining it while stressing three most common challenges analysts and participants to workshops face: identifying factors correctly (this post); specifying actors objectively (2-); overcoming an inadequate mix of “actors and factors” (3-). Practical ways forward will be suggested. The example that will be used as case study throughout those three posts is the 2013-2014 crisis in Ukraine, with, as corresponding strategic foresight and warning (SF&W) question, “What are the possible futures for the Ukrainian crisis over the next two years?” Compared with our previous methodological series, these posts may seem to address more basic problems. However, as workshop after workshop, participants, be they […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 144, Geopolitics also matters for businesses

Editorial – Geopolitics also matters for businesses – Among the big changes that the “Ukraine and Crimea crisis” are bringing or catalyzing, we may be seeing the end of the hegemonic belief that economics, and “business” only matter. Now that the E.U., its European members and the U.S. could be moving towards sanctions against Russia […]

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