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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Egypt, Climate Change and the Long Resource Civil Warfare

Since the “Arab spring” reached Egypt in January 2011, the political situation has evolved quite quickly (Georges Corm, Le Proche-Orient éclaté, 2012). Many observers analyse the Egyptian political landscape as a battlefield between the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a growing number of people wanting to experience democracy, while the whole situation is being put under pressure by a very degraded economic situation (Seumas Milne, The Revenge of History, 2013). Moreover, those different actors are participating in the political tensions between Arab countries, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and between these countries and the U.S. (Corm, ibid). Egypt has tremendous political importance in the Middle East, in Africa, and at the international and global level. Since the antiquity, this very singular […]

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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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Hyper Siege: Climate Change versus U.S. National Security

In a passage of the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”, recalls that, as he waged a guerrilla war in the Arabian Desert, he was looking for a way to besiege an Ottoman garrison. He then had a kind of military epiphany, understanding that he did not need to do that, because the garrison was already besieged … by the desert. All he had to do was to stay mobile. However, a siege can be a very strong position for the defendant, which, often, can be defeated only from inside, as a long military history shows since the Trojan War. One can wonder if, nowadays, the U.S. national defence and security apparatus is not in the same […]

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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 […]

Climate Blowback and US National Security

The recently released 2014 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) establishes that “The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defence support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities. Our actions to increase energy and water security, including investments in energy efficiency, new technologies, and renewable energy sources, will increase the resiliency of our installations and help mitigate these effects.” This important statement is followed by a thorough assessment of how climate change may become a “threat multiplier” through the combination of multiple stressors such as food insecurity, water shortages, rapid and global urbanization, and coastal flooding. The Review furthermore states: “Climate change […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 143, Towards a 19th Century Order?

Editorial – Towards the 19th century or a darker, more remote past? (Nota: The map above depicts a 1903 vision of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1190) Last week we underlined that we should be looking beyond the current Ukraine crisis and estimate what it may mean in terms of changing the world order. This week we find a string of signals that continue pointing in this direction, including weak data of growth for the US that would be the new norm, questioning the supremacy of the US Dollar, and consequences for American power, on all fronts. while tension over Ukraine and Crimea does not abate. Meanwhile, the Middle East is in the throes of transition with even more tension, and […]

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