2017 saw a prevalence of political crises and unresolved disputes between countries. The war on terror continues to be fought both at home and abroad. We also saw record highs for the values of crypto-currencies. After such a year, what does 2018 hold? In Brasidas Group’s first newsletter of the year, we look at potential events or “grey swans” that could occur given the right circumstances.
Most articles discuss potential armed conflicts that could occur in various regions across the world. The situation on the Korean peninsula has worsened as both leaders swap insults and threats that could lead to armed, and potentially nuclear, conflict. The Middle East has also become a tinderbox as multiple countries and political organizations have put themselves in unwavering positions. The diplomatic crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries has been unresolved since June 2017 and threatens to lead to conflict in the absence of fruitful discussions. The U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem has also sparked anger in the region, as Palestinian leaders are determined to counter this change in the status quo. This could consequently spark another conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant factions.
Russia has also been the subject of intense scrutiny over its alleged interference in democratic elections, not just in the U.S. but in other Western countries. However, this could just be masking other aspects of Russia’s policy to destabilize the West via a potential encroachment of territory in the Baltic States as well as a pivot in policy towards Turkey, both of which are examined in our newsletter.
On the U.S. political front, President Trump continues to act unabashedly in handling domestic and international policymaking. As such, one only wonders what would happen if Trump were impeached and the world were to face a presidency under Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, Europe is facing domestic and political challenges with right-wing political parties gaining traction and Brexit occupying the time of policymakers in Brussels. In the face of such issues, would Europe be capable of responding to a coordinated terrorist attack on several European cities by ISIS? Lastly, the growth in value of Bitcoin, particularly toward the end of 2017, has led to a proliferation of the world’s first crypto-billionaires. Can cryptocurrency mania lead to the development of the world’s first fiat crypto-currency? The above scenarios, though unlikely, are still possible. Brasidas Group, as part of its commitment to knowing tomorrow’s news today, examines the potential for such scenarios and their implications in shaping 2018.