Tags: Iran | ISIS/Islamic State | North Korea | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | geopolitical | 2018

Ian Bremmer: China Poses Top 'Geopolitical' Risk in 2018

("CBS This Morning")

By    |   Tuesday, 02 January 2018 03:25 PM

The new year of 2018 is primed for the "geopolitical equivalent" of the 2008 financial meltdown, based on China's growing leadership, issues in relations with several countries, including North Korea, a mounting Cold War through technology, Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group, said Tuesday.

"In the 20 years since we started Eurasia Group, the global environment has had its ups and downs," Bremmer, also a CBS News contributor, wrote in a column he discussed on the "CBS This Morning." "But if we had to pick one year for a big unexpected crisis—the geopolitical equivalent of the 2008 financial meltdown—it feels like 2018."

The full list includes:

  1. China loves a vacuum.
  2. Accidents.
  3. Global tech Cold War.
  4. Mexico.
  5. U.S.-Iran relations.
  6. The erosions of institutions.
  7. Protectionism 2.0.
  8. United Kingdom.
  9. Identity politics in southern Asia.
  10. Africa's security.

China tops the list, Bremmer said, because of the United States' "America First" stance.

"They have the strongest leader in Xi Jinping they've had at least since Mao [Zedong]," Bremmer told CBS on Tuesday morning. "Because the United States is America first, it's transactional. It's unilateral. It's undermining a lot of alliances. You put those things together, and suddenly you actually have a China that is willing to engage in what is increasingly a geopolitical vacuum."

As U.S. "leadership erodes," he continued, "the leader of China is saying 'we're prepared to stand up, whether it's on climate or the global economy, you know, regional security, you name it, that's a big change for the world."

America, through President Donald Trump, is also starting to refuse payments to some countries, and the Chinese are "writing really big checks," Bremmer said.

Meanwhile, the race for technological breakthroughs is growing between the United States and China, according to the Eurasia Group.

"Our government isn't investing in AI – our companies are," said Bremmer. "In China, it's the Chinese, and increasingly with a trade conflict between the United States and China that's looming, that tech play is going to be a fragmentation. And other countries around the world, other companies are going to be looking and saying, who do we need to play with? That confrontation is going to play out this year."

Mexico also poses a risk for 2018, with anti-American sentiments rising over Trump's call for the country to pay for a wall, and because of his stance on NAFTA, which is responsible for 40 percent of Mexican trade," Bremmer said.

The situation in Iran also proves a danger, as the country enters a new year with violent protests waged against the Islamic Republic's leadership.

"The bigger danger for Iran right now is this is happening in an environment where the Saudis have very strong U.S. support and where the Americans aren't trying to do a nuclear deal," Bremmer said. "In fact, we're threatening to rip one up. So it's going to be much more polarized."

Iran's hardliners will "feel like they need to take more control, crack more heads, even though this isn't nearly as much of a threat domestically. I think it's more of a geopolitical challenge accordingly in the region than it is a danger that the Iranian regime is about to crumble."

Meanwhile, the risk list does not include Russia or Trump's tweets.

"We talk about them a lot, but the actual impact on the global economy, the global environment is less than you think," Bremmer said. "The Russian economy is smaller than Canada's. It's smaller than Italy's. And you know, Ukraine – [Russian President Vladimir Putin] took Ukraine? No. Most of Ukraine he lost."

Russian President Vladimir Putin will make some headlines, and has an election which he will win, Bremmer added, "but it's actually not that big of a deal."

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The new year of 2018 is primed for the "geopolitical equivalent" of the 2008 financial meltdown, according to Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group.
geopolitical, 2018, 2008 financial crisis, china
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 03:25 PM
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