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Conflict Among World Powers Concerning 01/17 06:26

   A survey by the World Economic Forum finds that more than nine in 10 experts 
are worried about worsening economic or political confrontation between world 
powers, amid a trend toward "charismatic strongman politics."

   GENEVA (AP) -- A survey by the World Economic Forum finds that more than 
nine in 10 experts are worried about worsening economic or political 
confrontation between world powers, amid a trend toward "charismatic strongman 
politics."

   The WEF, the organizer of the annual Davos conference that convenes next 
week, cites a "deteriorating geopolitical landscape" and increasing cyber 
threats as key factors behind a pessimistic outlook this year --- adding to 
continued and pre-eminent worries about the environment.

   Its Global Risks Report released Wednesday is based on a survey of nearly 
1,000 experts and decision-makers from business, academia and other fields 
about 30 risks over a 10-year horizon. The report notes that a global economic 
rebound can help solve some problems, but it also pointed to increasingly 
complex challenges.

   "Global risk, nowadays, are so interconnected that they can threaten the 
very systems on which our societies, economies, and international relations are 
based," said Alison Martin, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, which 
contributed to the report, at a London news conference.

   Margareta Drzeniek-Hanouz, a WEF executive committee member focusing on 
economic progress, called the results "striking. She noted that on "political 
and economic confrontations, 93 percent of the respondents think they will 
increase somewhat or significantly ... in the coming year."

   WEF said four in five survey respondents expect rising risks "associated 
with war involving major powers."

   The report said geopolitical risks have been exacerbated by falling 
commitment to "rules-based multilateralism." It noted how President Donald 
Trump "delivered on some of his unilateralist campaign pledges" by pulling the 
U.S. out of the Paris climate accord and a trans-Pacific trade pact.

   It also said "identity politics" could fan geopolitical and domestic risks.

   "Charismatic strongman politics is on the rise across the world," it said. 
"In addition to the 'America First' platform of President Trump, variations on 
this theme can be seen in numerous countries from China to Japan, Russia, 
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and elsewhere."

   The report said last year's clash of "strong-state instincts" of Trump and 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has created uncertainty about the strength of 
the norms created by decades of work to prevent nuclear conflict."

   WEF also said geopolitical tensions are fanning an increase in the scale and 
sophistication of cyberattacks, and suggests greater investment in prevention 
is needed.

   John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at insurer Marsh & McLennan 
Companies, pointed to the prospects of "more state-sponsored attacks --- to add 
to the financially motivated attacks that are already out there."

   He suggested too few companies have a cyber-incident response plan in place.


(KA)

 
 
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