United States President Donald Trump

Divided US, not COVID, is biggest risk to world in 2021 ─Survey

*The Eurasia group in a survey discloses that in decades past, the world would look to the United States to restore predictability in times of crisis, but the global preeminent superpower faces big challenges of its own now

*The organisation lists 10 top risks to the world in 2021

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the global economy is still smartening from the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the Eurasia group in a recent survey now sees a divided United States (US) as a key risk this year for a world lacking leadership.

President Ian Bremmer and Chairman Cliff Kupchan of Eurasia Group, in a report on the top risks for 2021, said: “In decades past, the world would look to the US to restore predictability in times of crisis.

“But the world’s preeminent superpower faces big challenges of its own.”

Beginning with the transition complications facing the President-elect Joe Biden Administration in a divided US, the report flags 10 geopolitical, climate and individual country risks that could derail the global economic recovery, Bloomberg report noted.

An extended COVID-19 impact and K-shaped recoveries in both developed and emerging economies is the second biggest risk factor cited in the report.

According to the survey findings, Biden will have difficulty gaining new confidence in US global leadership as he struggles to manage domestic crises.

The report noted that with a large segment of the American populace casting doubt over his legitimacy, the political effectiveness and longevity of his “asterisk presidency,” the future of the Republican Party, and the very legitimacy of the US political model are all in question.

Bremmer and Kupchan stated: “A superpower torn down the middle cannot return to business as usual. And when the most powerful country is so divided, everybody has a problem.”

The report lists the following as top risks in 2021:

  1. US Presidency
  2. COVID-19 extending through 2021
  3. Implications of net-zero emission goals
  4. US─China tensions
  5. Global data control
  6. Cyber conflict
  7. Turkey
  8. Cheap oil
  9. Europe after Merkel
  10. Latin America

The report, however, warns that the pandemic and its broad impacts will not vanish once vaccination becomes widespread.

It said uneven recoveries, variance in vaccine access and stimulus plans that fall short will push up debt levels, leave workers displaced and fuel opposition toward incumbent leaders.

In regard to the US, the report stated this would increase the polarisation that fed support for outgoing President Donald Trump.

And for emerging economies, the debt crunch could lead to financial troubles in most countries, according to the report.

The group’s report, nonetheless, noted that some concerns are more likely to be “red herring” risks that have been overplayed.

These include relations between Biden and “Trump’s fellow travellers” such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, UK’s Boris Johnson and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Biden administration will engage on shared interests and leaders will adapt to the new status quo, added the report.

Meanwhile, the report stated that fears over a global backlash against US tech giants, and an Iran-US confrontation are also seen as lower risks.

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