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The weaponization of finance

For the moment, the American public has had enough of wars and occupations, but the Obama administration still wants to exert significant influence around the globe. Thats why Washington is weaponizing finance on a new scale. The U.S. is using carrots (access to capital markets) and sticks (varied types of sanctions) as tools of coercive diplomacy. The advantages are considerable, but there is a risk that this strategy will damage U.S. companies caught in the crossfire between Washington and targeted states. Transatlantic relations could suffer for the same reason.

ISIS, beyond Iraq and Syria

ISIS faces military setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but its ideological reach will spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2015. It will grow organically by setting up new units in Yemen, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and it will inspire other jihadist organizations to join its ranksAnsar Bayt al Maqdas in Egypt and Islamists in Libya have already pledged allegiance to ISIS. As the militant groups influence grows, the risk to Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt will rise.

Weak incumbents

Feeble political leaders, many of whom barely won reelection last year, will become a major theme in 2015. Brazils Dilma Rousseff, Colombias Juan Manuel Santos, South Africas Jacob Zuma, Nigerias Goodluck Jonathan and Turkeys Recep Tayyip Erdogan will each face determined opposition and formidable obstacles as they try to enact their political agendas.

The rise of strategic sectors

Global businesses in 2015 will increasingly depend on risk-averse governments that are more focused on political stability than on economic growth, supporting companies that operate in harmony with their political goals and punishing those that dont. Well see this trend in emerging markets, where the state already plays a more significant role in the economy, as well as in rogue states searching for weapons to fight more powerful governments. But well also see it in the U.S., where national security priorities have inflated the military industrial complex, which now includes technology, telecommunications and financial companies.


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  1. A global view of finance
  2. THE ROLE OF FINANCE




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