BERLIN (Reuters) – The risk of political and economic confrontations between major powers, including outright military conflicts, has risen sharply, according to a survey released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) days before its annual gathering in Davos.
The Global Risks Report highlighted several top risks for 2018, including environmental threats from extreme weather and temperatures, economic inequalities and cyber attacks.
But most remarkable was the surge in geopolitical concerns after a year of escalating rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that has arguably brought the world closer to a nuclear conflict than it has been in decades.
Trump is due to give a speech on the closing day of the WEF, an annual event in the Swiss Alps which runs from Jan. 23-26 and will attract 70 heads of state and government, as well as celebrities, CEOs and top bankers.
The survey of nearly 1,000 experts from government, business, academia and non-governmental organizations showed 93 percent expect a worsening of political or economic confrontations between major powers in 2018, including 40 percent who believe those risks have increased significantly.
Some 79 percent see a heightened risk of state-on-state military conflict. In addition to the threat of a conflict on the Korean peninsula, the report pointed to the risk of new military confrontations in the Middle East.