Tension over Syria is rising. A potential military strike by a contingent of Western countries is looming after President Bashar al-Assad purportedly launched an attack on Syrian citizens using chemical weapons.
President Obama has yet to make a decision about a military strike but US officials have said they’re ready to go. While it is assumed that Britain and France will join the effort, British Prime Minister David Cameron faced some opposition in Parliament when he suggested the idea.
Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group, and Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, believes that U.S. military intervention is imminent. “They’re doing it because they think otherwise they’ve lost all credibility both in Syria and more broadly on deterrents and on redlines,” he tells The Daily Ticker.
Bremmer says markets should be concerned about long-term instability in Syria and the Middle East along with U.S. credibility. “There’s a likelihood of greater asymmetric attacks against the U.S. and allies in the region from terrorists, so let’s be clear the violence in this region and in Syria in particular is set to increase.”
The economic consequences could be immense.
“The vast majority of people that are engaged in market response to this speculation are not experts on the Middle East,” says Bremmer. “They’re scared, they’re hedging- what happens then? The U.S. dollar goes up, equities go down, and oil prices go up.” Once uncertainty is removed, however, oil prices will come down and the markets will come back up.
As for immediate repercussions, Bremmer believes they'll be limited. “I don’t think we’ll see much reaction from Assad and the Russians will criticize but remain on the sidelines and so will the Chinese.”
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