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Why ‘independent America’ is the No.1 geopolitical threat of 2017

Earlier this month, political analysts at the Eurasia Group rated “independent America” as the top geopolitical risk of 2017.

Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer spoke with Yahoo Finance anchor Alexis Christoforous and Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the global climate surrounding the incoming administration.

Bremmer explained that “independent America” is the No. 1 geopolitical risk because “the United States has elected a president that is explicitly anti-globalism. And the US has been leading globalization for generations now — Americanization, globalization, the same thing.”

With the election of Trump, globalization continues while Americanization does not. And given that “the U.S. is the world’s only superpower,” according to Bremmer, “the absence of the U.S. means a vacuum.

That vacuum creates new risks.

“Around the world, that unnerves a lot of traditional American allies, and it also leads to a lot more potential for geopolitical conflict,” Bremmer said. “So clearly, structurally, the biggest political risk in the world this year happens to be the United States.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump gestures during a USA Thank You Tour event. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Bremmer later argued that risks aside, there may be a logic to Trump’s “America first” policy.

“As the Americans decide to engage in an exit from the US-led global order and responsibilities, the American geopolitical environment is actually pretty stable,” Bremmer said. “We don’t have an arms race in the Western hemisphere, we don’t have to worry about terrorists like crazy, we don’t have to worry about refugees swimming onto our shores the way the Europeans do, the way the Turks do.” 

Bremmer added that Trump — who gave himself the name “Mr. Brexit” while predicting a comeback presidential election win — seems to be thinking along the same lines as the UK’s “Leave” voters.

“When the Brits did their exit they did it in part because they really believe that, long term, Europe was going to fall apart. They may handle it badly but the fact is if you know Europe is gonna fall apart, leaving early makes some sense.

“With the Amer-exit Trump is proposing from the global order, if you believe that the world is coming apart, countries aren’t gonna have jobs for their people that terrorism is gonna be this massive problem, [then] there is an argument to be made that the United States should withdraw from those responsibilities early, as opposed to getting sucked in. And by the way, Obama’s perspective on the Middle East is not far from that.”

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