Friday 20 July 2018

Concern rises among leaders over risk of global powers going to war

The Swiss resort of Davos will again host the elite annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Photo: Bloomberg
The Swiss resort of Davos will again host the elite annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Photo: Bloomberg
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The risk of political and economic confrontations between major powers, including outright war, have risen to the top of global leaders' concerns, according to a survey released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) days before its annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Environmental threats including freak weather, economic inequalities and cyberattacks all make the list of top fears in the Global Risks Report for 2018.

But most remarkable was the surge in geopolitical concerns after a year of escalating rhetoric between US 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.

President Trump will become the first serving US head state to attend the WEF event since Bill Clinton. He'll be one of 70 heads of state and government, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attending the annual event next week.

Ahead of the event, the WEF published the results of its survey of nearly 1,000 experts from government, business, academia and non-governmental organizations. Nine out of 10 expect a worsening of political or economic confrontations between major powers in 2018.

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