The Economist Intelligence Unit has released what it believes to be the top 10 global risks, including the UK possibly ditching the EU, Russia's presence in Ukraine and Syria heralding a new "cold war," and … President Trump? That scenario made the analysis group's forecasting list of the worst things that could happen on Earth—the first time the firm has ever singled out the possible election of a candidate as a "geopolitical risk to the US and the world," as Politico puts it. "It's highly unusual, and I don't think we ever have done it where we've had a single politician be the center of our risk items," says Robert Powell, global risk briefing manager at EIU. The list is color-coded on a numerical risk-intensity scale, with yellow indicating the lowest perceived risk (a collapse in oil investments gets a 4) and dark red signifying the highest (a sharp economic slowdown in China nabs the top spot with 20).
A Trump presidency ranks in the middle with a 12 and a code-orange designation, with analysts noting "the innate hostility within the Republican hierarchy towards Mr. Trump, combined with the inevitable virulent Democratic opposition, will see many of his more radical policies blocked in Congress—albeit such internal bickering will also undermine the coherence of domestic and foreign policymaking." Powell, who says Trump seems to "shift his opinions like the weather," notes other issues with the candidate's possible ascension include the threat of a trade war ("Why is a guy who has many of his goods made in China wanting to start a trade war in China?"); fuzzy math on Trump's plan to seize Syrian oil fields and refineries; and Trump's harsh words against Muslims and "militaristic tendencies," which Powell paints as a "gift" to terrorist groups. "His rhetoric will certainly help [their] recruiting effort," he tells Politico.