Geopolitics is back, with a vengeance, and needs to be elevated to a first order risk when weighing investment decisions. This is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the disconcerting bout of geopolitical volatility that is sweeping the globe from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. But turbulence and disorder also provide opportunities for savvy investors. So paying attention to geopolitical trends can reap rich rewards.
In the lifetime of most investors, geopolitical events have been a marginal consideration because of the underlying stability of the international system under the stewardship of a United States which privileged free markets, liberal democracies and the rule of law. But Pax Americana is unravelling under the pressure of multiple challenges from dissatisfied rising powers, like China and Russia, and influential regional states such as Iran and Turkey.