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Risk of war at ‘post-Cold War high’

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The threat of war is at its highest point since the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago, according to Aon’s annual Political Risk, Terrorism and Political Violence Maps.

For the third successive year, more country risk ratings have increased than decreased.

The continued rise of populism and a shift towards authoritarian governance are among reasons for political violence risk worsening, Aon says.

“The likelihood of interstate conflict, even involving major powers, is, in our judgement, at the highest point since the end of the Cold War.

“Growing geopolitical competition and weak leadership in international diplomacy have contributed to sustained or increased risks of armed conflict over the past year.

“Growing rates of polarisation over political, economic and social issues in mature democracies, and divisions between Western powers in the face of complex threats and risks, also contribute to worsening global security and greater strategic uncertainty.”

Aon says the threat of war on the Korean peninsula remains despite recent signs of rapprochement between Pyongyang and Seoul. Risk levels for the North and South have been raised.

About 40% of countries are listed as exposed to terrorism and sabotage risk, 60% to civil unrest risk and 33% to insurrection, war or coup risk.

About 8% of terrorist events last year targeted businesses, with more than two-thirds of these directed at oil and gas, mining, transport, construction and critical infrastructure.