I have been a keen, active and engaged observer of global political economic matters for close to 30 years, as a journalist, academic and international public policymaker. If I have learned anything, it would be that prediction is a foolish activity.

Then, also foolishly, at the start of last year I stepped into it … On a hunch, and even citing John Maynard Keynes, I “suggested” something was going to happen in March 2020. Based on people I spoke to (in Brussels, Singapore and London), on papers I had perused and a casual reading of the tension between China and the US, I felt that the two countries, already in a trade war, would up the ante in what one of my mentors described as “the improbable war”. More on this later...

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