Below are the remarks of Dr. Thomas Flichy de La Neuville in his presentation to IWP on the future of Europe, 2030. This was the sixth annual Kosciuszko Chair Military Lecture, and took place on September 15, 2016. Dr. Flichy is Professor of International Relations at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, France.
His remarks are framed as a projection. But he also articulates for each projection a specific, plausible scenario. Thus, while his work is meant to predict, it is also meant to illustrate these predictions. His essay is below:
THE CHANGING BALANCE OF POWER IN THE WORLD: EASTERN EUROPE IN 2030
Institute of World Politics, Washington D.C.
Thomas Flichy de La Neuville
1 – Can a civilization whose motto is enjoy and forget anticipate?
In the United States and in Europe, the dictatorship of immediacy, combined with the preference for conceptual analyses, have brought about a real failure of foresight.
Almost exclusively based upon statistics, the works of anticipation have turned away from the future political and cultural evolutions, as if the prophecy of a liberal world pacified by the opening of borders would inevitably become true. We must be aware, however, that, most declining civilizations are marked by the inability to foresee the dangers threatening them.
Thus, when the Persian conqueror Shapur I entered the city of Antioch in 252 AD, he found the population carelessly gathered into the theatre. According to Ammianus, the actor on stage suddenly addressed the crowd, saying: Is this a dream or are the Persians there? Turning their heads, the citizens of Antioch suddenly discovered the Sassanid archers, who showered arrows unto them before setting the city on fire.
The sanction of intellectual blindness is sometimes painful. Unable to see the world as it is, and imagining their downfall only in dreams, declining empires accumulate strategic errors. In fact, we can rightly oppose somnambulist elites to lucid dreamers: Henri 8th versus Thomas More. It is very difficult for somnambulist elites to foresee what could happen within two little decades. In effect, what prospective studies, if any, had only envisaged, the fall of the Berlin Wall in the mid-1970s?
Moreover, the religion of scenarios hides the inability of forecasters to take the risk of proposing one single future – as if the different scenarios proposed by forecasters were a way to avoid the risk of any kind of debate. The indicators needed to anticipate that the future cannot be reduced to contemporary weak signals. In fact, these signals must be combined with other ones, which can sometimes be found several centuries back, insofar as civilizations are subject to long-term evolutions.
We must also be aware that most prospective analyses, especially when they have been publicly funded, are rarely designed to satisfy the innocent curiosity of the public. Prospective studies legitimize in advance certain political choices while putting to rest legitimate anxieties. In reality, a true work of anticipation requires lucidity and courage, two qualities that are becoming rare amongst Western intellectuals.
Thinking falsely of ourselves as a spontaneous civilization, we have become unable to anticipate. The motto conceived by our fake elites is enjoy and forget. Those who forget the past can also forget about any kind of reasonable prediction of the future.
2 – Can we rely on the National Intelligence Council to imagine East Europe in 2030?
The Global trends report for 2030, issued by the National Intelligence Council, devotes several pages to developments in Europe, a continent whose future is described as very uncertain. Three scenarios are described: the sudden collapse, the slow decline, or a renewal.
Between these three hypotheses, the slow decline is thought to be the most likely. In Eastern Europe, the European institutions would be preserved, growth would remain near zero while Euroskepticism would develop and lead to the renationalization of each foreign policy.
The analysis on Eastern Europe is tightly linked to the potential evolutions of Russia. Global Trends fears that a Russia resistant to liberal globalization emerges by 2030: Russia could become a deeply destabilizing power, using its military advantage to intimidate and dominate. An interesting parallel is drawn between our times and the beginning of the 19th century: In 1815, the Russian, Prussian, and Austro-Hungarian autocracies opposed liberal states such as France and Great Britain. The Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria aimed to fight against democracy, revolution, and secularism.”
The idea implies that after the dismantling of Austria-Hungary and the subjugation of Germany by the United States, Russia would be the last fossil of a time that is nearly over.
This idea is extremely interesting; the only problem is that the authors of the report take it for granted that history drives us peacefully towards a more liberal world. Those amongst us, who have eyes, know that the reverse is happening: liberalism is a fossil of the past and we are going to witness a huge surge of identities in Eastern Europe.
This is true for Russia – a country in which civil servants have been offered by Vladimir Putin; the flower of 19th century anti-liberal philosophers, in Hungary – which struggles against the EU and closes its borders; and in the most lively part of the Germanic countries, Austria – where the liberals will be wiped out from the map at the next general elections; but also in the former territories occupied by Prussia, for example in eastern Germany where a national movement like Alternative für Deutschland will win the next regional elections.
Global Trends notes that “the Russian economy is the Achilles heel of this country. It is too dependent on the production of oil.” However, obstacles often stimulate civilizations. In the case of Russia, economic difficulties will stimulate its political intelligence. Isn’t Russia’s political intelligence already inversely proportional to its economic frailty? The report correctly notes the enormous demographic challenges that Russia will experience. “In 2030, Russia will experience a demographic collapse, losing 10 million. However, thanks to its economic growth and its immigration, Russia could successfully maintain its share of influence.”
Have the US analysts imagined for one second that this immigration could be impacted by Western Europeans, fleeing civil wars? Probably not, although they noted rightly: The biggest challenge will be the integration of the rapidly growing Muslim population while the European population declines. The current 20 million Muslims, who represent 14% of the population will account for 19% in 2030.
In short, three major errors of assessment have been made regarding Eastern Europe by the National Intelligence Council. The first error concerns the projection of the democratic utopia on European states. Already described as an illusion by populations that have become impermeable to political correctness, the democratic myth will not be able to federate Eastern Europeans in 2030 – especially when the democrats explain that it is not the migrations that fragment and destabilize societies, but rather the refusal of multiculturalism.
The second error relates to likely geoeconomic trends: if the report rightly emphasizes the aging European population, it never draws any conclusions from this trend on the creative potential of Eastern European countries. Now we know that the average age of a population has a strong impact on its ability to innovate.
The third error relates to the evolution of Islam. Islamic terrorism is compared to anti-colonial movements of the 1890’s and as such promised to short-term dissolution.
3 – On what criteria should we base our assessment?
Until recently, the life of a man represented a very limited window of observation to measure the geopolitical changes of the time. Civilizations could take several centuries to collapse, and the views of an individual on the rise or the fall of empires, had to be confronted with several generations of analysts to make sense.
It seems that times have changed. We are indeed experiencing such an intense acceleration that it has become possible to foresee what could happen within two decades. From a geopolitical point of view, paradigms have proved ineffective.
The first false premise was to think that the security of hydrocarbon reserves was the main key of interpretation to global geopolitical play. Contrary to expectations, not only is there a large supply of oil, but it has been found in such abundance that tensions over oil have diminished.
The second wrong paradigm was to think that the cultural and political factors would dissolve into the market: States that have left the reins of their foreign policy to the antagonist game of industrial and military lobbies have found themselves dispossessed of their own foreign policy.
The third biased paradigm was to believe that technological development would bring about a joint progress of information and reason. The exact opposite has happened: the interconnection of information flows has brought about a widespread impoverishment of analyses.
What are then, the real criteria of power?
The first one is collective self-esteem – the course of history being determined by small emotive minorities – ready to die for their ideas. In Eastern Europe, the future spaces of peace will not only be secured by protective borders, they will also be rooted in an identity that will ensure their internal harmony.
The second criterion is innovation and work: creativity is indeed the backbone of economic development. This innovation is in the hands of active minorities. It is embodied in a Supreme figure: the Prince. In a continent marked by growing chaos, the law is not sufficient any more. It has to be crowned by a prophetic figure. Russia has already chosen the return of the Prince. This evolution could happen elsewhere. In effect, interchangeable technocrats currently represent contemporary European democracies and it is very likely that Princes of war will eventually replace the supreme technicians. This transformation will enable the political leaders to reconnect with a form of masculinity and to strike popular imaginations.
The third criterion is demographic dynamism: and again, this often depends on the liveliness of a minority. In order to anticipate the evolutions of Eastern Europe, we must concentrate on the capacity of Eastern European states to transmit life in all its dimensions: spiritual, biological, cultural, political and, last of all, economic.
4 – What will be the impact of economic frailties on elderly people?
In 2030, European competitiveness, formerly based on youth, creativity, higher education, and research will be at half-mast. Now old, European societies will cultivate leisure as their sole purpose. Rivaled by the Indian, Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Brazilian, Algerian or Mexican, elites, Eastern European economies will have lost many market shares.
Having conditioned many export contracts to significant transfers of technology, European industries will be forced to remain excellent in order to retain a decisive advance. In the aeronautical, space, armament, energy and transport industries, the contracts will not be signed in English anymore, but in Chinese or Arabic. The ousting of Greece from the Eurozone, and the subsequent collapse of the monetary unit, will have had direct consequences on European assets placed in Athens.
Noting the failure of all current political solutions, Eastern Europeans will massively turn away from politics. Populism and Euroskepticism will grow. The claim of border control in order to prevent illegal migrations arriving from the Mediterranean will have become so strong that countries like Hungary have left the Schengen Treaty. The aging of the European population will have brought about an over-representation of senior citizens in society. The system of wages will be exploding, leading grandpa boomers in an extremely precarious situation. One-third will rely on the younger generation in order to survive. This dependence is not only economic. Pollution and almost continuous exposure to electromagnetic waves will contribute to the increase of cancers. Many dependent elderly people will not be able to afford the services of a robot.
5 – What will be the social impact of an increased connectivity?
Long regarded as the privilege of younger generations, technologies related to the digital revolution will now used daily by entire Eastern European populations. Senior citizens who have grown up with these technologies for decades will have completely integrated them into their lifestyle and will have become more and more dependent on virtual applications.
In the continuity of e-services, powerful drones will circulate in the air of towns, bringing parcels and supplies to citizens who cannot move to the drives, which have replaced many stores. Artificial organs will compensate for the severe shortage of donated hearts. Exoskeletons will not only allow people with disabilities to regain lost mobility, they also enable healthy individuals to carry superhuman loads.
The dark side of this robotic revolution will be the destruction of many low-skilled jobs, while businesses related to the programming or maintenance of these new machines will have exploded. Responding to the urgent need to be connected anytime and anywhere, microchips will have been implanted directly on human bodies. Thanks to them, worried parents will receive notifications informing them when a pedophile who served his term approaches their children’s school or home.
Everywhere, integrated systems linking smart glasses and electronic implants will connect men a little more to isolate them better. Contrary to what one might think, the spectacular development of social networks will confine individuals to their selected identities.
The 2030s will therefore be marked by the return of microscopic groups, and bearers of strong, and sometimes subversive, cultural values. On the web, the competition between the minorities to control the masses will exacerbate. In the former developed countries, the consequences of the use of new communication on innovation will clearly appear: broken into pieces by the power of immediate messaging, time for individual creative thinking will become the exception. In this sense, the explosion of communication further reduces any form of free thought.
Within the Crypto-democratic countries, the illusion of a government by the people will have shattered long ago. Having been forced to use violence in order to compensate their inability to diffuse creative emotions, dead bureaucratic elites will have given way to new leaders. More than ever, the need for political action in the long term, guided not by self-interested lobbyists, but by the common good, will be felt.
In short, the dream distilled by the media of a future Europe in which the individuals would be freed by the opening of borders and the inevitable progress of democracy appears as a fairy tale.
6 – Will Eastern Europe remain united in 2030?
In 2030, the poorest peripheries of Eastern Europe will have been excluded from the EU. The Balkans will have quickly followed Greece. In the Mediterranean countries, a wall will have been built against migrations.
The massive influx of African migrants will be one of the greatest challenges of the 2020s. Because of the free movement of persons within the EU, all its Member States will be affected by migrations. Indeed, the terrorists will have taken advantage of the current legal mechanisms in order to enter Europe and carry out attacks that will shocked public opinion.
Forced to respond, the EU will establish an important police mechanism that monopolizes much of its maritime military means. Aware that it could not accommodate the entire human misery of the world, the EU will be forced to revise its policy. Indeed, the overcrowding of detention centers and the clashes of violence opposing indigenous peoples organized in self-defense militias against the increasing number of migrants will have led EU policymakers to take bold action.
Imitating the example of Australia, which had imposed a strict naval blockade of its coasts against ships of immigrants, European navies will set up an effective system based on the interception on the high seas and the systematic reintroduction of migrants on the African coast.
7 – Will Eastern Europe benefit from the opening of the north-eastern sea route?
In the north-eastern seas in the 2000s, the accelerated melting of ice began to open a passage between the Arctic and Siberia, from July to September. During the 2010s, the movements had become free from late June to mid-November. With the acceleration of global warming in the 2020s, the five months of navigation will gradually be extended to seven – from May to November.
The Chinese container traffic will rush into this breach, which will save 15 days of navigation compared to the Suez route, and will allow it to make significant savings on the price of transport. Chinese traffic in the Northeastern passage will increase from 15% in 2020 to 30% in 2030. In 2030, the Chinese maritime trade will be able to save more than 2000 billion per year. The new Arctic sea trade will be controlled by the Chinese satellite monitoring system Feng Yun. This system warns ships about the presence of drifting ice.
The Northeast traffic, previously confined to the transport of oil, gas, minerals, or frozen fish, will now spread to containers carrying any type of load. Once the satellites have given the signal ensuring an easy navigation in the Arctic Ocean, the containers that had planned to leave for Rotterdam via Suez will be transferred to strengthened vessels and sail through the Northeastern route. Nuclear powered icebreakers will secure the route taken by the convoy of Chinese ships and open the road. The fifteen days gained will allow them to meet customer deadlines. Upon arrival in the sea of Barents, the container ships will warn the port of Rotterdam in order to give the precise time of arrival.
The Russians will have benefited from the opening of the North-East route by renting their Russian icebreakers with nuclear propulsion. However, tensions will gradually emerge with the Chinese. The Chinese indeed will use their new modern icebreakers, the snow dragons, which circulate on a more northerly route, beyond the 200 nautical miles of the Russian territorial waters. Chinese ships will thus avoid paying taxes and rental fees to the Russian icebreakers. Despite the dangers of this route, Chinese ships are now trying the adventure.
The melting of Arctic sea ice will nevertheless allow the Russians to create Siberian bases exploiting hydrocarbons and mineral deposits. Shipping in the Arctic Ocean will become profitable enough to supply their Kara Sea bases or to get their raw materials. The Russians will have completed the expansion of the port of Murmansk in 2015. They equip it with a container terminal, a coal terminal, an oil terminal, and a pipeline. The many resources of the Kola Peninsula (platinum, gold, cobalt, iron, copper and nickel) will now be exported to China by sea or road. For their part, the Norwegians will have developed the port of Kirkenes, located 200 kilometers from Murmansk, in an attempt to capture some of this maritime trade.
Under American pressure, Canada will also launch the Northwest passage project. But this passage will only be possible by 2050.
8 – Will Germany remain the economic heart of Europe?
After having been Europe’s largest economy for decades, mainly because of the lack of competition amongst its European partners, Germany finally has emerged as a political power.
Eighty-five years after 1945, the last witnesses of the war have disappeared. The feeling of guilt is about to disappear completely amongst the young Germans who have an overdose of repentance. However, militarism does not interest Germany any more.
The true centre of gravity of Europe, Germany is abandoning the outskirts of the west and the south of the continent, and refocusing on Mitteleuropa, strengthening its strategic partnerships with the Baltic and Slavic worlds.
Preferring to invest its capital in Russia rather than in Greece or in France, Germany now leads the EU diplomatically. The reorganization of the UN benefits Germany. India and Brazil have permanent chairs in the Security Council, whereas France and the UK have lost theirs.
Internally, the demographic situation of Germany is changing. After having been undermined by the declining birth rate, Germany is stabilizing its population thanks to an appeal to young Europeans wishing to leave their failed states. The severe economic crisis following the implosion of the Eurozone is causing a mass exodus of young unemployed workers to Germany, where incentive mechanisms towards a careful immigration system are established.
However, these new European workers have to compete with the Germanized Turks who are less integrated than ever.
For example, here is one scenario that could happen: The former industrial valley of Wuppertal witnesses deadly urban combat between the 3 and 4th of November 2030. The SAIL (Self-Administered Islamic Länder), whose status has been guaranteed by the Constitutional Act of 2028, for sake of argument, have decided to attack two residual enclaves, occupied by old Germans and situated along the Wupper. Self-defense Militias are quickly overwhelmed by the mortars of “Shariah Police” and have had to call the army of the federated peoples in order to force the ethnic majority to cease its harassment against the old Germans. For the first time, use has been made of the new Leopard IV tanks, whose production line is located in the outskirts of Ankara. During the incident, Sergeant Mustapha Steinhorst, from the army of the federated peoples has been fatally injured. The ritual beheading has however been avoided and calm has now returned in the smoking ruins of Wuppertal.
9 – A more aggressive Russia?
In 2030, Russia will have strengthened its internal coherence by reviving its own identity.
Lieutenant Pascal, has defined this identity in his speech the Russian soul by a Latin, with three words: solidarity, indeterminacy, and the trend towards the absolute. These three trends are opposed point by point to the evolution of Western Europe, marked by the triumph of individualism, technicism, and materialism. Sobornost is one of the great concepts by which Russia intends to differentiate itself from the West. It could be translated by being together.
Russia is also marked by a living disorder. In reality, a foreign civilization regime has been imposed unto it since Peter the Great, and this might explain its fatalism.
The third feature is the sympathy for utopia. In this context, a defeat on earth can mean a victory on another level, the higher level, that of ideas.
In 2030, the Russian cultural revival will enable the country to influence its neighbors. In Eastern Europe, Russian cultural centers will select asylum seekers to send them to the University of St. Petersburg, which welcomes researchers and carefully selected professionals.
The contribution of these new populations, coupled with a rebound in the birth rate begun at the dawn of the 2010s, will enable Russia to reconnect with population growth. In 2030, the Russian Federation will count nearly 150 million people. In 2030, Russia will have managed to break the encirclement organized by the US through the former Soviet republics.
The strategy is always the same: unable to reclaim its whole former territories, Russia favors the secession of the most dynamic regions where Russian-speaking minorities are concentrated. With Transnistria for Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia for Georgia and Crimea for Ukraine, three States have been considerably weakened by their struggle against Russia. We must add to this that Belarus and Russia – which already formed a customs union – have now merged following the Minsk destabilization attempts. This offers Russia a buffer zone of a significant strategic depth, allowing it to keep its distance from the European Union.
10 – What future for Ukraine?
This mysterious Ukraine, existing and non-existing at the same time, can be represented as a ghost across the centuries. In the old haunted castle where the European consciousness roams, plagued by insomnia as Hamlet on the terrace of Elsinore, the ghost of Ukraine appears when Europe faces a serious crisis. In times of troubles, this “witness problem” emerges suddenly through the cracks of the building.
For a long time, the French statesmen had the ambition to overthrow the Russian colossus. This operation could not be done without detaching Ukraine from Moscow and opening the Black Sea to the French merchant fleets. This plan was cherished by Vergennes and Choiseul, amplified by Hauterive and Antoine de Saint-Joseph, and adopted by Napoleon, when the European situation made a duel with Tsar Alexander inevitable.
To rebuild an independent Cossack state under the name Napoleonid, open a route to India across Ukraine and the Caucasus, put at the disposal of France the huge reserves of wheat, horses and men that this region contained – such were the tumultuous dreams that haunted the victor of Austerlitz, when he crossed the Niemen on 25 June 1812 at the head of an army of 630,000 men. Another empire, the United States, later continued this policy.
In 2030 however, Ukraine will have regained its status of matrix of the Slavic world, under the protection of Russia. Indeed, the active lobbying of countries like Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria eventually will convince bigger European states to adopt a more measured position towards Russia, especially as many incidents will have demonstrated the reality of the very undemocratic foundations of Ukrainian nationalism.
Abandoned by Washington on the one hand, and the European Union on the other, which prefers playing the card of pragmatism because of its energy dependence on Russia, Ukraine, amputated of its East, will experience a severe economic crisis that will force it to accept the hand of Russia. Marked brutally by imperial decline, the United States — which will have returned to its isolationist tradition – is unable to react. Having lost interest in the world affairs, America will have become isolated. Its foreign policy will have dissolved into its own contradictions. The new Latino President who will be elected on the program America to the Americans doesn’t wish a US presence there anymore.
11 – Has Poland been able to secure its own influence area?
In 2030, the Polish leaders will understood that they had to develop their own policy in order to avoid being transformed into a buffer territory between Germany and Russia. Unwilling to play the role of an intermediary, despite the active lobbying of the panslavic association, Poland will struggle to develop its influence in its traditional sphere of sovereignty.
In fact, the rise of pan-slavic movements will have been inversely proportional to the crisis of the EU. At the University of Warsaw, Professor Shadow-Kiewicz, distant cousin of Prince Marek, compares NATO to the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1813): a system put in place by Napoleon in order to provide a virtual sovereignty to the little German states while providing troops to Napoleon. Since 2015, Poland will have lost 5 million inhabitants.
Not only is its demography weak; Poles have migrated to Germany and Great Britain where salaries are higher. However, the situation will change by 2030: in effect, facing urban riots against Turks and Pakistanis, Polish families are heading to their former motherland. They don’t speak Polish any more, and are seen as foreigners in the schools, where some of them teach German or English.
The revival of the Polish identity will be strong in the Eastern territories bordering Russia. In these territories, the United States will no longer finance the 100,000 members of the paramilitary militias it once backed in order to reinforce the eastern border of NATO.
We must not forget that Polish foreign policy has been influenced by the creditors of Poland. During the twentieth century, Poland became indebted towards France. After 1918, France asked her creditor to prevent the ascent of Lenin. After 1990, the United States asked its Polish creditor to send troops to Afghanistan.
But in 2030, the pressure that US sovereign funds can exert on Poland will have diminished. In effect, Poland will have been able to reimburse its US creditors thanks to German bankers who have asked certain facilities in exchange. In the sector of energy, the development of shale gas will have reduced the energy dependence of Poland on Russia, even though the environmental price is very high.
On the other hand, the massive development of wind power will have benefited the German industry, especially the Turkish-German enterprise Gülagü. The green energy market will have created 100,000 jobs, and most of them will be taken by Turkish-German migrants. The two cultures, who share a common taste for military discipline, will have partially mixed. These hard-working and disciplined workers will all be Muslims, except a minority that claims its Indo-European origins. After all, the Hittites of Anatolia and the Germanic tribes were once Indo-European cousins.
12 – What emerging country will be most present in Eastern Europe?
Between 2015 and 2030, some of the economic dynamism of Europe will have been transferred to the east. This is going to benefit India, rather than Brazil or China. Let us explain why.
Brazil currently crystallizes the hopes – and fantasies — linked to an almost exponential growth. However, the difficulties Brazil currently faces should be exacerbated to the point of jeopardizing its dream of becoming a superpower. Indeed, the World Cup or the Brazil Olympics have not solved the problem of its most glaring social inequalities. The prestigious communication operations have not only proved ruinous, but have also mortgaged billions of euros that could have been invested into the reduction of poverty.
Insecurity in cities such as Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo will be so high by 2030 that very violent insurrections will break out from the favelas, crippling Brazilian economic lungs for a long period. The very tough repression of the riots by the police and the army will endangers the reputation of Brazil. Terrorized by a climate of endemic violence, the tourism industry will suddenly collapse. To curb the tensions, Brazil will buy social peace by developing its social system, which will cause a sharp increase in public spending. Moreover, massive corruption, waste, and hazardous investments in operations designed to flatter the national pride will undermine its development prospects. Brazil will experience an outright recession after the explosion of the euro zone.
The illusion of energy independence by the combination of the exploitation of its own petroleum reserves and production of agro-fuels will reveal both an ecological and social disaster. In effect, the intensive cultivation of sugarcane (ethanol) or soybeans (diesel) feeds vehicles to the detriment of men.
However, Brazil will continue its international influence policy in the former colonies of the Portuguese empire (Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau), and will try to strengthen its position as regional leader in South America.
In Eastern Europe however, the economic weight of Brazil will have diminished.
What about China? Based on family solidarity, the Chinese civilization will be seriously weakened in 2030 by its demographic problems. The one-child policy will indeed have disastrous consequences on the long-term. In 2030, China’s population will a peak of 1.44 billion. But China will have experienced a stop in its rise.
Indeed, beyond statistical analyses, nations are first driven by a spiritual principle. When these principles run out, civilizations can suddenly collapse. Similar to Japan in the 1980s, for which analysts predicted a long hegemony but have later been astonished by its swift decline, China now stands out as a fragile power.
Its military, economic and diplomatic successes have raised US fears. However, the country’s development remains uneven. Furthermore, its ecological and demographic policy does not invest in the future. An apparent competitor to the US in the race for naval supremacy in the twenty-first century, it will return a quarter of a century later to its ontological isolationism. Why would China conquer the world if it doesn’t need it?
In 2030, Chinese and American frigates of the 2010s will rust together in the Turkish ports to be deconstructed and recycled. Meanwhile, riots will break out between Chinese and Indian immigrants in Australia. By that time, China will have offset its own decline by the introduction of an exclusive economic zone including Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
This Asian zone of prosperity will enable Korea to reunify. The old Korean border will meanwhile have become a wildlife reserve of primary importance, but still inaccessible to human beings because of mines. The Chinese presence in Eastern Europe will be less important than foreseen.
On the other hand, India will be stronger. In 2030, India will undoubtedly have become the most populous country in the world. Its excess of 19 million people per year will enable the country to overtake China. However, the selective elimination of girls by abortion will have had several consequences: first it will have forced men to take women in the lower castes. At the bottom of the ladder will have emerged a broad class of single men belonging to the lowest castes of India. These men must find a wife abroad. This brings about an increase of the forced migration of young women to India. Indian vitality, less constrained than elsewhere by suicidal Malthusian policies, will encourage innovation.
By 2030, Hindu nationalism will structure the Indian identity. The last vestiges of British and American cultural colonization will have been erased. The political life of the country will be organized around the slogan India to Hindus. This statement will be particularly strong in the Hindi Belt and is accompanied by religious persecutions against Christians.
The last remnants of the egalitarian discourse promoted by the West will have disappeared because of its own decline. Having descended into chaos, democracy will presented as an absolute counter-model against the valuation of a social order supported by a hierarchy. In this context, the caste system will stand as one of the best safeguards of the social order. This regime is clearly the exact counter-model of a democratic society. But it now structures a Hindu society marked by repulsion, hierarchy and hereditary specialization.
By reviving itself, India will also have revived its past. Its most serious handicap is not its rampant corruption, but rather its renunciation of action, its aspiration to annihilation.
In 2030, the southern tip of the Indian triangle will embody the last remnants of a formerly globalized territory. This space, marked its Dravidian population, will stand up as the Indian Museum of the failure of globalization. The Dravidian island will experience a strong economic recession due to the growing divide between Dravidian and Indo-Iranian Indian populations. A solution for these people will be to migrate to Africa. Indeed, the lower classes of India have the potential to swell the Indian communities of East Africa. There, they will reinvent the caste system. The untouchables thus become the new Brahmins of the black continent.
13 – What could be the impact of the crisis on the coming wars?
Before collapsing, declining empires often give themselves a respite in the form of a Saint Martin’s summer. This quiet period is usually followed by a desperate offensive. This movement will bring about a brutal collapse if it fails, but if by chance it succeeds, then a spectacular recovery can be expected. This remote possibility conditions the violence of that last effort.
After the swift offensive of Alexander, the Persian Empire gathered its last strengths and confronted the Macedonians in Gaugamela in 331 BC. The military effort was such that the Persians outnumbered the Greeks. This did not prevent them from being defeated. The Battle of Alesia (52 BC.) also illustrates the ultimate military effort of the Gallic tribes against the Roman offensive. This defeat accelerated the collapse of the Celtic tribes. The reaction of Vercingetorix is not isolated in the Roman world and can be compared to the sea battle of Actium, final attempt of the Ptolemy dynasty to prevent the Romanization of Egypt.
Let us also remember the desperate offensives of Western Christians, during the last crusades, to regain the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem that had cracked under the blows of the Arabs. These desperate offensives find a contemporary echo in Waterloo, a battle waged by a defeated Emperor preferring annihilation to humiliation.
Sometimes, the final battle is not waged by a man but rather by a caste, like the last battle of the Samurai (1877), which marked the end of the Japanese military aristocracy.
At the end of the Second World War, the Battle of the Ardennes, like Okinawa, hastened the end of the Axis Powers. For France, the Algerian military operations represent the ultimate offensive before the loss of the colonial empire. For Russia, the first Afghan war (1979-1989), also represented the ultimate effort before the breakdown of the USSR.
None of these desperate attacks would have taken place if the possibility of a victory had not been considered. Indeed, the ultimate gathering of the last troops sometimes forces destiny.
The offensives of Belisarius, the Battle of Orleans led by Joan of Arc, or that of Stalingrad, are there to testify. The mechanism of desperate offensive in decaying empires has never been the object of a comprehensive study. This is all the more regrettable that the current economic crisis has weakened many powers.
Whether carried out by the Islamic State, Russia or other weakened states, we can expect desperate offensives in the coming years. At least, this possibility cannot in any case be entirely excluded.
14 – The Surge of Identities
To conclude, current prospective studies have great difficulty in foreseeing the evolution of Eastern Europe, because their analysts are misguided by a flawed philosophy of history. They are also afraid of their own imagination.
They have not seen the surge of identities that would take place, the impact of the Islamic soft cultural power – which is far more dangerous than the terrorist attacks. They have underestimated the effects of a consistent foreign policy that combines political intelligence with the use of force.
Eastern Europe will be more Russian and more Indian. It will be more Muslim and simultaneously more anti-Muslim. It will be more fragmented, with ethnic islands, and more violent than today. The key issues will concern religion and identity. The difference between the big cities and their peripheries will be greater than ever.
Yet despite the low signals that can already be perceived now, prospect is not prophecy. Indeed, contrary to the illusion distilled by frozen religions, no future is ever written in advance. The future remains open to the inflections of determined and creative minorities.
The future that has been predicted here is not necessarily the future we wish; this should encourage us to take action rapidly. In effect, if our thoughts and discussions do not bring about actions, they are vain.