Home Editorial: When weapons are all that’s left to communicate

GEAB 178

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Oct 2023

Editorial: When weapons are all that’s left to communicate

The transition from the world ‘before’ to the world ‘after’ that we have so often analysed and commented on in our publications continues. Today, this transition is taking on a violent aspect. The Russian-Ukrainian war marks a return to armed conflict on the European continent. The absence of a speedy resolution underscores the challenges in avoiding armed confrontations (see our article Ukraine 2024-2025: A multipolar peace taking shape without Western involvement). The brutal war between Hamas and Israel along the Gaza border and within Gaza itself is a testament to this (see our article Israel-Palestine: The ‘war to end all wars’?), and the same applies to the African continent, where we are witnessing the end of the ‘old world’ (see our article After the Middle East, the road to African emancipation). This is only the first part of what we have identified as “the return of the logic of violence” (Armenia/Azerbaijan and Serbia/Kosovo are conflicts that will be discussed in our November issue).

These conflicts have at least two points in common: first, they are part of a long history – none of them began in 2023 – and, second, they are part of the reshaping of a global system that is irrevocably multipolar, so they are driven by forces and interests that transcend their borders.

It is this recomposition of the irretrievably multipolar world system that explains these violent episodes. The international institutions set up at the end of the Second World War were designed by the forces present at the time (the United States, Western Europe and their allies). Now that the bipolar and then unipolar world has come to an end, these forums for political discussion, designed to offer nations or groups of countries a negotiating forum capable of avoiding war and respecting the weakest, are dysfunctional. They still reflect the so-called civilised West’s (currently rather uncivilised) belief in its superiority and influence. But without these supranational structures, the strongest nation-states will regain the upper hand (see our article: Geopolitics: the return of the logic of force) and international relations will be reduced to the lowest common denominator: force.

Nevertheless, these episodes of war must not blind us to the future. Our team remains convinced that they are a tragic and inevitable stage in the much-needed resolution of conflicts that have lasted several decades. They will be followed, sooner or later, by the establishment of a new system that better reflects today’s multipolar world. And as long as the majority of the world’s states are not formally involved in a world war, one could almost say that humanity is not doing so badly.

These yet-to-be-invented features of a multipolar international political system have given us food for thought. What better ways of communicating will we be able to invent? To find some answers, we looked at the future of international languages, still largely dominated by English (or should we say Globish), and in particular that of the French-speaking world (see our article: The future of the French language: a collective responsibility that goes beyond the borders of the French-speaking world). The importance of mastering foreign languages, in order to be able to interact with the rest of the world and above all to understand its complexity, cannot be overlooked by political leaders, nor can it be eclipsed by technological progress (this is the point of view we share, defended by our reader Sven Franck (see the article “If technology replaces translation, it must not replace the need to learn foreign languages”).

Finally, these political and strategic developments should not blind us to the evolution of our economic system, which is undergoing a transformation, weaning itself from its debt infusion (see our section: trends, investments and recommendations) and reaching the limits of its expansion in an environment whose finitudes are as frustrating as they are relentless (see our article Green Ecosystems: Approaching the point of no return in the global forest crisis).

In the darkest of times, it is essential to rationalise our approach to the future, lest we be overwhelmed by emotions that are, in fact, entirely justified. This imperative underpins each of our projects, and we are proud to share them with you.



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