Our team has chosen to place 2016 under the sign of a “general strategic retreat”, affecting all levels of social organization, starting of course with the national levels, but not only.
This retreat (or fallback) will not yet represent in 2016 the end of the global mobility, of the international exchanges or of the internet, and the world will still be a global village this year. Nevertheless, we will see walls getting built, regulations being imposed, flows getting controlled, armies strengthened, markets fragmented … all this not on an international basis, since the failure of the global governance reform is striking, but on the basis of the only available political entities on the market: nation states, religious and ethnic groups, certain supra-national organizations and the local level.
And the gaping doors will gradually close in on a new stabilizing global configuration. 2015 has seen important changes in strategic alliances. The Western camp has been fragmented; some fragments have even separated, while confidence in new allies is still not there.
The best example of all this is provided by this great change in the balance of alliances in the Middle East. For the “Western camp” and particularly for Israel, the enemy is no longer Iran, but Saudi Arabia. Yet, the awareness of this fact has taken too much time: Saudi Arabia and the militant Wahhabism are released, while confidence is still not restablished vis-a-vis Iran. In these circumstances, the best solution is… retreat.
Europe finds itself in a similar situation. Its troubles with Russia have cut it off from its Eastern flank, and although efforts are being made to reconnect with the big neighbour, damage in terms of confidence is there. On its South-South-Eastern flank, Turkey, which should be a key-partner had Europe been working on something else than its EU integration, has now engaged into growingly diverging paths from Europe. As for the US, the Ally by excellence, there are not many people in Europe able to make a positive assessment of the transatlantic relationship in recent years. The huge migration flows targeting Europe as a result of the major strategic errors, in which the ally has pushed us, represent the straw that is breaking the camel’s back, leaving the EU now embarked on a huge plan of internal consolidation… retreat again.
Japan has also understood that it could no longer rely on the declining power of the United States for protection, and it is obviously not from China that it will claim that protection. China is certainly a key regional player, but the stormy past between these two powers, and the medium-term uncertainty on Chinese hegemonic ambitions, compel Japan to regain control of its own defence system. Retreat.
BRICS countries will also be focused on themselves this year. Brazil is there for no one else than for its own problems of political infighting, of failing economy, of declining currency, and of social tensions. Suffice it to say that its contribution to transnational efforts such as BRICS, MERCOSUR, OAS, etc., will not be significant this year.
Let’s go back for a moment to Europe. This is probably the only region in the world that will withdraw on something other than its national level alone. The reactivation of the tools of national sovereignty is being done in collaboration between both national and European levels. We will speak more in the ups and downs section of this GEAB about the Schengen case, with regards to which we believe that reinforcement and not weakening will take place. This area is getting stronger… at the request of the member states… similarly for the European army issue, the European coordination of national intelligence agencies, etc. The transfer of sovereignty tools (management of borders, armies, intelligence…) towards the European level, in agreement with and on the basis of the member states, is well and truly underway and will remain among the trends of 2016, bringing concomitant strengthening of both national and European levels.