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2022: Year Of The Wake-Up Call

The signs for 2022 may appear grim right now, but at least we know what we're facing. Will we make the right decisions?

2022: Year Of The Wake-Up Call

New Year's Eve Numerals Arrive In Times Square

Jacques Attali


PARIS — Since it's customary to do so at this time of year, let's try to make predictions for the next twelve months. On paper, 2022 should be a very difficult year. But by knowing that and anticipating it, we can prevent it from being so.

It is quite easy to forecast a worst-case scenario: a pandemic that evades vaccines, a collapse of financial markets, hotbeds of conflicts on the borders of Europe, large countries like Ethiopia falling apart.

There are also extremist movements, some claiming that all traces of the West’s past values should be erased from the memory of the world, while others say that all foreign influence should be rejected. All of this is possible. All of that will happen.

A Russian problem

The main risk we face this coming year across the world is governments, businesses, each one of us individually and humanity more generally losing control over the course of events — with obviously terrifying consequences.

In France in the run-up to the presidential elections this year, we can have legitimate concerns about the election of a president who would prove to be powerless, without a parliamentary majority, unable to keep their countless and inevitable electoral promises. Our country would be lost when facing a Germany that is once again self-confident, an Italy in a phase of renewal, and a world that is undergoing a major reorganization.

"Every man for himself” is the recipe for powerlessness

It would then turn into another year of disillusionment and anger, during which the country would get increasingly embroiled in conflicts over its identity, which has always been, historically, the first sign of decline.

In Europe, there’s the fear of seeing the European Union get more and more dependent on the United States for its defense, on Russia for its imports and on China for its exports. It faces a potential Russian invasion in Ukraine, and Turkey in the Balkans, as well as a wave of migration from Africa, overwhelming technological, financial and legal domination from the U.S., and China forcing its way onto the geopolitical scene. And Europe must reckon with all of this without having the means to respond, embroiled as it is in contradictory national interests.

\u200bWoman walking on an arrow on a street

Let's try to make predictions for the next twelve months

Gaelle Marcel via Unsplash

The true meaning of sovereignty 

More generally, there’s the fear that the world might be powerless in the face of a pandemic we have failed to control and in the face of climate change. Add to that the high rise in inflation, terrorist violence, waves of migration, cybercrime, and many other forces that cross borders to attack our civilizations, the human species and life itself.

In other words, we run the risk that there is no longer, in France, in Europe and across the world, a pilot in the plane, or that we even have a cockpit. And even if the steering wheel is the only thing no longer responding, this is in itself a death sentence.

Conversely, 2022 could be a chance for a wake-up call, for taking control, for open sovereignty. In France, with a bit of lucidity and calm, the electoral campaign could offer an opportunity to really learn more about the country’s major issues and the solutions that should be provided: childcare, education, the protection of minorities, social justice, secularism, security, tranquility, defense, public debt, industrial renewal, health, food, the climate, the protection of nature. Not to mention the prospect of maintaining control over our cultural, economic, financial and geopolitical sovereignty. We also need to understand that France’s sovereignty is impossible without Europe’s open sovereignty.

We can hope that technological progress at the service of altruism can still save the human species

For the European Union, partially under French Presidency in 2022, it could also be an opportunity to launch a real project of sovereignty in all sectors of life economics (health, education, food, renewable energies, mobility sustainability, agriculture, digital, defense and security).

A convergence of talents

Finally, on a global scale, we can perhaps hope that the most selfish governments will finally admit that everyone has an interest in being altruistic, and that, in particular, pandemics will only be eradicated if all human beings are as well protected as the richest among them. And we can also hope they realize that it is in everyone's interest to have access to the means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We can finally hope that an alliance of researchers, entrepreneurs, social mobilizers and artists — all potential beneficial players in the world — will be able to make people understand that there are solutions to everything, including to problems we didn’t know how to solve (or didn’t want to) for centuries.

We can be hopeful that technological progress at the service of altruism can still save the human species and our civilizations. We can also hope that honest and rigorous media will be their heralds.

It is therefore not too late to remember the obvious, which has been hammered out for millennia by thinkers of all cultures, from the Mazdeans to the Egyptians, from the Jews to the Greeks, from Christians to Muslims, from the Chinese to the Anglo-Saxons, from the African griots to Silicon Valley gurus: “every man for himself” is the recipe for powerlessness. The condition of sovereignty is the convergence of talents.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

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