By Johan Galtung
West of Jondal is Torsnes, named after the Nordic war god Thor with his Hammer, a center of the Viking era from 800 to 1050, only 250 years. Why so short? Successful with raids and colonization–Gardarike in Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Vineland in Canada. And then: fini. Why?
Because they had no future. Evil Lóki had killed Good Baldur–next to Torsnes is Belsnes=Baldursnes. They were doomed. Enters Christianity with Evil Satan and Good God, restoring hope. The end.
The Soviet Union Empire had no future: Communism was undefined. Enters Orthodox Christianity–Putin is a true believer–hope restored.
The United States Empire has no future: “allies” refuse to fight US wars and US capitalism increases inequality with reduced growth. Enter Campaigner Trump ‘Making America Great Again’ by buying-hiring American; President Trump making America isolated, violent, unequal–an autistic, psychotic, narcissistic, paranoid in a psycho-pathological exceptionalist, us-them paranoid state. A perfect fit for the worst.
2050 is only 33 years ahead; 33 years back is Orwell’s 1984. Much happened. The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989; the Soviet Empire, Soviet Union and Communism followed. The US Empire declined, former clients refused to fight US wars, but not EU wars; eroding NATO.
The Cold war, threatening humanity with a nuclear arms race that in a hot war could obliterate the planet, melted away with a whimper.
China’s incredible growth, also in world presence, from the Deng Xiaoping revolution in 1980, has been mainly within that period.
The attack on Muslim countries by a “US-led coalition” and the reaction by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State-Caliphate: in that period.
All over the world regionalization, ELAC-Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, African Unity/Union, EU, ASEAN; most states being too small, civilizations blocking for a world state.
All over the world non-dominant nations asserting themselves.
And all over the world, inspired from USA, women emancipating.
A new world, in only 33 years of rapidly accelerating history with another new world in the next 33 years. Some forecasts, using Western identification of units-variables prolonging trends and Daoist identification of holons-dialectics, forces-counterforces, yin/yang; to catch both continuous change and the discontinuous, jumpy changes.
Development, defined as satisfying basic human needs by lifting the bottom up; reduction of inequality can be achieved before 2050. The idea of food-water, clothing-housing, health-education for all has arrived and been well received (maybe not in the USA); one formula being the last two free, the first four subsidized with monthly cash to buy. Homo sapiens being homo faber and homo ludens, productive and playful with lifelong support, not lifelong struggle for sheer survival.
True, ground and river water are scarce but ocean water is not, obtainable by boiling with parabolic mirrors, capturing the vapor.
Environment, defined as satisfying basic nature needs, diversity and symbiosis. Fighting CO2 omission, a bilateral relation for a very complex reality, is much too simplistic, fighting CFCs destroying the ozone layer and symbiosis, strengthening the diversity of biota and abiota beyond using only renewable resources make good sense.
Individuals stop smoking if they attribute death from lung cancer to smoking. A catastrophe attributed to insulting nature’s needs may elicit remedial action from collectivities. Likely to happen, but better pro-actio than re-actio. A key: the darker the earth the more heating by solar energy; cities are darker than villages. Therefore, move out from big cities ruled by elites to small local units ruled by people.
Peace, defined negatively as absence of parties being bad to each other, and positively as parties being good to each other–at the mega-macro-meso-micro levels–depends on ability to solve underlying conflicts and to concile underlying traumas–possibly increasing.
Forecasts for twenty cases spanning the world and the levels:
The Peace versus Violence-War Dialectic to 2050: 20 Cases
Islam vs West: counter-cyclical, Muslim togetherness-sharing expanding, Western loneliness-bureaucracy contracting; conversion to Islam and to West building togetherness-sharing. Islamic State and Caliphate based on imams cleanses Islam of the West reaching Mecca.
NATO-USA vs SCO: no world war, NATO dissolving, SCO not.
West vs Russia: no war, EU-Russia European House unifying.
First World vs Third World, “North-South”: the last will be the first; Africa and Latin America-Caribbean matching Europe and USA.
West vs Eurasia-SCO, “West-East”: Eurasia penetrating and dominating West like China USA, not vice versa; dominion, not war.
Israel vs Palestine-Arab States: An Israel for Jews only will not survive; multi-national Israel as tolerant to Muslims-Arabs as they to Jews and Christians as People of the Book–with Jews all over, will.
Japan-USA vs Russia-Two Chinas-Two Koreas over Islands: violence-war likely unless shared ownership of islands and profits is adopted.
China vs ASEAN in South China Sea: war likely unless US aircraft carriers are withdrawn; sharing ownership, fisheries, and profits.
North Korea vs USA: war likely unless peace treaty, normalization with North Korea and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula are practiced.
USA: one country among others but focused on Whom to blame, with anti-Semitism; new domestic-world politics and deep scripts coming.
EU: multi-speed with the euro as common, not single currency.
SCO: will cover most of the Asian continent, blend with Eurasia.
UK: will split into Anglo-Saxon England, Celtic Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the islands, in a Confederation of the British Isles.
Russia: compensating for “unequal treaties” with Chinese dynamic immigration, making Russia grow as part of Eurasia, with violence.
China: aging, will be overtaken by Africa like it overtook the mini/China-Japan “dragons” that had overtaken Japan overtaking USA.
States, except the biggest, yielding to regions-local authorities, with a United Regions; United Nations with no veto power leaving USA.
Ability to handle fault-line conflicts inside societies: use of human rights for equality across and democracy for shared decisions.
Ability to handle conflicts between-inside persons: so low that it will improve linking good with good, less violence linking bad-bad.
Ability to handle conflict: so low that it will improve. First step: seeing conflict as incompatible goals, as something to be solved.
Ability to concile trauma: so low that it will improve. First step: sharing narratives of what happened, wishing the violence undone.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years – 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.