Mark Leonard peers into the future by two decades for the Economist World in 2006 in an article entitled The geopolitics of 2026.
Amongst other things, he predicts the world will be quadripolar:
If these trends are taken to their logical conclusions 2026 will not see a new world order, but at least four. This quadripolar world would be split along two axes; between democracies and autocracies; and between countries seeking a balance of power and those that want a world organised around international law and institutions.
Here’s what he has to say about the Middle East:
The fourth pole will be the Faith Zone – defined neither by democracy not the rule of law. By 2026, secular Europe will increasingly be boxed in by a global religious revival. The Muslim world will be the front-line. While some countries in the Middle East – Lebanon, Palestine, Iran – develop a new strain of Muslim democracy, many won’t manage to change their politics quickly enough to keep up with social demands. In Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq corrupt elites will be swept away by Islamists with increasingly international connections.
Noam Chomsky was voted the top public intellectual by readers of the American magazine Foreign Affairs and the British Prospect. The Prospect’s latest issue presents a debate on whether or not Chomsky is deserving of this title, you can read it here or scroll down.
Is the world’s top public intellectual a brilliant expositor of linguistics and the US’s duplicitous foreign policy? Or a reflexive anti-American, cavalier with his sources?
Languages Get Lost in Translation
by Misha Glenny
European languages have experienced unprecedented changes in the last 15 years, since globalisation has really kicked in.
The upshot is, of course, a huge increase in the use of English but also the import of a host of new anglicisms into most European languages, usually associated with technological or management jargon.
Some have now evolved to the point where they no longer mean anything in English.
Everyones favourite is the unbeatably ugly anglo-teutonism “das Handy” for mobile phone in German.
But in Eastern Europe, while the same process of English penetration is under way although more slowly (especially in Russian), the re-ordering of Europe has resulted in significant shifts which usually lead to the impoverishment of people’s language capacity.
Listen to the entire program (mp3).
A predicted thaw in the Arctic ice cover combined with a search for energy supplies is leading to a new “gold rush” in the high north, bringing diplomatic problems in its wake as five countries vie for access to resources.