Global Order in the Coming Year

Justin Marinelli, Senior Writer

2015 will be a year of fractures and fragmentation as the stability and order that we have all taken for granted will begin to show signs of cracking. The subtle indicators of this that peppered 2014 will become much more obvious in the coming year, and more and more people are going to become aware that we are barreling headfirst into stormy seas.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the world is on edge to find out what will happen next in France. My prediction is that French President François Hollande’s surge in popularity  is merely a post-crisis display of solidarity that will have evaporated completely in three months or less. France, like many countries in Europe, is experiencing a surge in nationalist, right-wing sentiments, and unless a viable, center-right candidate emerges, Marine Le Pen is likely to become president of France in 2017. I estimate the current odds of this at around 60 percent. This prediction is contingent on current trends going undisrupted in 2015, which I think is a safe bet.

Russia, despite what the mass media may tell you, will not crumble to current western pressure some time this year. In fact, they are doing the opposite, going so far as to pull out of the petrodollar. It is fairly hard to overstate the importance of this occurrence, as it is clearly the prelude to an aggressive assault on the United State’s position in the global order. Expect Vladimir Putin to leverage Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas to neutralize attempts by the United States to build any kind of anti-Russian coalition in Europe.

ISIS, which burst onto everyone’s radar in a swift and violent fashion last summer, has been stagnating for the past several months. I expect it will begin losing ground in the second half of this year, especially if major global players finally deploy a significant number of troops on the ground to combat it (though I consider it unlikely that such action will be taken).

I am ambivalent about mentioning this next possibility, but I consider it to be important. There is always the threat of a rouge group detonating a nuclear weapon in 2015. While I am certainly skeptical about this possibility, I am not so naive as to put this beyond the realm of plausibility. A year is long, and black swans are very real indeed.

Speaking of black swans, I predict that there will be at least one more major terrorist attack in western Europe this year, though I think it is highly unlikely that one will happen in the United States.

Overall, I would say that 2015 is a year that will be defined by tensions and disruptions, of nationalist sentiments and rising distrust. We will witness growing tension and distrust between native Europeans and Muslim immigrants, between the United States and Russia, and between China and many of its neighbors. This same tension will be felt in many western countries, between political leaders and ordinary citizens. I condone none of these things, and I certainly hope they do not come to pass, but it strikes me as painfully obvious that all of these patterns are far more likely than not to occur in 2015.


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