Geopolitics

This is a continuation of the 5th Scenario – Human Federation in 2040.

Foreign affairs

EF has now become the most significant state on the international stage, especially after the USA has become a member of the EF Single Market Area (Zone 2). It can exert direct significant political pressure on any of the 138 countries, members of 4 subsidiary zones, at least by controlling the flow of financial support for member states, especially in Zone 4 (African, Asian and some South American countries). The result is that there are no military conflicts among any of those countries. Unfortunately, the influence of the EF on the other countries is very limited, since most of these countries are vassal states of either Russia or China.

EF has two seats on the United Nations Security Council (previously occupied by France and Britain), although UN stopped playing any credible important role in maintaining the world peace. This is slowly becoming the domain of the EF, although it is too early to say, how successful it will be.

Former G7 countries are now G10. Military pressures from Russia and China, bordering on threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction were the main cause for enlarging G7 and make their resolutions more meaningful. The first such threat happened when the Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March 2018 that Russia would not care for the world, if his country were to perish – it would launch an all-out war. That led the G7 countries to invite new large democratic countries: India, Brazil and Nigeria to become members, which happened in 2028 and immediately created a number of dangerous military incidents against some of the G10 members. The other reason was a further decline of the role of the UN, which was being almost entirely run according to Russia’s and China’s wishes, which led to the USA, France and the UK frequently boycotting the Security Council meetings

The Human Federation Army – A new relationship with NATO

Anyone who thought over 20 years ago that the former EU did not need its own army, because it would be a superfluous or excessive risk mitigation strategy, should have watched “Occupied”, the most expensive Norwegian television show in history, screened in 2015. It had seriously enraged Russia, because it showed the subversive way, in which Russia forced Norway to surrender its sovereignty. When Russians came to Norway, there were no tanks or fighter jets, or “little green men.” The diminution of Norwegian sovereignty and the assertion of Russian control were much more subtle and visible only to those who cared to notice. On the surface, life remained normal for most Norwegians, who went about their daily business as though nothing had changed. As with Finland after the WWII, Russia applied to Norway the same process of Finlandization, a pejorative term describing the situation, when a small country accepted a reduction of its sovereignty in exchange for a limited self-rule.

Well, that was the film. But interestingly it was very close to reality that evolved very quickly. Within the next few years, Russian aggressive actions took place in the Ukraine and Moldova, including some serious incidents in the Baltic States (see below). At that time EU was barely thinking about having its own army. The only element of a potential future army was the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) set up in 2017. The original intention was to enable the EU member states working more closely together in the area of security and defence. That permanent framework for defence cooperation was to allow willing and able member states to develop defence capabilities jointly, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces. At that time, EU was working closely with NATO, based on a number of agreements, such as the NATO-EU Warsaw Declaration singed in July 2016. That included 42 concrete actions, such as re-enforcing the NATO eastern frontiers with tens of thousands of NATO troops moved semi-permanently closer to the Russian border.

At the time of incidents in Moldova and in the Baltic States, the USA under Donald Trump was very enigmatic on invoking article 5 of the NATO declaration on mutual self-defence. That finally forced the EU to amend the NATO declaration, where all the EU countries became a single member of NATO. That led by default to the creation of the EU Army, which is now far more effective than ever. From today’s perspective it is clear that it was the formation of the EU Army that has been the best sign of the EU’s resolve to dampen Russian aggressive attempts.

So, Human Federation (HF) has now its own army, which has just celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of its formation. All previous member states’ armies had been dissolved and re-grouped into HF Regional Defence Forces that spread across former state borders. All military equipment and standards are unified within the whole HF Army, which is a member of NATO, as a single country. However, the HF Army participates in UN Peacekeeping operations independently of NATO. The official language of the Army, as in the whole HF is English, although national languages can also be used inside the regional bases.

Britain remained for some of that period, an individual member of NATO. After the re-joining of the EF, its forces have been merged within the EF army. But the condition the UK had made was to run the Ministry of Defence. Therefore, the current HF Defence Minister is Anthony Clarke, from the UK. British army is now part of the Human Federation. Being a nuclear power, the UK has a long-term Agreement with the HF Army, as the ‘British Region’. Its entire defence budget is covered by the HF budget, from the annual payments made by the British Government to the HF that cover among others education, security and defence. The only area that is strictly under the British control is its nuclear arsenal and a small conventional weapons contingent to serve British operations in its Overseas Territories, such as the Falklands. Any eventual use of the exclusive British nuclear arsenal is strictly under the British control.

The HF Army Chief of Staff must be of a different nationality than the current HF Defence Minister. Since France is a nuclear power, it has special rights within the HF Defence system. It controls the French nuclear arsenal (this is the area still unresolved – who is to control the entire HF nuclear arsenal). There is a compulsory one-year residential service in the Army for men and women starting at 18 up to 25. That can be exchanged for 18 months of residential social service.

Nearly triggered-off existential risks

I have tried to increase the probability of this scenario by reviewing some of the forecasts by well-known strategists. For example, my own view is that 2024-2026 will probably be one of the more dangerous periods in the global politics in the coming decade, is supported by private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting. In 2015 they published their Decade Forecast in which they said the world in 2025 would be significantly more fractured, dangerous and chaotic place, with Russia projected to collapse, US power in decline, and China’s rapid progress stagnated (World_Economic_Forum, 2015).

Until about 2020, the only existential risks mentioned in the media was climate change and nuclear war. Of course, it is understandable that the media had no interest in conveying gloomy messages and neither it was in the interest of any type of business to project pessimistic views. It would have badly affected the sales. The governments pretended that existential risks were not an important enough issue for extensive political debates. Even the term existential risks, or combined dangers that may annihilate humanity, were only talked about in specialist TV programs or in the scientific press. Discussions in the parliaments on the subject were almost non-existent, apart from the Scandinavian countries, which have always been an exception in the world as far as an open communication with their societies was concerned. To think that any party would put existential risks as an issue in its manifesto would seem utterly ridiculous. How would an average voter on the doorstep react to it? Even if those existential risks were true, the parties and the governments would say they could do nothing about it. When one looks back at how the world approached existential risks before 2030, the year of the EF creation, then one must really wonder how we managed to survive.

The lack of perception of existential risks was far worse than during the cold war era, when people were constantly being warned about the danger of one existential risk – the global nuclear war that might lead to the end of civilisation. Perhaps it was a much simpler message to convey since it could be imagined much more clearly. It is true that the new existential risks that the planet Earth has been facing for the last 50 years are far more complex and difficult to imagine. That’s why people quickly lose interest in the subject, when the danger of nanotechnology or artificially created, incurable viruses, are discussed.

It was even less apparent that relatively minor risks could combine and their cumulative effect might become existential. All Global Disorder risks fall into that category and they were those risks that nearly turned into an existential one. It all started with a series of unrelated, relatively minor incidents that were spread over several years. That’s why it was not clear at all how significant they could become if they combined together; it looks even less significant from today’s perspective. There were quite a few of them, most lasting a week or two but having some lingering effect and a possibility of being re-ignited at some time in the future. And that is exactly how it all started.

In March 2018, a former Russian agent was attacked in Britain with a very sophisticated nerve gas, seriously affecting dozens of other people. Over 200 military personnel were involved in the cleaning operations. It was obvious that Russia was the culprit and only later on, when similar attacks occurred in other countries, it became clear that it was a test to see the resilience of the emergency forces, how quickly panick could spread out and how the attacked countries would react. Russia’s apparent assumption was that if no severe consequences would fall on them, then it could raise the bar higher, not necessarily in the same area. Such an opportunity availed itself a few years later.

Winter 2024 was exceptionally severe (climate change was then clearly noticeable). The whole Europe was covered in deep snow for many weeks. In February 2024 Russia, took over Moldova in a clandestine coup d’état. NATO did nothing. Then shortly after that there was a Chinese large scale cyberattack on Indian power stations (of course never admitted by China), which crippled India for several weeks. That was a clear retaliation for the Indian expansion (so perceived by China) into the Indian Ocean, when India started building artificial islands, similarly as China had then been doing for over a decade in the Pacific Ocean. Within days of that incident, there was one of the largest, long-overdue, earthquakes in California (San Andreas Fault) that engaged vast American resources. At this very time, an American psychopath biological scientist spread a deadly artificially produced virus at several airports around the world that led to massive wave of flue type epidemics affecting millions of people world-wide, but in particular in Europe. However, Russia was least affected because of tighter border control.

The emergency services were stretched to the limit, in most parts of the world. In the USA the rescue services were absolutely incapable of coping with the aftereffects of the disaster and several army divisions had to be re-allocated to help local emergency services. In Europe, the arctic winter and flu-type epidemics completely overstretched the emergency, medical and food distribution services, creating chaos and local disturbances in many countries, where people were fighting for food, places in hospitals, or medicines, of which hospitals and pharmacies run out almost completely. In such a situation, seeing that NATO did nothing significant to force Russia out of Moldova, it decided to invade the Ukraine first and when there was still no reaction from NATO, the Russian forces entered the Baltic States.

NATO responded initially with air attacks. When the Baltics were almost overwhelmed by the Russian forces, a Russian tanker filled with a nerve gas (that should have never been there – a tactical error) was hit by a stray bullet and caused the release of the gas in the air. Within 24 hours several neighbouring countries were affected with tens of thousands of civilians dead. The full-scale war was hanging dangerously in the air and Russians were clearly winning. At that point, American NATO forces fired a small nuclear weapon on the Russian troops near St. Petersburg that was not intercepted by the Russian anti-aircraft forces because the Americans first jammed the whole region with a magnetic bomb, disabling all computers. That immediately halted the conflict. Russia apologised for ‘unintended’ explosion of the nerve gas and withdrew the troops from the Baltics, the Ukraine and Moldova. That’s how close the world was from a global nuclear, chemical and biological war being fought at the same time. That’s how combinatorial risks, if triggered off in full, could have become an existential risk ending our civilisation as we know it. The world sighed with relief.

Russia and China have been the main challengers of the EF since its inception. Looking back at 2024 from today’s perspective it is clear that those were the most dramatic years in the last two decades. That was also the year of the EU parliamentary elections that was held in the aftermath of the conflict with Russia. The Baltic States received a massive material help from the EU but also from the USA. The conflict with Russia was the main trigger for the federalization of the European Union, which took a little bit more than 5 years. Although China and Russia cooled down their antagonistic stance towards the EU and the NATO countries immediately after the conflict, there were a number of other incidents between the major powers. For most of the last 15 years, EF and the USA lived with China and Russia in the period of what became known as the Second Cold War.

Shortly after that the ‘Immature Superintelligence’ became the source of several serious incidents. These included disabling by error in 2033 the entire power supply in the USA for three weeks, with hundreds of thousands of people dying of hypothermia and hunger (it was in the middle of one of the most severe winters the USA has ever known). The same extremely frosty winter lasting nearly 5 months affected Russia, where several million people died of frost and where even the stretched USA’s and Japanese services were providing essential help in eastern Siberia. The Immature Superintelligence, which was a very capable AI agent, much more intelligent in most areas than humans (but not in all areas yet) became frequently used for ill purposes by each of the superpowers (of course none admitted its use). But the biggest danger came from clandestine inventions done by very rich individuals, some of whom can be considered psychopaths. Even China and Russia had such problems in their own countries.

Gradually, the perception of common dangers and adversities stemming from Superintelligence and other existential risks facing the whole Humanity lowered the level of enmity between the Superpowers and became the biggest motivator for a true global co-operation. Additionally, China, USA and India signed an important agreement in 2034 on a joint creation of new artificial islands, where all costs and returns are shared by all parties proportionally to their investment. That has just by chance created a model for similar agreements in other areas, which for the last few years has also been adopted by Russia.

This could be an overoptimistic assessment of the current thaw in relations between the Superpowers. But its seems the latest version of near Superintelligence created independently by the scientists in the USA, China, Russia and the HF may have finally convinced these countries, alongside some other military powers (India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Brazil) that very soon there could be no winner if Humanity as a whole does not come together. The danger is that Superintelligence may become a super intelligently unfriendly agent, behaving very erratically with a possibility of taking suddenly a full control over the entire civilization. That has finally led the USA and India to join the HF.

Environment and climate change

Environmental disasters, as predicted have been very severe, especially around 2030. Some of them have already been mentioned. The CO2 levels increased much faster than before (a kind of a run-away scenario). Luckily, it is now under control, mainly thanks to geo-engineering technologies developed by AI agents, costing huge amount of money. However, it is already clear that this is working, since CO2 levels have been dropping in absolute terms for the last 6 years.

Green energy is now everywhere thanks to key discoveries in 2030’. The first one was the first commercial nuclear fusion power station opened in Pennsylvania in 2029. The second one was the discovery of how to use magnetic energy directly, available everywhere, as a more convenient energy than electricity. The third one has been the massive use of new materials for the production of solar panels (such as perovskite) since 2024, which doubled the yield from a typical solar panel. Thanks to those discoveries, energy is now very cheap, which was also possible by discoveries of new energy storage media that last 7 times longer per 1 unit than in 2018.