The key assumptions made in this scenario are that none of the existential risks has materialised and that some of the international institutions, which exist today, such as NATO, EU, UN, or World Trade Organization still function. If these conditions are met then this might be the most probable scenario. However, this is my second best scenario because of the way it evolved, and therefore it is not the preferred scenario. The future envisaged in this scenario is the result of the situation, in which the world had no other option but to choose it, otherwise Humanity might have ceased to exist.
Looking back it is clear when it all started to go wrong. It was in 2018 when Russia’s president Putin made an announcement that should Russia be attacked with nuclear weapons he would not hesitate to annihilate the whole world, because “why do we need a world if Russians cease to exist?” That was four years after Russia had annexed Crimea and was holding regular manoeuvres on the NATO’s eastern flank. It was also the year, when Britain was still claiming, referring to its Brexit negotiations with the EU, that “it could have a cake and eat it”. The same year, Xi JI Peng announced he would become the President of China for life, which meant his economic expansion plans world-wide would be gradually becoming a political drive changing the world for ever.
Those events also changed the perceptions of the EU and NATO countries on how the West could lose out to Russia or China, without a global war ever happening. It was clear that a new era of a Super Cold War, this time including China, had started. Therefore, a few years after the EU Parliamentary elections in 2019, NATO and the EU decided to forge a strong partnership by creating a new organisation – Global Defence League (GDL) with its own Constitution. It was achieved in stages.
The external pressures, led to the creation of the EU army in 2023, which as a whole became immediately part of NATO. Just a year later, when the next serious economic and financial crisis struck, in a quick and dirty mode operation, part of the Eurozone became federalized as the European Federation, with countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal, withdrawing from the Eurozone. In such a way, instead of the EU playing a major role in GDL, part of the former EU (then the European Federation of 16 members) became an economic and political arm of NATO. In was only a logical conclusion that the rest of the former EU member states, such as Britain, went their own way and joined GDL as founding members, next to the European Federation, which became a much smaller state than it could have been.
The creation of the GDL was achieved so quickly because of the extremes of cyber-attacks coming mainly from China and partly from Russia, of course never acknowledged by any of these states. That was only curtailed once an ingenious invention by a Canadian company, a subsidiary of Google, managed to develop a fool-proof quantum encryption application that was distributed to public and personal users. The danger coming from other forms of cyber-attacks based on microwave radiation was curtailed by insulating crucial military and public sites, such as power stations with an anti-magnetic radiation shield.
In 2035 some former EU members joined the EF. Some former states split and some new states emerged from the merger of 2 or more regions. These are: Belgium split into Flanders and Wallonia, Catalonia and Basque regions each merged with their previously French provinces, as did Trentino and Tyrol. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland also merged.
In all GDL countries, there is an annual compulsory one year long, residential military or social service. The Army has been playing a crucial role in GDL and most non-military projects had to give way to the security-related initiatives. However, what GDL has achieved, is a kind of peace similar to what the world was experiencing just after the Second World War.
For comparison I enclose a summary of the closest scenario produced by the European Commission in their document “Global Europe in 2050” called ‘Nobody cares – standstill in European integration’ (European_Commision, 2012).
“In this scenario, Europe is seen in a process of prolonged ‘muddling through’ in the absence of guiding and visionary actors and the lack of a redesigned policy framework. Thus, economic growth remains low in Europe. The divergence between the EU and the leading world economies – USA in the short to medium term, but also China in the longer term – widens, as the latter keeps a strong developmental pace (the implicit assumption is therefore a better future trajectory for the rest of the world). The challenges posed by the ageing phenomenon in Europe are not decisively addressed, leading to economic instability. The completion of the European market remains unachieved. There is limited public support to address climate change and other global challenges, leading among others to an increased dependence on the foreign supply of energy”.