Present and Future Tense
According to “numerology”, 2017 announced itself as a “universal 1st year”, a year that marks a new beginning and a chance to plant the seeds of intention for the forthcoming cycle. It will definitely be a start, but what the start signifies bears closer scrutiny!
A turning point for Europe. With elections in France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands and with Brexit trudging along, the EU will be a battlefield in 2017, where nationalist and populist discourse will provide opposition to dialogue regarding the protection of the liberties of minorities, tolerance, and compassion.
New world order. With a new and unforeseeable administration in the USA, focused rather on protectionism and isolationism and with an EU looking inward to its own problems, China may launch its rise as the new global power in 2017. China seems to challenge the position of the USA in international economic relationships, announcing that globalization is among Beijing’s priorities.
Increased risks for business. Mostly political and security risks will increase the uncertainty for businesses in 2017. Also, effective action against international migration will raise the cost of the workforce in many industries and many countries.
OK, America first, but can Romania be second? The joke is currently in vogue online, but, on the eve of its centennial celebrations, Romania needs to define its national interests, to design a program according to these interests and to implement strategies to accomplish them.
Terrorism threat and the fight against terrorism. 2017 will be under the same threat coming from terrorism, but the fight against terrorism may benefit from new alliances (like Russia and the USA) and increased acceptability of medieval methods (like torture). However, if in 2017 the rise of terrorism in Africa will be ignored, the cost will be enormous. Just because Boko Haram has not hit Western countries yet does not mean that this is not a very dangerous group for world security and stability!
Africa, the forgotten continent, again? Poverty and inequality have already showed their enormous potential for eroding peace, stability and prosperity all over the world. With protectionism and isolationism, we cannot keep “their” problems away from “us”. Africa has a huge potential, both for growth and for crisis.
The “ought to”
What should 2017 bring? A weak upward momentum!
A strong NO against nationalism, populism and demagogy! For both politicians and ordinary people, we should look back on history. The line between peace and war is thin and fragile, that and we cannot take the risk to try the way of intolerance, hate or racism. 2017 should be the year we start to think and to act accordingly.
A new start for the EU. In election years, the commitment towards reforms is low. However, 2017 should be the year when the EU starts to reinvent itself. Global security issues, the new vision of the USA regarding the world, and Russian appetite for expansionism should consolidate a common European security and foreign policies.
Commitment to fight against poverty and against increasing inequality. Populism and demagogy, as intolerance and racism, find rich soil in poverty and inequality. Both politicians and business people have to be more responsible towards the society, developing real programs, with a more equitable spreading of the results.
OK, America first, but can Romania be second? The joke is currently in vogue online, but, on the eve of its centennial celebrations, Romania needs to define its national interests, to design a program according to these interests and to implement strategies to accomplish them. In 2017, Romania should start to construct a predictable, honest and fertile societal landscape so that we may welcome back the millions sent abroad, so that we may stop the brain drain, and for entrepreneurs to choose to develop their ideas here. Can 2017 bring all these? No, it cannot. But we can!