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To use the title that Georges Bernanos used in 1943 in a short text of eight pages published clandestinely when France was occupied by Nazi Germany, in order to probe the darkness of a future which then seemed improbable, is pretentious. One reason alone can justify this lack of taste, that of necessity.
Necessity stands before us to make clear the landscape of what we will collectively have to face and what we will be able to benefit from in terms of defense. Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize in Physics, said ironically: “Prediction is always very difficult, especially when it concerns the future.” The forecast must be supported by foundations and observations, of course, but the play of the imponderable plays a central role.
It is almost 70 years since Arnold Toynbee published The World and the West. He was one of the minds who thought to question the world on its perception of the West and noted the decline of influence of the latter. Published in 1953, his work traced a reflection that took place between the First and Second World Wars. The weight of a demography counts in the influence of a civilization on the others. In 1914, Europe and North America accounted for 25% of the world’s population. In 1953, it only represented 20%.
Today, the western world comprising the European Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and North America, represents only 10% of the world’s population. But the era of globalization based on the planetary expansion of the capitalist system succeeded the era of European colonization, with its planetary expansion at a forced march…


Our world is evolving and yet the future remains largely unknown. Progress, rivalry, competition, confrontation and decline are all changes we need to apprehend. We need to look ahead, to give consideration to the long-term future.


  • Foresight
  • Demography
  • Competition
  • Powerful
Pierre Viaud
Former professor of political science and public law, specialist in international relations
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Uploaded on on 16/03/2023
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