As the new year has begun, we look back on 2015 as a year of changes and asymmetric threats, but not only those of a terrorist nature.
Our society is evolving, mutating to one of instantaneous pleasures and knowledge, but not necessarily one of analysis, reflection or diplomacy. Will we be moving from a welfare state to a warfare state?
What should we expect for the New Year?
The fight for energy and water will be the next battles, as each growing economy depends on natural resources to secure growth, jobs, opportunity and stability. The transition to cleaner energy is advancing and very important for Africa, but, as noted in a report by the Atlantic Council, "renewable energy sources will not account for more than 2-3 percent of global energy consumption by 2020 and 4-5 percent by 2035."
As borders fall and free-trade agreements flourish, the effects of globalization have led to a cultural and religious communitarian identification, which is leading to a sharp rise in nationalistic or populist influence and sentiments. The terrorist attacks in Paris in January and November weighed very heavily and influenced 6.8 million French "patriots" to vote for the far-right National Front. Religion will be the glue of many poor nations as illustrated by this graph from Pew Research, which will certainly influence the political landscape in the years to come.
It is important for politicians, especially given the upcoming U.S. presidential race in 2016 and the upcoming French presidential elections in 2017, to keep the focus on the economy and jobs. And not just minimum-wage jobs.
The U.S. has managed to reach full employment at 5 percent, while France is at 10 percent unemployment. Two completely different economic models: one with a small safety net and the other with too-generous one that kills initiative, stifles initiatives and strangles the entrepreneur.
This is a clear-cut example of the disparity that we will see in the years to come: The evolution of our labor-based economy to a knowledge-based one, which will require less physical labor and more tech-savvy leaders to guide and lead, bringing a new typology of workers, which will certainly be more short-term. The lifelong job or job security is no more. The Internet revolution has changed the way we work and where we work and provided us with disruptors and opportunities for those that have jumped on the bandwagon of the Internet of Things. There are, of course, those that are left behind by Internet poverty.
Terrorism and asymmetric threats will continue to result in the cancellation of celebrations, like in Brussels for New Year's Eve this, or in schools, as in the case of the Los Angeles city school district. Will Europe and the U.S. beef up their defense budgets, as several Middle Eastern countries and China have, in the face of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and lone-wolf attacks that will threaten our way of life?
I am optimistic that there are solutions to the grave challenges our world is facing.
Wasylina is president and founder of the International Geostrategic Maritime Observatory (IGMO) (formerly the Observatory of the Black, Gulf and Mediterranean Seas) a think tank based in Paris. She is the author of "Ukraine: Prémices de Guerre Froide en Europe?" and "La Défense Européenne Face aux Menaces: L'Europe Est-Elle Prête pour son 9/11?." Follow her on Twitter @presidentigmo.