Wars in Europe, in Africa and new fear in the Middle East, but also repeated natural disasters, or even permanent crises in France have punctuated the year 2023. The agenda is getting heavier and, test after test, it is a general concern which is rising a notch among the populations, witnesses of a world approaching the precipice.

The 2024 edition of the World Report deciphers this year of anxiety. Produced by journalists from Le Monde, this publication covers the geopolitical, economic and ecological news of the past year and takes stock of the state of the 198 countries of the globe, brought together in an atlas. In addition to the three notebooks – “International”, “France” and “Planète” – the edition also includes infographics, a portfolio, and unpublished columns or published in the “Ideas” pages of the journal.

This climate of anxiety is also affecting French society, with the pension reform in winter, the inflation peak in spring, the summer riots, and the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or even the adoption of the relative bill at immigration in the fall. These four seasons of protests also affect the ecological sphere, with 2023 being considered the hottest year in history.

This conjunction of crises disrupts the peace in our minds, as if the actors involved in these power struggles no longer understand each other when they speak to each other or, if they speak to each other, remain stuck on their narrative. So much so that mutual incomprehension takes over constructive exchange, leading to a form of distrust, even intolerance, between the West and the rest of the world and between those who govern and those who are governed.

Battle of rationalities

By its complexity, the world therefore becomes illegible without being irrational. Because, from one power to another, it is indeed a battle of rationalities that we are witnessing. This fractured world everywhere benefits the forces of populism, which use the identity argument as a framework for reading problems.

However, it is social treatment that should take precedence, not identity anchoring. And yet, the times seem to give wings to ultrapopulist rhetoric in Europe. These are ominous signs for democracy, while other crucial deadlines are expected in a few months in the West.

Without relying on chaos theory, there is no reason not to worry about this state of affairs, because from incomprehension comes ignorance; and from ignorance exclusion; then the exclusion of war. It is up to the citizen to find the resources necessary to escape from these murderous logics, to redefine a single grammar of international relations.

For the moment, his shoulders are raised and his jaw clenched, because as he approaches the precipice, he sees out of the corner of his eyes the sheer walls and the depth of the abyss. Let us hope that by going through this assessment of the year 2023, he will manage to unclench his teeth, move away from the ravine and thus halt the collapse of a world in free fall.