Thursday 17 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 17/11/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Christian Delfino

Opinion / Alexis Self

The future is now

With the dust not yet settled after the US midterm elections, at least one thing is clear: the Republicans did not claim the resounding victory that everyone had anticipated. If nothing else, this should mean that Washington’s support for Ukraine remains steadfast, despite the likely appointment of the relatively dovish Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House of Representatives. So the flow of arms to Kyiv, via Nato’s Eastern European members (including Poland), should continue unabated – for now.

As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaches, both sides appear prepared for the long haul. But how long are Ukraine’s allies willing to retain their commitments? On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced his 2024 bid for the White House. He is a politician who thrives on chaos so he must believe that next year will bring more of it. With uncertainty being the only certainty in geopolitics, how does one look forward to what comes next with anything less than trepidation? Picking up a copy of The Forecast will help.

Our future-looking compendium features expert opinion on what the return of war to Europe has taught us about the shifting sands of power, as well as a dispatch from the frontline. We also look at where the next war might break out and take the temperature on the streets of New York, asking how best to solve the problems (from crime to work and housing) engulfing the great US city. There are also beautifully shot pieces on what’s likely to happen next year in the worlds of business, culture, design and fashion. The Forecast shines a light on the darkness ahead and finds that there’s plenty to be positive about – and lots to get working on.

Alexis Self is Monocle’s foreign editor. To read more about the future of geopolitics, business and more, grab your copy of ‘The Forecast’, on newsstands today.

Image: Shutterstock

Defence / Europe

Setting stall

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused European nations to consider the extent of military support they can give a country without provoking retaliation. The UK has already been training Ukrainian troops; earlier this year it pledged to get 10,000 of them combat-ready every 120 days. Now the EU is ramping up its hands-on help. A training programme for up to 15,000 troops will have bases in Poland and Germany. This week Spain announced that it has committed to training 400 soldiers every two months – that’s up to 2,400 a year. Given the tension raised this week by the deadly missile landing in Poland (which turned out to probably be a stray fired by the Ukrainian defence), it’s unlikely that there will be any cessation. The G7 and Nato statement on the sidelines of Bali’s G20 meeting – reaffirming “steadfast support” for Ukraine – is also proof that much of the international community is digging in for an extended conflict.

Image: Getty Images

Aviation / India

Fit to fly

This week the International Air Transport Association has estimated that India will emerge as the world’s third-largest aviation market in the next decade. A predicted growth of almost 6 per cent a year would mean that in 2040 there will be 430 million additional air-passenger journeys to, from and within India compared to 2019. The impressive growth creates opportunities as well as unprecedented demand for infrastructure and equipment.

Airbus has estimated that India will need more than 2,000 new aircraft in the next 20 years, while Indian officials have revealed plans to open almost 80 new airports in the next four to five years. Considering the scale of this expansion, it’s good to see decision-makers paying attention to sustainability: the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation says that it is considering making it compulsory for airlines in India to use sustainable aviation fuel to help make sure that the sector is ready to soar.

Image: Getty Images

Fashion / USA

Win by a nose

After weeks of speculation, cosmetics company Estée Lauder has confirmed plans to buy Tom Ford in a $2.8bn (€2.7bn) deal. Beauty and fragrance have been the foundation of Tom Ford’s brand since the designer (pictured) left Gucci and founded his eponymous label in 2005, so Lauder is perhaps a better fit than fashion conglomerate Kering, which was also among the top bidders.

Clothing and accessories are a cornerstone of Tom Ford too but Lauder has said that it isn’t planning on getting into fashion. Instead, the brand’s ready-to-wear and eyewear divisions will be overseen by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group and Marcolin SpA respectively, which will be long-term licensing partners. Ford only plans to remain as creative director until the end of 2023; his partner and the company’s chairman Domenico de Sole will also stay on as a consultant through that period. It remains to be seen whether the company can hold onto its commercial success without Ford at the helm.

Image: Getty Images

Education / Switzerland

Catching the sun

As part of Switzerland’s dual-education system, most young students can choose to enrol in higher education or a two-to-three-year practical apprenticeship after compulsory schooling. To reflect the importance of emerging sectors such as renewable energy, a new solar-technology apprenticeship will be launched in 2024. Solar energy is a rapidly growing field in Switzerland; in 2022 capacity rose by 43 per cent year on year.

About 10,000 people now work in the industry across Switzerland, a number that is expected to more than double by 2050. Since it will take time for the programme to boost worker numbers, the nation is also looking for immediate solutions. Apprentice chimney sweeps in Switzerland, already accustomed to working on a roof, are being offered additional courses to help meet the soaring demand for solar-panel installation. A five-day crash course is currently available: the only conditions are fitness, fluency in German and not being afraid of heights.

Image: Cecilie Bahnsen

Monocle 24 / On Design

Bahnsen, Ilincic and Magugu

We meet Denmark’s Cecilie Bahnsen, London-based fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic and talk to South African designer Thebe Magugu.

Monocle Films / Portugal

Portugal: The Monocle Handbook

Part of a new travel series, Portugal: The Monocle Handbook is a practical guide that will introduce you to the best the country has to offer as we present our favourite spots across the country. Order your copy today.


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