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A World of Mounting Disarray

Summary:
From climate change to public health to geopolitical rivalry and the security of cyberspace, the gap between global challenges and responses is large and growing. And the resources needed to turn things around – especially collective will and skillful diplomacy – are in short supply. NEW YORK – My book, A World in Disarray, was published five years ago this month. The book’s thesis was that the Cold War’s end did not usher in an era of greater stability, security, and peace, as many expected. Instead, what emerged was a world in which conflict was much more prevalent than cooperation. January 6 and the Possessive White Male ROBERTO SCHMIDTAFP via Getty Images

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From climate change to public health to geopolitical rivalry and the security of cyberspace, the gap between global challenges and responses is large and growing. And the resources needed to turn things around – especially collective will and skillful diplomacy – are in short supply.

NEW YORK – My book, A World in Disarray, was published five years ago this month. The book’s thesis was that the Cold War’s end did not usher in an era of greater stability, security, and peace, as many expected. Instead, what emerged was a world in which conflict was much more prevalent than cooperation.

Some criticized the book at the time as being unduly negative and pessimistic. In retrospect, the book could have been criticized for its relative optimism. The world is a messier place than it was five years ago – and most trends are heading in the wrong direction.

At the global level, the gap between challenges and responses is large and growing. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacies of international health machinery. We are entering the third year of the pandemic, but still do not know its origins, thanks to Chinese stonewalling.

What we do know is that more than five million people, and more likely 15 million, have died. We also know that some three billion people (many in Africa) have yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And we know that the ongoing pandemic has

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