The Future of Global Affairs: Managing Discontinuity, Disruption and Destruction
This thought-provoking collection of essays surveys today’s troubled system of global governance. The contributors paint a bleak picture: the scale and scope of global problems—including pandemics, global warming, cyberwarfare, international extremist networks, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—have simply overwhelmed the old postwar governance institutions, starting with the United Nations. The editors argue that for scholars to grasp the extent and profundity of this crisis, the study of “international relations” needs to be expanded into a multidisciplinary study of “global affairs,” which spans the fields of economics, politics, law, the environment, and development.
Only this approach will help scholars understand an increasingly “complex, dynamic, and fragile” world. The environmental scientist Michael Oppenheimer argues that the world is entering an era of “illiberal globalization,” defined less by multilateral rules and more by raw power. In his contribution, Ankersen argues that the notion that globalization would overwhelm and undermine countries and lead to the “decline of the state” has not come to pass.
Red Alert: Only one Earth
A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Making Peace with Nature (2021), highlights the ‘gravity of the Earth’s triple environmental emergencies: climate, biodiversity loss, and pollution’. These three ‘self-inflicted planetary crises’, the UNEP says, put ‘the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk’. This Red Alert, released for World Environment Day (5 June), is produced with the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle.
What is the scale of the destruction?
Ecosystems have degraded at an alarming rate. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report from 2019 provides stunning examples of the scale of the destruction:
Gender equality, sustainability and social justice: A roadmap for recovery
Women have been at the forefront of the world’s battle against COVID-19, as healthcare workers risking their lives, as scientists in teams that have developed vaccines at record speed, as carers in families and communities, setting up food banks and childcare cooperatives, and as political and public health leaders, steering us through the very worst of times.
At the same time, due to pre-existing gender inequalities, the social and economic impacts of the pandemic have hit women hardest. During the pandemic, women have lost their jobs and seen their earnings dwindle at a faster rate than men, with devastating impacts on their economic autonomy. This is because women tend to be concentrated in the most vulnerable informal jobs, which often lack basic rights and social protection.
What are food crisis and how many people are affected by them?
At least 155 million people are facing acute hunger because of conflict, economic shocks and extreme weather, a new report has found. The Global Report on Food Crises 2021 says the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the risk of severe hunger in some regions of the world.
The figure marks a new five-year high for global food crises, which affected 55 countries or territories in 2020. The publishers of the report issued a stark warning, saying “If current trends are not reversed, food crises will increase in frequency and severity.” In 2020, 20 million more people than in 2019 experienced acute food insecurity at “crisis or worse levels,” the report found. Around 133,000 people in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Yemen faced widespread death and a collapse of livelihoods in the most severe level of food crisis, classified as a ‘catastrophe.’
Wars crimes and western media complicity
According to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the definition of ‘War Crimes’ includes: “those violations of international humanitarian law (treaty or customary law) that incur individual criminal responsibility under international law. As a result…war crimes must always take place in the context of an armed conflict, either international or non-international.” Thus, we can establish that the violence unleashed each day in Gaza over the last two weeks constitutes Israeli war crimes. What remains even more clear, however, is that we aren’t receiving news about these on-ground realities from western media but from social media.
Following the hashtags, reading tweets, watching video clips and live updates from Palestinians caught up in the eye of this terrifying storm reminds us of the appalling western media bias andspreading of propaganda, the likes of which Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Propaganda minister would have been proud.
Justice delayed is justice denied. I lost my family to Iran Regime’s barbarity
On May 4, over 1,100 families of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran wrote a letter to the international community. We called on the United Nations and European and American governments to take immediate action in preventing the regime from further destruction of their loved ones’ graves.
I was one of the signatories. I have lost six of my relatives to the regime’s cruelty. I was seven years old when my parents were arrested for their democratic ideals and activism. My father, Dr. Morteza Shafaei, was a well-respected and popular physician in Isfahan. He was admired by people because he was extremely compassionate and giving to others. He was brutally executed by the regime in 1981 simply because he sought a democratic future for his family and his compatriots.
Strong diplomacy, strong status: Turkey in the region
After the end of the Cold War, the United States declared itself the sheriff of global politics. The new world order of American neo-cons amounted to the sole hegemony of the U.S. around the world.
Devastating the established international order, this unipolar international system nullified the status of international law and organizations, particularly the United Nations.
During the first two decades of the post-Cold War period, the U.S.’s unlawful occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq concluded, providing lasting political instability in the Middle East. However, the eruption of the Syrian civil war soon proved that the unipolar international order was simply not working. Losing their role as a playmaker, the U.S. administration injected itself into the Syrian crisis as one of the parties of the regional conflict by using two terrorist organizations, Daesh and the PKK, as proxies
The controversial future of nuclear power in the U.S.
As the climate crisis worsens, the discussion intensifies over what role nuclear power should play in fighting it.
The battle for the future of farming: what you need to know
It is widely agreed that today’s global agriculture system is a social and environmental failure. Business as usual is no longer an option: biodiversity loss and nitrogen pollution are exceeding planetary limits, and catastrophic risks of climate change demand immediate action. Most concede that there is an urgent need to radically transform our food systems. But the proposed innovations for more sustainable food systems are drastically different. Which we choose will have long-lasting effects on human society and the planet.
Suggested innovations in food systems can be broadly understood as either seeking to conform with – or to transform – the status quo.
Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap
Sometimes realization comes in a blinding flash. Blurred outlines snap into shape and suddenly it all makes sense. Underneath such revelations is typically a much slower-dawning process. Doubts at the back of the mind grow. The sense of confusion that things cannot be made to fit together increases until something clicks. Or perhaps snaps.
Collectively we three authors of this article must have spent more than 80 years thinking about climate change. Why has it taken us so long to speak out about the obvious dangers of the concept of net zero? In our defense, the premise of net zero is deceptively simple–and we admit that it deceived us.
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