U.S. can't be world's only problem solver
The Des Moines Register
Recent United Nations talks in Cancun brought welcome steps forward on the climate change challenge and highlight a key feature of 21st-century international politics: Leadership in tackling global problems will depend increasingly on cooperation with rising powers and developing nations. Mexico deserves special credit both for hosting a well-organized conference and skillfully shepherding many different national views toward a successful outcome. The contrast with the bitterly divisive 2009 Copenhagen climate change meeting could not be clearer.
The point is that international affairs leadership is no longer the preserve of longtime world powers, such as the United States, Western European nations, and sometimes Russia. While all eyes are now focused on China and its rapidly growing role in a whole host of issues, China itself is part of a larger changing global landscape. Mexico is a prime illustration. Most Americans think of Mexico in terms of drugs, violence and illegal immigration, but do not realize that Mexico is a regional power with a growing middle class and significant influence in key international bodies such as the United Nations. Brazil is another regional power with growing international clout. It has South America's largest economy, longtime ambitions for a more prominent world role, and a highly professional diplomatic service to promote its perspectives.
Two phrases help explain today's leadership context: the "G-20" and "responsible stakeholdership." Nations that make up the G-20 represent more than 80 percent of the world's population and economic output. Since the first summit in November 2008 hosted by then-President George Bush in Washington, the leaders of 19 nations plus the European Union have met four times to deal with the world's continuing economic and financial difficulties. The early November Seoul G-20 summit was the first time the group met outside North America and Europe.
As the crisis phase of the global economic downturn passes, the G-20 grouping faces questions about its longer-term role - not just for its mandate of economic diplomacy, but for international cooperation more broadly. The strength of the G-20 is that it represents a solid cross section of today's leading nations. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, the G-20 includes six representatives from Asia alone (Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea) and includes leading nations from all world regions.
The gradual inclusion of issues beyond economic policy at these top-level gatherings seems a natural step. Given the global challenges, it would be a missed opportunity to bring heads of state together from all world regions and then artificially limit what they can discuss or decide.
Here is where the term "responsible stakeholdership" enters the picture. Originally coined by World Bank President Robert Zoellick with respect to China and its role in the world system, the essential point is that powerful nations must help to maintain that system. Put another way, the standard should be that leaders on all continents act and think about how best to respond to shared global challenges. Progress on climate change is certainly an important step, but there are many other areas deserving top-level attention: Nuclear nonproliferation, better security of dangerous nuclear materials, basic human rights, and increased anti-terrorism cooperation are just a few.
In sum, we are all now part of a highly globalized world in which newly influential nations, important international organizations and many nongovernmental groups play a much greater role. Clearly, the United States is a central and great power, but it cannot solve the world's problems alone. It is up to leaders' groups such as the G-20 to build and use the structures that can work to our overall benefit in the dynamic and complex 21st-century world.
Director of Communications: The director of communications, a senior professional at the Stanley Foundation, is responsible for all aspects of the foundation’s external communications, from general brand to specific material production.
Program Officer, Media: The Stanley Foundation seeks a program officer to join its Policy Programming Department. The chosen candidate will work with the foundation’s leadership team and staff to plan, implement, and assess the impact of the foundation’s media programming in pursuit of our mission, vision, and organizational goals.
Policy Program Officer, Nuclear Security: The Stanley Foundation seeks a program officer to plan, implement, and assess the impact of the foundation’s nuclear security policy programming.
Policy Program Officer, Human Protection; The Stanley Foundation seeks a program officer to plan, implement, and assess the impact of the foundation’s human protection policy programming.
The latest issue of Courier features an investigation of a 2007 break-in at a South African nuclear storage facility that still unnerves many officials and experts. It also considers the architecture for climate action that needs to be built ahead of this year's global gathering in Paris. Another article looks at our annual global youth conference that brings students together to discuss global issues. Finally, two teachers share how a travel award offers unique professional development.
Our bimonthly newsletter is filled with resources to keep you up to date with our work at the Stanley Foundation. Each edition includes news about recent publications and stories as well as features our people and partners.
You will also find many extras, from upcoming events to multimedia resources. Sign up for the latest to stay engaged on key global issues.
The Stanley Foundation publishes policy briefs, analytical articles, and reports on a number of international issues. To reduce our carbon footprint and cut waste, we almost exclusively, use electronic distribution for our publications. Sign up to receive our resources via e-mail.
|Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences
The Stanley Foundation holds two annual conferences, UN Issues and the Strategy for Peace Conference. These bring together experts from the public and private sectors to meet in a distraction-free setting and candidly exchange ideas on pressing foreign policy challenges.
Divided into roundtable talks, the cutting-edge discussions are intended to inspire group consensus and shared recommendations to push forward the debate on the foundation’s key policy areas.
|Nuclear Security Video
The Stanley Foundation produced a 13-minute video looking at what needs to be done to stop terrorist groups from acquiring enough fissile material to make a bomb. The foundation talked with over a dozen diverse and distinguished experts from the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group and the Fissile Materials Working Group to see how today's patchwork of voluntary arrangements can be forged into a long-lasting system. Watch the video.
|Watch and Learn
Stanley Foundation events, talks, video reports, and segments from our Now Showing event-in-a-box series can now be viewed on YouTube. To receive regular updates on our video posts, please subscribe today.