The Stanley Foundation
Seeking a secure peace with freedom and justice, built on global citizenship and effective global governance.
U.S. can't be world's only problem solver

Vlad Sambaiew
The Des Moines Register
December 2010

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.
Share: Email Facebook Twitter
Courier Courier
The Winter 2016 issue of Courier features policy insights for the President-elect and new US leadership to improve our peace and security in nuclear policy, genocide prevention, and climate change. The issue also includes an in-depth interview with a survivor of the Phnom Penh, Cambodia genocide in the late 1970s. The full Winter 2016 issue. PDF (1.0 MB) Subscribe for FREE.

Stanley Foundation at 60
On December 12, 1956, the Stanley Foundation was certified as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Iowa, bringing to life an organization dedicated to creating a world in which there is a secure peace with freedom and justice. Sixty years later, the organization continues to pursue and advance that vision as a thriving nonpartisan operating foundation. Moreover, it remains an organization with a professional staff and the involvement of family members who have an ongoing role in shaping its strategy and core values. More.

IRP Fellows Reporting Live from the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Morocco
The International Reporting Project (IRP) and the Stanley Foundation collaborated to bring five international journalists to Marrakech, Morocco to report on the Twenty-Second Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from November 7-18, 2016.  

SAFETY Guidelines for Journalists:<br>Radiation Incidents SAFETY Guidelines for Journalists:
Radiation Incidents

In the event of a radiation incident such as the use of a so-called dirty bomb or nuclear reactor incident, accurate and swift reporting is vital to public safety. This guide is intended to both help the journalist to be safe if they are covering such a story and to provide basic safety information that can be conveyed to the public to limit the risk of radiation exposure. 

Reporting a Radiation Emergency Reporting a Radiation Emergency
Journalists would play an indispensable role keeping the public informed in an emergency resulting in the release of radiation, either accidental or deliberate. But what do they need to do their job effectively? The following recommendations to authorities who would manage such an emergency were drafted by participants in the 2016 Rotterdam Nuclear Security Workshop for International Journalists.

the latest the latest
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.

Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences 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.

Receive Materials Receive Materials
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.

Nuclear Security Video 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 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.