Issues - International Reports
Multilateralism – Is the International Order Hanging by a Thread?
75 years ago, the Charter of the United Nations was signed in San Francisco. It laid the foundation for a new international order based on the ideal of institutionalised cooperation. Cooperation instead of confrontation – that was the lesson learnt from the catastrophes of two world wars. How is international cooperation doing today? Is there any truth in all the gloom, all the voices bemoaning the end of the multilateral world order? Why is it important, despite all difficulties and weaknesses, to continue to defend this policy model?
“It is very important to us that together we find a strong response to the coronavirus. It knows no borders, it knows no nationalities.” These are the words of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, with regard to the coronavirus crisis. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent sustained pandemic have created a new level of global emergency in early 2020. This includes the closure of borders and introduction of border controls within the European Union.
Rapid technological developments witnessed over recent decades offer many opportunities, but also present us with new challenges – political, social, and sometimes private. Strategic questions regarding the political design of our digital future need to be considered at the international level in particular. This is because strict technological separation of a wide variety of state and non-state actors is now virtually impossible. Globalised goods, services, communications, and data streams are shaping the world.
From football to road construction – corruption has many faces. But the general rule is that the more opaque and unregulated decision-making processes are, the greater the risk of abusing power for self-enrichment. Arbitrary and unclear decisions, whether that be in dispensing justice, granting governmental contracts, or filling public offices, undermine the rule of law and swallow up additional resources. Corruption is a global phenomenon.
The End of Arms Control?
Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, the issue of armament and arms control is once again playing an important role, as the recent failure of the INF Treaty, the last mainstay of nuclear arms control, clearly showed. It is a symptom of a new great-power politics that is increasingly shaping the international system.
“Whether for humanitarian, development policy, economic reasons or out of self-interest, it is necessary to contain the spread of diseases. As a community of nations, we have a joint responsibility to do so”, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this May. This is not the only statement demonstrating how the international community of nations increasingly turns its attention to establishing and protecting Global Health architecture, in which Germany plays a central role.
On the Future of Sub-Saharan Africa
In 2018, at least the cinema allowed us to experience what Sub-Saharan Africa could possibly look like: paradisiacal conditions and a highly developed civilisation that uses its immense resource wealth to provide its own population with a life in freedom and prosperity and to defend this achievement from the outside world. Unfortunately, reality does not reflect the utopian conditions enjoyed by the Kingdom of Wakanda in the film “Black Panther”.
The first two years of Donald Trump’s term as the 45th president of the United States have seriously damaged Europe’s confidence in the US as a partner, and put a strain on transatlantic relations. However, this review of American foreign policy under Trump, which takes a look at how Europe and the US are actually cooperating in five regions and five policy fields, reveals a differentiated picture with some rays of hope.
Who Will Save the Liberal World Order?
The liberal world order is in crisis. Signs of internal disintegration combined with new external challenges are creating a maelstrom of conflicting interests that certainly gives grounds for concern. The fact that, now of all times, the United States is increasingly abandoning its role as defender and guarantor of the “Pax Americana” is seriously exacerbating the situation and poses the question: who will save the liberal world order?
From Village Community to Megacity
According to United Nations estimates, two thirds of humanity will live in cities in 2050. In 1950, it was only one third. During the same period, the number of metropolises could rise from 28 to more than 40 (and by “metropolis”, we mean a settlement area of more than ten million inhabitants). While the number of people who live in urban areas is continuously rising, the rural population is noticeably shrinking.
About this series
This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.
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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers
Head of International Reports and Communication
Referentin Kommunikation und Vermarktung