Rules of Power

The character of the contemporary world is the epidemic.Accordingly, we must arrange

3rdAugust 2011  8:28
The main concerns of mankind today do not lead to such evils as concrete rather vague threats.Do not worry us visible danger, but uncertain risks that can strike when you least expect them – and against whom we are insufficiently protected.Of course there are specific, recognizable danger, but the biggest worry us his mysterious nature acts as terrorism.Most worrisome to the current economy is its volatility – in other words, the inability of our institutions to protect us from extreme financial uncertainty.
Zuzana Kytlicová Slovak sells cucumbers at the market in Zlín.  (30 May 2011)
Zuzana Kytlicová Slovak sells cucumbers at the market in Zlín. (30 May 2011) | Photo: Dalibor Glück, MF DNES

Generally, much of our anxiety stems from the fact that we are exposed to threats that have only partially under control.Our ancestors lived in dangerous, but less risky environment.Suffered some degree of poverty, whichtodaywas forpeoplein developed countries unbearable, but we are exposed to risks whose nature, even for hard to understand us, they would have been virtually unthinkable.

Enterohemoragické bacteria Escherichia coli (EHEC)Enterohemoragické bacteria Escherichia coli (EHEC)

Shared frailty

Since the unprecedented interdependence issues are risking everyone anywhere in the world, a great challenge to humanity is the management of global risks.Consider climate change, the risks of nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation, threats of terrorists (qualitatively different from the danger of conventional war), the indirect consequences of political instability, economic impacts of financial crises, epidemic (whose risk is growing with more mobility and free trade) and sudden panic attacks induced by the media as the must recent cucumber crisis in Europe.

All these phenomena form part of the dark face of a globalized world: pollution, infection, instability, connectedness, turbulence, shared fragility, global consequences and excessive vulnerability to environmental influences.In this respect we can talk about “epidemic character” of our contemporary world.

The attack on the Twin Towers World Trade Center.  (September 11, 2001)The attack on the Twin Towers World Trade Center. (September 11, 2001)

Interdependence is, in fact, interdependent – a common vulnerability risks.Nothing is completely isolated and there are already “Foreign Affairs”: everything is a national and even personal.The problems other people are today and your problems and we can no longer look at them with indifference or hope that some of them vytěžíme personal gain.

Such is the context of our peculiar vulnerability of today.What used to protect us (distance, government interventions, caution, classic defensive method) is weakened and at best provides weak protection.

(Illustration photo)(Illustration photo)

The consequences of everyone feeling today

Maybe it still does not reflect any geopolitical implications arising from this new logic of interdependence.In such a complicated world is not adequately protected even the strongest.The logic of hegemony actually conflicts with the current phenomena of fragmentation and autonomizace – witness, for example, Pakistan orItaly– that are causing imbalances and asymmetries, not always favorable to the powerful.

Weak, are you sure you do not hope to win the strongest can be harmful – even demolish them among the losers.In contrast to staletému vestfálskému order of nation states in which the decisive factor was the specific weight of each country’s security, economic stability, health andenvironmentalinterdependence in a world constantly of the weakest hostages.The consequences of chaos and turbulence on the periphery all feel.

These conditions too high profile to the risks are largely unprecedented and raise a number of questions to which we have yet to find the right answers.What kind of protection would be appropriate in such a world?

Learn new grammar of power

Not surprisingly, infectious globalization intensifying vulnerability inevitably raises the preventive and defensive strategies that are not always reasonable or prudent.Xenophobia and jingoism that some of these defensive strategies might wake up, they may ultimately causemoredamagethan the threats facing us should protect.

In today’s era of global warming, smart bombs, cyber wars and the global epidemic, our society must be protected by complex and subtle strategies.We can not continue to pursue our strategy of ignoring a common vulnerability to global risks and the consequent environmental interdependence.

Illustrative photoIllustration photo

We have to learn a new grammar of power in the world that is increasingly made up of the common good – or joint damage – than from their own or national interests.These are of course disappeared, but it turns out that without a framework capable of addressing common threats and opportunities are defenseless.

While the old game of power sought to protect their own interests without regard for the interests of others, the power to enforce the combined effects of reciprocity of risk, development and cooperative methods of sharing information and strategies.Horizon, which is today the deployment of humanity must take every effort is truly effective global governance.

It looks like a challenge, and challenging it really is.But this has nothing to do with pessimism.Call management of global risk is nothing less than the need to avoid “end of history” – not in terms of peaceful manifestation of global victory of liberal democracy, but the worst collective failure imaginable.

Javier Solana, Former High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and former NATO Secretary General, is Chairman of ESADE Centre for the global economy and geopolitics and collaborator distinguished Brookings Institution, focusing on foreign policy.
Innerarity Danielis director of the Institute of Democratic Administration University of the Basque Country.Together they compiled a book of La amenazada humanidad: el gobierno de los Riesgos Globales (Endangered humanity: global risk management)

Comment by Adamantine:

I thought this article in Czech was even more illustrative with its pictures and the translation better.

One thought on “Rules of Power

  1. his (js) influence and opinion out there in such a timely manner don’t you think? still connected and connecting as you point out in the other article. he is the hinge-pin it would seem to me. he’s taking it upon himself to teach the whole world how to think and speak a new grammar and perhaps the world is listening and learning from this “so called expert” on everything. he gets a ton of press like a megaphone and twitters very often. what was that he said?…”i have been pushing with all my capacities for un action…” (from bjorn’s post) that is one up-to-date old man-no rocking chair zone for him! i don’t hear even a squeak coming out of anyone else in comparison. crisis after crisis mounting and his influence mounting as well…..find me-still watching. (Lord come quickly).


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