The challenges that awaits global leaders & Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general in global politics affecting millions. Between a global Trumpism, refugee crisis, climate change, North Korea’s nuclear program and Kim Jong-Un phenomenon, conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, elsewhere, and a slew of internal scandals, already had some daunting global challenges on their plate.
Guterres, who as high commissioner for refugees made a point of urging wealthy countries to do more to help migrants and refugees and has promised to do so as secretary-general as well, can’t be encouraged by Trump’s views on the crisis.
And U.N. high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, responding to Trump’s comments on barring Muslims from entering the U.S., deporting immigrants, and using torture, said during the campaign that Trump’s election posed a danger to global stability and the refugee situation around the world has been overwhelming, heart-wrenching, and those who’ve had the guns and bombs to sell an launch are still comfortably ruling the world. I’ve been weary and suspicious of “conflict management”, as an academic pursuit, as policy, and as practice.
Managing crisis implies keeping war going tolerably, which has been the case, since it’s greatly profitable. If anyone cares to end wars, one needs the superior skills of whispering to greedy, ravenous and rabid hyenas that will think you foolish to jump into their den in the first place.
You will come out without a leg, perhaps without your life, but someone needs to go into those dens, not just to manage the destruction that comes out of them from a profitable distance. We need war-whisperers to ease the pain and damage done to humanity. I’m not taking about men and women who wear uniform to go to war for God and Country.
I’m talking about fearless peacemakers who understand the war machine and dare to confront it with the power of their knowledge and moral authority. Go into those dens, you war-whisperers.
Is there any cause for optimism? Guterres, who as the former prime minister of Portugal is the first former national leader to hold the U.N.’s top job, is coming in with an ambitious reform agenda, pledging to revamp the organization’s budget rules and regulations to make it more efficient and accountable. Perhaps he could use America’s renewed threats to defund the U.N. as impetus to push these reforms through, while keeping the Trump administration engaged in, or at the very least indifferent to, the U.N.’s operations. For all the problems on his desk, this may prove to be the new secretary-general’s toughest challenge.