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U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Paris Climate Conference, Le Bourget, France, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Why the State of the World Is Better Than You Think

, Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Given global headlines, you might think the world is terribly off course. Geopolitical rivalry threatens stability from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. Jihadi terrorists sow mayhem throughout the Middle East. A scary virus emerges in Latin America, spreading across borders. A Brazilian president is brought down, as the Panama Papers expose corruption in other lands. Publics everywhere, alienated by yawning inequality and anemic growth, vent their frustration at a system rigged for moneyed elites. Populist politicians, sensing the sour mood, promise to reverse globalization by building walls to keep out foreigners and abandoning trade agreements.

This noisy, negative narrative isn’t all wrong. But the drumbeat of decay and despair has drowned out more positive developments. In fact, the international community has recorded impressive gains against some of the world’s most difficult problems, from climate change to nuclear nonproliferation. ...

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