Is Ban Ki-moon the emblematic international figure of our times?
This is probably not a proposition you have considered before. Although it is only 15 months since Ban ended his 10-year tenure as secretary-general of the United Nations, he feels like a distant memory.
Ban was a cautious and often marginal figure in a world of mounting crises. While he played a significant role in ensuring the ratification of the Paris climate change agreement in his last year in office, he could only do so because the United States, China and other major states were on his side. A little over a year into the Trump administration, the notion of such concerted big-power cooperation feels almost too alien to bear.