It’s hard not to see 2022 as a “year that changed everything.” The war in Ukraine and other developments certainly represented shocks to the international system. But rather than a year that has changed everything, I see a year that has made everything more possible, at times for the worse but also for the better.
Last month, a U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel off the coast of Ecuador was forced to take evasive action when a Chinese fishing boat tried to ram it to avoid being boarded and inspected. The incident highlights the growing risk for conflict over fishing rights amid heightened geopolitical rivalry on the world’s oceans.
Though the world is still not on track to tackle the climate crisis, politicians, investors and businesses are waking up to the far-reaching transitions, such as clean energy, that are needed to limit the effects of climate change. That transition is accelerating, with important implications for finance, trade and geopolitics.
Writing about human security and international law often means writing about the worst things in the world. With the holidays around the corner, it’s worth sharing a few stories that show how numerous strategies—including NGO activism and nonviolent protest movements—are making a positive difference for human security worldwide.
In defending themselves from foreign interference, Western countries currently tend to look at all the tools used to pursue it in isolation. In order to effectively defend themselves, however, Western governments ought to see all the tools of foreign interference as elements of a strategic continuum, requiring a holistic response.
From the outset of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, many observers have been quick to point to its downsides, from accusations of corruption in the host-country selection process to human rights concerns. But major sporting events like the World Cup and Olympic Games still offer unique opportunities for the host countries and the world.
Cities have emerged as key leaders in implementing climate solutions. But while transport and energy often get more attention, the construction and operation of buildings is typically a city’s highest source of emissions. It’s not surprising, then, that buildings have become a top priority for climate action for U.S. cities.
Advocates of cryptocurrencies have long argued that the new technology behind them would break the government monopoly on currency regulation. The collapse of the FTX exchange illustrates why this sort of “disruption” is unlikely in the realm of currency control, which has historically been and will remain the domain of governments.
After an inauspicious start, 2022 has been a year of low-key but surprisingly successful muddling through for multilateralism. While the war in Ukraine had the potential to throw international institutions into disarray, overall these institutions weathered the storm in better shape than seemed imaginable shortly after the invasion.