Over the past several weeks a new theme about America and the world has emerged: Everything, everywhere, is coming apart. Multiple terrorist attacks in France compete for headlines against a daily drumbeat of bombings claimed by the so-called Islamic State in Turkey, Iraq and Bangladesh. A failed military coup has raised questions about Turkey’s democratic credentials and stability. And in the United States, a race-baiting populist has just become the Republican presidential nominee, at a time when it seems to be open season on black men and police officers in the streets of America’s cities.
For someone like me, who consistently argues that the world has never been safer and that the steady path of progress will be maintained, these are seemingly troubling times. As one particularly persistent editor who shall remain nameless asked me, “What would have to happen to make you question your beliefs about the future of international relations?”
It’s a good question and one worthy of an answer.