Recent generations have experienced dramatic improvements in the quality of human life across the globe. Wars between states are fought less frequently and are less lethal. Food is more plentiful and more easily accessed. In most parts of the world, birthrates are down and life expectancy up. Significantly fewer people live in extreme poverty, relative to the overall population. Statistics would argue that the human race has never before flourished as it has in this moment.
And yet, even with this progress, we face a number of seemingly intractable challenges to the welfare of both states and individuals, including:
- Governmental instability undermining the lives of citizens, both within and beyond their borders;
- Persistent and recurring intrastate conflict due to ineffective conflict management strategies;
- Marginally successful development efforts and growing income inequality, both within and between nations, as a result of uncoordinated and ineffective global development strategies;
- Internecine conflict in multiethnic societies, manifested by exclusion, discrimination, and ultimately violence, the inevitable consequence of an insufficient focus on managing the inherent tensions in diverse societies;
- Global climate change with the possibility of catastrophic long-term consequences, following an inability to effectively come to terms with and respond to the impact of human activity on our environment.
These challenges require a newly collaborative, intentional, and systematic approach. This book offers a blueprint for how to get there, calling for increased leadership responsibility, clarity of mission, and empowerment of states and individuals. It is designed to transform lofty but often vague agendas into concrete, measurable progress. It believes in the capacity of humanity to rise to the occasion, to come together to address these increasingly critical global problems, and offers one way forward.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: Dramatic Gains and Daunting Challenges Chapter 1: Conflict Chapter 2 – Ethnic Diversity Chapter 3 – Instability, Democracy, and Regime Consistency Chapter 4 – Development Chapter 5 – Climate Change Conclusion: Global Challenges to Human Security in the Twenty-First Century
Jonathan Wilkenfeld is Professor of Government and Politics, and Director of the ICONS Simulation Project at the University of Maryland, USA. He was a founder with Michael Brecher of the International Crisis Behavior Project. His research and writing has addressed conflict and crisis, negotiation and mediation, with regional foci in the Middle East and China. His recent research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Homeland Security, and by the Folke Bernadotte Academy (Sweden). His recent books include Peace and Conflict 2014 (with David Backer and Paul Huth), International Negotiation in a Complex World (4th edition, with Brigid Starkey and Mark Boyer), and Mediating International Crises (with Kathleen Young, David Quinn, and Victor Asal).
"In his groundbreaking new book, Wilkenfeld brings the research and policy communities together to confront critical global challenges. In addressing climate change, underdevelopment, conflict, and instability, he implores our national leaders to undertake bold steps in a newly collaborative, intentional, and systematic approach. The book offers a blueprint for increased leadership responsibility, clarity of mission, and empowerment of states and individuals. It suggests a way to transform lofty but often vague agendas into concrete, measurable progress."—Henry Waxman, former U.S. Representative (D-CA)
"Jonathan Wilkenfeld, one of the leading scholars in international relations over a period of forty years, has written an extremely important, timely, and thought-provoking book. This work provides a perceptive grasp of the key challenges that face the global community in the coming era; it decouples some of the more prevalent myths of how global turmoil can be managed or mitigated; and it offers an insightful and inspiring vision of how we can effectively confront these global challenges. A key message of this book is that, even if we do not feel immediately affected by such issues as continued domestic instability, underdevelopment and inequality, or climate change, these challenges will come back to bite us if we do not take collective action to confront them head on. This is a must read for students, scholars, practitioners of world politics, as well as by people who care about the future of this planet."—Zeev Maoz, University of California, Davis