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The Case for Optimism in International Affairs

19 Mar 2018
By Dr Carl Ungerer

Amid the uncertainty of geopolitical change, and even talk of possible major conflict, is there a case for some cautious optimism among the gloom and doom? Looking at the forces shaping the international order provides some insight.

Last year ended with the release of the Trump administration’s first National Security Strategy. As a core statement of Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, it led many US commentators to predict a future of increasing tensions between the major powers—in this case the US and China—and even war. In Australia, strategists now talk of a world ‘without America’, or least one where the global order and rules are shaped by others.

However, Dr Carl Ungerer, former head of the Leadership, Crisis and Conflict Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, argues that there are as many centripetal forces pulling the international order together as there are centrifugal ones trying to pull it apart. The question is: which ones will prevail?

Dr Ungerer spoke with Australian Outlook Editor, Apoorva Kolluru about the forces shaping today’s world before he presented at AIIA ACT on 15 February 2018.

Dr Carl Ungerer has spent the last three and a half years in Switzerland as the Head of the Leadership, Crisis and Conflict Management Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. His previous appointments include: inaugural Director of the National Security Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; a senior Strategic Analyst in the Office of National Assessments; and a career diplomat with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Interview by: Apoorva Kolluru, Australian Outlook editor 

Filmed by: Cameron Allan, AIIA National Office