The International Order Is Dying in Gaza
The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has dealt a crushing blow to the multilateral security system and threatens to alienate the Arab and Muslim world. To ensure a lasting peace for Palestinians and the broader region, the conflict must be dealt with swiftly and inspire reforms to create a more equitable global order.
VIENNA – After COVID-19 struck in 2020, creating chaos and misery, I hoped that some silver lining would emerge from this global tragedy. For a time, it seemed possible. The pandemic was a powerful reminder of our common vulnerabilities, our shared humanity, and the importance of solidarity that transcends our differences and borders.
Now, however, I wonder if I was wrong even to hope. Once the pandemic subsided, we rushed back to the precipice with renewed vigor. None of the lessons of solidarity stuck, as if we were coated in Teflon. Many, if not all, of the pillars of the post-World War II global order seem to be crumbling. Violent conflict has become the default method to settle disagreements between countries (Russia and Ukraine) and within countries (Yemen and Sudan), while the multilateral security system, headed by the United Nations Security Council, is sliding into irrelevance.
Moreover, the inequality gap between the Global North and the Global South has widened, and more of the latter countries are suffering from debilitating debt burdens. This, in turn, has exacerbated poverty, fueled migration, and sown distrust. With populism and authoritarianism on the rise, attacks on human rights and democratic values have intensified and, in some cases, the veneer of elections has given these attacks spurious legitimacy. And the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China is fast becoming an end in itself.