Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Right Strategy

Carl Bildt

Can Russia's relations with the West be restored while Vladimir Putin remains in power? Is containment of China a desirable, or even viable, policy? How might Europe's migration and foreign policies be coordinated to combat Islamic extremism? Should Europe's neutral countries consider joining NATO?

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China's effort to achieve hegemony in East Asia, and the apparent growth of isolationist sentiment in the United State have severely weakened, if not ended, the international system that has prevailed since the Berlin Wall's collapse in 1989. China seems to want to replace the old system with a Group of Two, setting the global agenda in concert with the US. By contrast, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and others are demanding a true multi-polar world, while the European Union has yet to find its feet on the global stage.

With national leaders increasingly looking inward, who will guide the debate about what a new international order should look like, and how to create it? Carl Bildt, Sweden's former prime minister and foreign minister, is one of the few authoritative voices who refuse to remain indifferent to the causes and consequences of global institutional decay.

Two decades ago, Carl Bildt became the prime minister who broke the stranglehold of old-style socialism on Sweden's economy. When the Balkan wars raged, he co-chaired the Dayton Peace Process that brought Bosnia's agony to an end. And, as the EU's High Representative in post-war Bosnia , he reestablished social peace in the country. In his most recent government post, as Sweden's foreign minister from 2006 to 2014 , he moved his country ever more firmly into the West's defensive system, and worked unremittingly to bolster the independence and territorial integrity of the ex-Soviet countries.

A visionary and a realist, Carl Bildt has never been a consensus politician. Whether loosening state control of Sweden's economy, or bucking NATO leaders over their miserly support of Bosnia, he has never shied away from challenging accepted dogma. In The Right Strategy, written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Carl Bildt takes on the challenge of defining new norms for the next global order.

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