Wednesday, August 3, 2022

4 actionable takeaways and advice for August 2022

 4 Actionable Takeaways

Take 60 seconds to answer one or more of the following questions -- we also highly encourage you to try this with colleagues and/or loved ones! 
  1. How can you reframe your thinking about the future of geopolitics and strategic competition to maximize the good you can do?
    Whether citizens of different countries, business leaders, or policymakers, we often hear a lot of fatalism in discussions of where the world is going. We hear that competition that leads to conflict and strategic frictions between countries is inevitable. We see that our geopolitical environment is becoming more turbulent but it’s important, as individuals, that we remember our agency and that the world's fate is not just about these abstract structural forces. The structural forces we talk about are ultimately driven by people. The decisions we make determine the decisions that nations make and, therefore, the trajectory of the world.

    It’s important to push back against the sense of fatalism. As a community and as individuals, we need to know we can make a difference, we need to know we have the power to reclaim that sense of agency and say, how can we make this world better?
  2. How can you leverage the concepts of the great power competition and transatlantic challenges to make better decisions for your business, community, and life?
    You need to understand two big buckets if you want to learn more about the world and make better decisions for your business, community, and life.

    The first bucket is the notion of a great power competition which affects politics, business, and our day-to-day lives. It focuses on the United States, China, and Russia- three nuclear-armed powers possessing substantial economies. The United States and China alone account for over 40% of the world’s economy, and have different visions geopolitically and strategically for the world. Whatever your station in life, whatever your vocation, you must focus on what the United States and China are doing.

    At the end of the Cold War, the United States had a particular vision for how it wanted the world to evolve. There was triumphalism in US policymaking and an underestimation that other countries could become more powerful, have different ideologies, and the ability and willingness to push back. We’re seeing this with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And so, the competitive dynamics between these three great powers concern anyone because they affect geopolitics, which means they affect business.

    The second bucket is what I call transnational challenges—climate change, pandemic disease, macroeconomic stability, energy insecurity, and so on. One of the concerns is that if these three powers allow their competitive dynamics to dominate their relationships, they not only think about cooperation on those transnational challenges as a fool’s errand, but they think cooperation is a demonstration of strategic weakness.

    Suppose national-level governments are increasingly preoccupied with competitive dynamics and unwilling to cooperate, but these challenges are only growing in severity and complexity. Is there a role other actors and communities play in pushing the ball forward and thinking more creatively about diplomacy? There’s a real challenge, but I also believe there’s a real opportunity for communities to move the needle and think creatively about diplomacy going forward.
  3. How can you further overcome the challenges preventing you from becoming a deeply engaged citizen?
    There are three things to focus on to diminish the feelings of isolation and remain a deeply engaged citizen:
    • Remember that most trends are going in the right direction: The rate of extreme poverty and child malnutrition is much lower today than it was several decades ago, and life expectancy is much higher. In many ways, the world is safer, more prosperous, and healthier than it was a few decades ago. 
    • Restore the sense of community: People feel much more anonymous than they did two years ago. Individuals worldwide report dramatically higher rates of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection. When we have a community, we restore that sense of togetherness and that we’re not fighting the good fight alone.
    • Consume more positive news: Axios published an article about how news consumption has declined tremendously. People feel the news is grim. How do we push back on that narrative? The media plays an important role in amplifying good news, spotlighting good trends, and showcasing individuals making a difference. There’s a website called Good News Network, which shares the good news stories you don’t hear about. We need more of those websites. We need to raise those voices and profiles to have a more objective lens.
  4. How can you focus on what you do best, and doing it better, to project quiet confidence to your allies and partners?
    Complacency isn’t good for long-term competitiveness or business leaders, but alarmism and consternation aren’t good either. Instead, focus on doing what you do best and doing it better. You want to look inward and say, “How can we become a more dynamic version of our best selves?” Let’s focus on what the power of our example looks like in practice. How can you recommit to renewal at home and abroad and articulate a positive, affirmative forward-looking vision that speaks to your aspirations more than your anxieties? 

    When you can do that, you’ll be able to mobilize the public. People are more excited when you tell them, “Here’s what we are going to do,” as opposed to just what we’re going to oppose. At a time of intense and growing political polarization, we need a shared project that can galvanize the American people to help them transcend their divisions and project quiet confidence to our allies and partners. 
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