Today, in our modern world, because of the Internet, everything is connected to everything. We are now interdependent. We are now interlocked as nations, as individuals, in a way which has never been the case before.”
- Paddy Ashdown
Veteran Diplomat and Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire Paddy Ashdown describes the period we live in as
one of those terrifying periods of history when power changes… And these are always periods accompanied by turbulence, and all too often by blood.”
Most notably, Ashdown points out that this global interconnection is a fact of life, but one which can be either a terrifying prospect or a cause for celebration and peace, as it means that we all share a common destiny:
Global Interconnection – Danger:
- If you get Swine Flu in Mexico, it’s a problem for Charles De Gaul Airport 24 hours later.
- Lehman Brothers goes down – the whole lot collapses.
- There are fires in the steppes of Russia – food riots in Africa. We are all now deeply, deeply, deeply interconnected.
- It used to be the case that if my tribe is more powerful than their tribe, I was safe. My country was more powerful than their country, I was safe. My alliance, like NATO, was more powerful than their alliance, I was safe. It is no longer the case.”
Global Interconnection – Hope:
- If it is the case that we are now locked together in a way that has never been quite the same before, then it is also the case that we share a destiny with each other.
…The advent of interconnectedness and of the weapons of mass destruction means that increasingly, I share a destiny with my enemy.
- When I was a diplomat negotiating the disarmament treaties with the Soviet Union, in Geneva in the 1970s, we succeeded because we understood that we shared a destiny with them. Collective security is not enough.
- Peace has come to Northern Ireland because both sides realized that the zero-sum game couldn’t work. they shared a destiny with their enemies.”
Global Interconnection – Hope For The Middle East?
- One of the great barriers to peace in the Middle East is that both sides, both Israel, and I think the Palestinians do not understand that they share a collective destiny.”
The Most Important Thing About What You Can Do Is What You Can Do With Others
In the Modern Age, where everything is connected to everything, the most important thing about what you can do … is what you can do with others.”
Watch Paddy Ashdown’s TEDx Brussels Talk