Whenever one follows the news these days, there seems to be an underlying message: we live in insecure times! What seemed to be common sense, common values and maxims and what seemed to be international standards, which were most often negotiated after two devastating World Wars, seem to be questioned or just not implemented. Human Rights are played against security, solidarity between states and within states is low, protectionism and competition are growing.
Just recently, I was invited by the Lutheran World Federation to a meeting in Sweden, where the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Antje Jackelén, spoke in her opening sermon of the four dangerous “P” of our times: Protectionism, Polarisation, Populism and Post-factual. Whoever, whichever nation returns to old mechanisms of protectionism and establishes new walls around itself, should not be surprised, if others do the same – with the fatal consequences for international relations, known from the 20th century. “Us first” is a message of polarisation. The gap between rich and poor countries as well as the gap between the rich and the poor within countries is widening, as the most recent Oxfam report has shown. Populists try to harvest on such developments, the play with and increase the fears of people, they shoot against “elites”, whereby they are most elitist and exclusive themselves. And the truth? If the truth does not count anymore, if one can openly lie and if the internet is high-jacked by some to deliberately spread false information, what does truth mean today? Read more