Peace in an Age of Extremes

PARIS – We live in a time of progress and folly. From bullet trains to the Mars rover, humanity has an insatiable appetite for pushing boundaries and breaking records. But, while radical ambition can drive progress, it can also fuel recklessness and large-scale devastation, as we see today in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, western China, and elsewhere. In an age of extremes, how can peace be achieved?

One thing is certain: The international community is at a loss. A staggering number of countries have simply refused to help resolve the numerous conflicts plaguing the world, particularly in the greater Middle East. Those that have intervened – whether for essential strategic reasons, as in the case of the United States, or out of a sense of obligation to protect societies, as in the case of France – have yet to find an effective approach. Some have even sought to prolong conflicts, believing that to do so serves their national interests.