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A Diplomatic Winter?

Following two years of insufficient international cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 brought the return of war and a further intensification of geopolitical rivalries. Are there still prospects for diplomacy, or will things need to get even worse before they can get better?

PS Quarterly regularly features predictions from leading thinkers and uniquely positioned commentators on a topic of global concern. In this issue of PS Quarterly, Project Syndicate commentators offered their insights in response to the following proposition:

After a year marked by war and geopolitical conflict, peacemaking and diplomacy will stage a recovery in 2023.”

Oscar Arias

I cannot predict what will happen in Ukraine. But if the threat to use nuclear weapons leads to the actual use of them, the consequences will be catastrophic beyond description. By improving the capacity of their arsenals, deploying new weapons, and maintaining nuclear first-use policies – all the while voicing aggressive threats – some nuclear-weapons states are bringing us dangerously close to the brink. By adopting policies barring first use of nuclear weapons, NWSs would help avoid a disaster. Such a move would be consistent with US President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, and it would reinforce the shift from overemphasizing military nationalism to stressing global human security and cooperation.